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How To Power Wash a House Like a Pro in 3 Easy Steps

It's spring cleaning season, and we're doing it all. Whether you're organizing a fridge, cleaning kitchen utensils, or just getting rid of some old junk, the time to clean is now. One thing we often overlook is our dwelling, and every good house needs a good bath now and again. The best way to do so is with a relatively easy power washing regimen.




3 hours

What You Need

  • Pressure washer

  • Detergent

  • Hose

  • Goggles

  • Scrubbing brush

Check the weather before power washing your house. An overly hot day can dry up your treatment before it properly cleans your house. A really wet day can dilute your spray and just plain be unenjoyable to work in. A dry and mild spring day is ideal for the job.

You'll likely just rent or borrow a pressure washer, but it might be worth buying one if you'll get a lot of use out of it. For washing a house, choose a model that matches your siding. In other words, your siding — like vinyl — can stand up to some powerful spray settings. Meanwhile, more delicate siding like aluminum or stucco should be handled with more care. Choose a proper machine for the job or one with multiple spray settings.

Next, prep the area around your home. Since you'll likely be using a detergent of some kind, it's a good idea to tarp your plants or any other areas that might not respond well to some soap. Cover light fixtures and other fragile accents that might break if hit with the stream, and be mindful of wires, power lines, meters, old windows, and the like. Some of these things may need to be covered if you don't think you can spray around them.

Washing the House

Before starting, familiarize yourself with the pressure washer if you haven't already. Throw on a pair of grub clothes or, better yet, some waterproof duds to keep you dry. Don't turn on the machine just yet. Give your house a pre-scrub, at least focusing on areas that are particularly dirty. This will allow you to do a once over on the structure and note any cracks or weak areas you may want to avoid power washing. Beyond that, follow these steps.

Step 1: Set up your pressure washer, connecting to a water supply and mixing up a ratio of detergent. A good multipurpose cleaner is ideal, and be sure to follow any mixing directions.

Step 2: Begin spraying your house in a side-to-side motion, not getting too close as the pressure could damage the siding. It may seem like you should start from the top, but the pros suggest working your way from the bottom up, as there won't be any water or soap running down the side that could mask a dirty area.

Step 3: Get gutters and overhangs while you're at it, spraying at a 45-degree angle. When you're done with the house, turn the pressure washer off. You can rinse the house with a traditional garden hose as you won't need the added pressure.

Other Tips

There are some other additions and equipment add-ons you may want to consider as you power wash your house. If you live in a particularly wet part of the world, you may want to consider adding a mildew or mold remover to your game plan. For hard-to-reach areas or if you're working with a rather large abode, consider having an extension hose for your washer.

Be extra careful if you plan to use the washer while on a ladder. The force from the spray could knock you off, so be advised. Most power washers create enough pressure to hit high-up areas without a ladder. Also, if you're doing this to prep for painting the house, allow the building at least a couple of days in good weather to fully dry.

Pressure washing your house is not only fairly easy but all kinds of satisfying. After a few hours of solid, albeit wet, work, your place will be left sparkly and new-ish looking. And you will have just earned yourself an iced tea or beer.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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