We have left the topic of the power washing for longer than anticipated and need to bring this unfinished business to its conclusion. Read on to learn how to power wash safely and effectively.
So, let’s mention a few important things first. This activity involves a certain degree of risk and you need to try and minimize it as much as possible. Below are the points to address and remember when working:
- Asbestos and lead paint. If your house was built in the 1970s or earlier it might have an asbestos siding or be painted with lead-based paint. If either is the case, it is best to not do the power washing yourself and hire a professional. Asbestos fibers and lead-based paint particles are harmful and can be released during the process.
- Provide access to foundation. Trimming shrubs and removing items that obstruct the foundation will make cleaning the foundation possible.
- Clear the work area. Remove all objects from the work area if at all possible. They are a potential trip hazard.
- Electricity. Be mindful of power lines if you have any in the air. Make sure there are no exposed electrical wires and connections. Try not to direct the spray to the outlets and other electrical items. Do not touch any electrical items with wet hands. To be extra safe, turn off electricity to the exterior fixtures and outlets. Obviously, you will need to use some of the outlets if you have an electric pressure washer.
- Do not directly spray at other people or animals. Do not leave the running power washer unattended.
- Protection. Wear goggles. Earmuffs are helpful if you have a gas pressure washer.
- Ladders. It is best to avoid using a ladder. However, it is not always possible or not using it is even more dangerous sometimes. Therefore, make sure that the ladder is positioned properly at a 75-78-degree angle. Check that the ladder is secure before climbing. It is tricky to be up on the ladder, hold the wand, and counteract the force of the water. Do not continue if you feel uneasy about the situation. Extension pole might be an option instead of the ladder.
OK, we know now how to do this work safely. Let’s talk about how to do power wash effectively.
Below is a process step-by-step:
- Choose a non-rainy and non-windy day. It is the best move with the sun and wash the sides of the house when they are NOT in the direct sunlight. Hot from the sun surface will dry very quickly and that will interfere with quality washing.
- Repair damaged areas.
- Soap and mildewcide. Assess the amount of mildew and dirt and whether the pretreatment and soap are necessary. For severe mildew, get a garden sprayer and fill it with bleach and mildewcide solution. If the mildew is not too bad, you can just add the mildewcide to the soap solution. We recommend using soap for all applications except if the exterior is only lightly soiled. There are soaps specially formulated for different exterior types. Follow the mixing directions and prepare the solution.
- Prepare your tools and equipment. Have a sufficient amount of gas if you use a gas-powered machine.
- Cover the landscaping plants (optional).
- Close windows and doors.
- Check the safety list (above) and take precautions.
- If you have wood or brick exterior, wet it first with a garden hose.
- If pretreatment is needed, spray the solution onto the heavily affected areas and let it sit a few minutes. Then work it with a brush and rinse off. Alternatively, you can just rinse off with a pressure washer.
- Attach the garden hose to the power washer. Start the machine.
- Attach a black nozzle and spray the soap onto the house surface from the bottom up. Work either the entire house side or a section if the whole side is very large. Leave the soap on for a few minutes.
- Change the nozzle to white or green and wash the surface from the top down. Keep the wand perpendicular to the house. Start a couple of feet away from the surface and move to about 1 foot if the pressure is not damaging. Be careful around windows and doors trying not to spray directly to where the frames meet the exterior surface.
- Continue on the next side or section until the entire house is clean.
- Stop the power washer and pull the trigger to release the pressure before unhooking the garden hose.
That is it. A few hours later you will be able to admire your sparkling clean home and truly enjoy spending time outside on a deck or patio.
Pressure washing is not rocket science but it does take a certain amount of knowledge, mindfulness, and effort. It may also be challenging if your home is taller than 1 story. For those reasons, you may prefer to use professional help. Contact us and we will be glad to power wash your house.