7 Tips for Using a Surface Cleaner with a Pressure Washer Safely and Effectively

7 Tips for Using a Surface Cleaner with a Pressure Washer Safely and Effectively

To use the surface cleaner with a pressure washer for optimal results when cleaning flat surfaces such as patios and hardscapes: start by turning down the pressure washer's PSI so that it doesn't puncture holes in walkways and fences when they're accidentally hit while working around them. Then, turn up the water volume so that medium-pressure sprays shoot out from underneath the rotating brush or pad driver.

The surface cleaner will glide over the area in question with ease while spraying out water in all directions. If it's a stricter mess that needs to be removed quickly, increase pressure and reduce water volume accordingly. This way, stains are more likely to come off in fewer passes of the surface cleaner without sacrificing safety. The pressure washers are durable and are comfortable to work with!

Note: More pressure and less water volume is a general rule of thumb but not an immutable law. Make sure to use your discretion when using the surface cleaner with a pressure washer for the first time.

This article will provide tips about handling common problems when cleaning flat surfaces with a surface cleaner and a pressure washer so that they stay in good shape for more extended periods.

1) Start by Lowering Your PSI

When you work outdoors in an environment where there's free-flowing water, dirt, debris, and chemicals involved, it's essential to adjust the PSI of your pressure washer accordingly.

The lower the PSI, the safer it will be when you work with a surface cleaner powered by a pressure washer on patios, walkways, and other flat surfaces. Otherwise, you run the risk of puncturing these surfaces altogether if they are accidentally hit during use.

2) Adjust Water Volume Accordingly Too

It doesn't matter how low your PSI is; if there's not enough water volume coming out in all directions from underneath the rotating brush or pad driver of your surface cleaner, then it won't clean like it's supposed to. The high-pressure stream that comes out of many pressurized washers proves to be too strong for a surface cleaner to manage without the help of a medium-pressure spray at the same time.

3) Use a Water Distribution Device

One of the most effective ways to distribute water evenly throughout a flat surface is by holding it at waist level and walking around slowly as you spray water into all corners.

However, its intense nature can be dangerous for some surfaces like patios and walkways that are particularly vulnerable to damage if punctured. This is why it's essential to use a water distribution device; rather than pour out all of the water in one place at one time, it shoots it up into the air so that it comes down onto whatever needs cleaning first.

This way, sap stains and oil stains come off better without accidentally puncturing or scuffing up surfaces meant to last for a long time.

4) Don't Let Your Pressure Washer Run Leisurely

Despite the image above, where it almost looks like the pressure washer isn't doing anything, this is a relatively high PSI--around 3000.

People often try to set their pressure washers to a low PSI only to be frustrated when it doesn't clean as well as they expected using water volume alone. This is because newer model pressure washers can run much harder than older models thanks to advanced induction motors and other parts underneath the hood.

If you're not sure whether your model can handle such high PSI, then ask a sales associate at your local hardware store to do the dirty work for you.

5) Determine Whether You Need Additives

Most of the time, surface cleaners will clean best with just water and pressure alone. Try not to use soap or anything like that; this is because it's intended for other jobs such as cleaning cars or boats where surfaces are more porous and less likely to get damaged if something isn't done about stains immediately.

Keep in mind, however, that there are some jobs where using additives can make all of the difference between whether a pressure washer will be effective at getting rid of tough stains or not. These days, foaming agents can be found everywhere, even if they're not explicitly called "foaming agents."

6) Buy Only High-Quality Surface Cleaners

This tip should go without saying, but always buy surface cleaners specifically made for outdoor use with pressure washers. Anything else will only lead to frustration, whether it's because of the low PSI or the poor strength of the rotating pad inside. Follow this link to learn more about choosing a surface cleaner for your pressure washer.

7) Add Brushes As Needed

If you're still having trouble getting tough stains off surfaces, adding brushes is one way to get tough stains to release their hold on whatever they're staining so much so that they can be rinsed away.

However, add enough water volume and high enough PSI, and even stubborn stains will come off without using any brush. However, just in case these tips won't do the trick by themselves, it's best to have encountered on hand so that you can quickly attach them with a bolt or wing nut for easier access.


With these seven tips, you'll be able to use a surface cleaner with complete peace of mind that it will remove just about any stain or mark that could come into contact with your pressure washer. Learning how to use the right amount of pressure and water volume for each type of job is integral in making sure that your machine lasts as long as possible without damage from doing too much work on one specific surface.