How to pressure wash a house

How to pressure wash a house
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve noticed that your home’s exterior isn’t looking its best anymore, then finding out how to pressure wash a house could be the key to a clean exterior without the hassle of hours of hand washing with a bucket and sponge.

Pressure washing can quickly strip away layers of dirt from your building's outside paneling which can make it a convenient option for cleaning. There are precautions to consider to ensure that you don’t damage anything so we've broken down exactly how to pressure wash a house in simple terms. 

House siding doesn’t need washing very often to keep it looking clean and tidy. Once a year should be sufficient. Once you know how to pressure wash a house, an annual clean should be easy to achieve. 

Take the stress out of learning exactly how to pressure wash a house with our list of necessary equipment before you start, tips on handling stains from a garden care expert, and our step-by-step guide that gives you the process of exactly how to pressure wash a house. You can also explore the best pressure washers (opens in new tab), to help you find the right model for your needs. So read on to get the lowdown on how to spruce your house with a pressure washer!

What you need to pressure wash a house

Make sure you assemble your equipment and wear protective clothing before you get started. Here’s what you need the pressure wash a house: 

  • Pressure washer with extensions arm attachment 
  • Plastic sheeting for house windows
  • Pressure washer detergent suitable for your house siding material 
  • Rain boots or work boots with rubberised soles
  • Protective eyewear
  • Clothing that covers the arms and legs

What to do before you start to pressure wash a house 

What the expert says...

Instagram and TikTok gardening expert, Nathan Stafford (opens in new tab), says,  “With tougher stains I find home remedies like sprinkling some baking soda on it and letting it sit for five minutes then adding white vinegar on top and letting it sit for ten minutes and then scrubbing works well, making sure it's then washed off."

The last thing to know before you take on board how to pressure wash a house is how not to pressure wash a house, as some areas just won’t stand up to the force. 

We recommend that you don't pressure wash your windows. We know it might be tempting to use a pressure washer to reach high windows and hurry up a time-consuming job, but don’t. Even on a low PSI setting, most windows simply aren’t made to take the force of the pressure washers jet spray. You could end up cracking your window pane inwards, leaving a much bigger and more dangerous mess to clean up. Similarly, avoid guttering and roof shingles as they can easily be knocked down, allowing water into the house. 

Gather all of your equipment and run water through the pressure washer for a minute to clean out the line and even out the pressure. Plug in your pressure washer (if electric) ensuring to use proper waterproof cabling. 

We spoke to garden care expert Nathan Stafford, who has more than 1.1 million followers on TikTok keeping up with the videos he posts of his work on his account @nathanslawnsandgardens (opens in new tab). Often using pressure washers to dramatically clean his clients’ outdoor spaces, he gives us his opinion on which cleaning method to pressure wash with. Nathan suggests sourcing a liquid detergent from a local gardening dealership for general cleaning but for tougher stains he has a nifty trick to try with materials you might already have at home.

How to pressure wash a house  

Pressure washing can bring a new lease of life to your home but it isn’t appropriate for all homes and can cause damage if used incorrectly. The vast majority of American homes are made from treated wood or clad in vinyl and therefore the siding can be washed with a pressure washer on a low-pressure setting when necessary precautions are taken. If in doubt then check what material your siding is made from. If your house has any brickwork then avoid pressure washing as it may dislodge the mortar and cause crumbling. 

Let’s dive into how to pressure wash a house with proper caution:

Step One:
Avoid any electric wires by using waterproof cable extending points and cables. It's also important to steer clear of any wires on the back of your house if you have AC or an electric meter. This method of cleaning can really only be used on panels of your house that are completely clear of anything, including windows that are covered in plastic sheeting. 

Step Two:
Adjust your pressure washer to a very low setting (1200 PSI maximum) and a wide-angle spray setting. Spray down the exterior to remove any loose, surface-level dirt. 

Step Three: Apply the detergent all over the house panels. Most pressure washers will have a section to contain the detergent. You can usually let this sit for a few minutes to work on the set in stains and grime but we do not recommend leaving it any longer as it may cause discoloration. Always follow the advice from the detergent manufacturer. 

Step Four:
Spray down the house to remove any detergent with a low-pressure, wide-angle spray setting again. 

Step Five:
For higher areas, we suggest avoiding using ladders due to the water on the ground that could cause slipping. Instead, angle your pressure washer up with care and use an extension wand attachment, avoiding guttering, windows and roof tiles.

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Tanisha started her career in commercial retail buying for one of Amazon UK’s Top 10 revenue grossing online homeware retailers. Years spent obsessing over homeware products made it an easy career switch to writing about them. Her freelance career has seen her craft customer-focused web content for brands big and small, as well as writing articles in the health, lifestyle, home and retail sectors.

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