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Pressure Washer - Proper Procedure

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  • Pressure Washer - Proper Procedure

    Now that I have my 3300psi Ridgid pressure washer, I would like to know how best to use it. I cleaned off my driveway and some other things just using water only, but am not sure about using detergents. The manual is a little thin on this. I used detergent once, and the one gallon bottle was not going to last long at all. Do you just quickly soak everything with the soap dispenser nozzle and then pressure wash for the rinse, or...?

    I "may" have overdone it on concrete with water alone, which was stained black from decaying leaves and the like. Seems like more of the stone in the concrete is evident, but maybe I could not see the little rocks due to the black stains. I used a 15 degree tip where it was cleaning maybe a 4" wide swath. I could move fairly quickly. Would a detergent help minimize any etching of the pavement, and how would I best use it?

    Thanks.

    - Phil

  • #2
    Re: Pressure Washer - Proper Procedure

    Anytime I use cleaners I let it stay on the surface as long as possible as long as it doesn't dry. The longer the contact time the better for most cleaners.

    Those "pressure washer specific" detergents are quite expensive and don't last very long for what they cost. I came up with a great cleaning solution that is cheap, effective and WILL NOT harm the pump, gun, wand, etc..... I mix 1 pint of bleach (Clorox outside bleach if possible) and 1 pint of Simple Green with 3/4 gallon of water, mix well and foam down with that. It works better than anything I've bought that is pressure washer specific and is much cheaper. The Simple Green adds a nice cleaning touch/smell and will foam up allowing the mix to cling to surfaces and the bleach eliminates mold, mildew, etc. It will not harm plants, any parts of the pressure washer, etc. As with any chemical be sure to run plenty of clean water through the pump after you're done with the detergents.

    Most people advise that any plants be wet down before using detergents in that area and it helps to wet the area you are cleaning to avoid streaking. Later!

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    • #3
      Re: Pressure Washer - Proper Procedure

      Originally posted by Phil3 View Post
      ....

      I "may" have overdone it on concrete with water alone, which was stained black from decaying leaves and the like. Seems like more of the stone in the concrete is evident, but maybe I could not see the little rocks due to the black stains. I used a 15 degree tip where it was cleaning maybe a 4" wide swath. I could move fairly quickly. Would a detergent help minimize any etching of the pavement, and how would I best use it?

      Thanks.

      - Phil
      The leaves and tree debris probably had a of of tannic acid in them (most likely the cause of the dark stain) which in time will dissolve the limestone in the concrete. The stain probably just was hiding the aggregate or it was deteriorated anyway, so the pressure washer at worst just sped up the removal of the softened surface. An alkaline cleaner would possibly neutralize the acid some, but not enough to save the softened concrete. Another cause of staining is iron and sulfur in the water, common in a lot of wells. If you water the lawn from a well that has a lot of iron in it, it will also result in staining. This was a bad problem when I lived in FL, and the only solution I saw while there to prevent the deterioration was sealing the concrete with a waterproof sealer. Bleach helped removing black mildew stains, but did little for the iron/acid staining. Possibly one of the construction pros that work with masonry can give better advice.

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      Practicing at practical wood working

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