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I'm curious to hear the answer to this question as well. Although, after following the soap intake hose it doesn't enter the pump until right before where the high pressure hose connects. I don't think anything actually goes through the pump. I'd still like to hear the experts opinion though.
Correct..... most pressure washers utilize downstream injection, meaning the detergent never makes it through the pump itself. The pump creates a venturi effect at low pressure and pulls the detergent into the stream of water as it's leaving the pump. Upstream injection is used on higher end pumps because they can be designed or modified to handle this. The benefit of upstream is that you can apply detergent at high pressure. There are kits that will allow this to be added to pretty much any machine. I think Northern Tool sells one.
I still recommend running a few gallons of clean, cold water through the machine after each use, including the detergent hose. This will rinse the seals properly. I also recommend using PumpSaver after each use, which not only winterizes the pump, but also lubricates parts in the pump to protect from wear and water deposits.
You can find pressure washer specific cleaners at Lowe's, HomeDepot, etc. I use a mix of Simple Green, Clorox outdoor bleach and water and it's cheaper and more effective than those specific cleaners that are ready-to-use.
I've been chatting with a guy on another forum and he uses a mix of 12% bleach and Simple Cherry and says it cleans great and is cheap. 12% bleach is a bit strong to handle unless wearing proper safety items. Later!
USU. you have a 12-14:1 ration on the siphon feed to factor in. The detergent never enters the pump, I too run clean water with the engine off, to flush usu. siphon 1/2 gal or so. I like greased Lightening , or EcoLab HD degreaser [Sam;s club]not a simple green fan for HD cleaning diluted. TSP, the real trisodiumphosphate formula is excellent and cheap too.