Pressure washer safety tips
You've got a big mess, but before you set the power washer to blast take time to learn a few tips that might help prevent damage to what you are washing.
Did you know a pressure washer can spray water up to 4,000 pounds per square inch (PSI)? That's 80 times the force of a garden hose. These pressure washer safety tips will help you handle that extra power.
What should I wash with a power washer?
As tempting as it is to pressure wash everything, some surfaces are not able to handle the force. You should avoid pressure washing these surfaces:
- Wooden furniture
- Outdoor fabrics
- Resin or plastic furniture
- Crumbling concrete
- Painted surfaces (unless you want to remove the paint)
- Car (if you need to use the pressure washer, set to a lower PSI level)
How should I clean and store my power washer?
Keeping your pressure washer in good condition can help improve safety. Always check it before use and follow these guidelines:
- Make sure your model has been approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
- Never attempt to repair a damaged hose. Always replace it.
- Don't clean the machine with its own gun — water can damage the machine and increase risk of electric shock.
- Have a qualified electrician check the unit if it trips a circuit breaker.
How to use your pressure washer safely
Use the tool responsibly by following these important pressure washer safety tips.
- Never operate a gas model indoors.
- Use only extension cords designed for wet conditions, and always plug the unit into a grounded outlet.
- Wear safety glasses, gloves and rubber boots for protection.
- Do not spray others, animals or yourself — power washers can easily penetrate skin.
- Don't let children operate the machine, and keep them a safe distance away when you're using it.
- Use only cleaners approved for your model, and never use chemicals such as pesticides.
- Be cautious around power lines, service feeds and electric meters.
- Stand three to four feet from the surface you are cleaning to prevent harmful ricochet.