Dirt, mold and mildew can accumulate on the exteriors of even well-kept homes. It happens to the best of us! Because this area of the house can’t be cleaned as instantly as say, the bathroom counter, it can often be a while before we work up the resolve to clean it. But if you’re ready to tackle the project, we have a few pointers you can use to do the job safely and efficiently.
First off, make sure that you have the right tools for the job. There are two main types of pressure washers—gas or electric powered—and even among those, there are several variations of each type. Gas machines are typically the best to tackle large surfaces like your home’s exterior, while electric ones are often used to wash boats, cars or outdoor furniture (although if you have a smaller home, they may work well). If you don’t yet have a pressure washer, spend some time researching the market to see which one is best for your specific needs. You can even pick up special extensions and other tools that make washing easier if you have a two-story home.
If you have mildew on the front or side of your home, you’ll want to treat it with a designated mildew spray (which you can then spray out of a pump garden sprayer). If there is other debris or gunk that you can remove manually, do that before the wash as well—you won’t have to work as hard with the pressure washer later on if you do so!
Once you’re ready to pressure wash, take a few safety tips into consideration. Position your pressure washer’s exhaust away from people and any openings into your home. If your home has two stories, be sure to safely position your ladder and use a standoff stabilizer to stay safe and secure while you’re up (and to keep your home’s roof and gutter safe from any damage from the latter). When using the pressure washer, be sure to point it away from power lines or any electric fixtures in your yard. And, finally, make sure to carefully read the manual for your specific pressure washer and follow its specific safety tips (like wearing protective eyewear, for instance).
When you’re using your pressure washer, only use detergents that are made for the pressure washer. You can apply the detergent and water mix at a low pressure at first—just do so from bottom to top to avoid vertical streaking from the detergent. Before you rinse it all off, let the detergent sit for a few minutes to do its work (but don’t let it dry).
When it comes time to rinse it all off, start from the top and work your way downward and use a higher pressure, if necessary. Just be sure that when you are rinsing the detergent off, to shut off the detergent supply so only water is spraying out. Once you’re all done, you may want to do one last rinse at an appropriate pressure to get rid of any detergent residue that’s hanging on.