Top 10 Expert Tips for Environmentally Safe Pressure Washing

June 21, 2022

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Are you searching for environmentally safe pressure washing options for your property? More and more homeowners especially are choosing eco-friendly detergents with fewer harmful chemicals. Also, soft wash cleaning, which reduces water usage, is a favorite choice for many property owners.

Choosing environmentally safe pressure washing not only protects the environment, but it also protects your property! Harsh chemicals used during power washing often seep into nearby lawns and landscaping features, risking damage. Also, fumes from cleansers like bleach can be bothersome if not downright toxic.

To avoid these risks, always shop for biodegradable cleansers. In addition to those cleansers, check out 10 tips for eco-friendly power washing at your home or business. Also, be sure to discuss your concerns with a power washing contractor near you as needed.

10 expert tips for environmentally safe pressure washing

When reviewing these tips, be sure to adjust them to your own property and cleaning needs. In turn, you’ll enjoy a thorough clean and know that you’re protecting the environment as well!

1. Start your cleaning with a good sweep

Property owners are often surprised at how much dust and dirt you can remove with a stiff-bristled outdoor broom. Also, a leaf blower works wonders when it comes to blasting away dust, cobwebs, and other debris!

To make cleaning as easy as possible, start every project with a good sweep, rake, dusting, or other cleaning. If you have a leaf blower, use that over surfaces where it’s safe to do so. Removing as much debris as possible before cleaning means using less water, detergent, and other chemicals!

2. Know what surfaces and materials don’t need detergent

Before you start power washing, check out which surfaces and materials, and dirt type, might not need detergent at all! For instance, sand and silt might cover driveways on properties in the tropics. However, you might only need pressurized water without detergent to wash away that debris. In turn, you don’t risk harming your lawn and landscaping features during washing!

Additionally, using pressurized water without detergent, and after your sweeping, can loosen and remove lots of dirt and debris. Consequently, you might only need small detergent amounts and low-pressure rinsing to finish the project.

3. Try homemade cleansers before using harsh detergents

Homemade power washing cleansers, using gentler materials that store-bought chemicals, often yield excellent results. They’re also cheaper, and you can usually mix them up with items you already have at home! Check out some simple homemade cleaners you can try around your property:

  • For exterior walls, mix 3/4 cup powdered laundry detergent with 1 gallon of water.
  • To clean concrete surfaces, mix 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup powdered laundry detergent with 1 gallon of water. Squirt in about a tablespoon of liquid dish soap for tough, oily stains.
  • For general, lightweight cleaning, check the store for phosphate-free laundry soap. Mix 1/3 cup of this soap with 1 gallon of water.
  • To address tougher stains, mix one cup of vinegar to the phosphate-free laundry soap and water mixture.

4. Use hot water on oily stains

When addressing tough stains, a property owner might increase the pressure of their washer. This is usually ineffective and risks damage to outdoor materials. Also, higher pressure from your power washer wastes water!

Instead, use hot water for oily stains and other tough spots, except for wood surfaces. Hot water tends to dissolve grease, oil, thick dirt, mud, and other residues better than lukewarm water. Consequently, you might clean those spots more readily, using less detergent and water overall.

5. Use the right pressure for cleaning!

Property owners often mistakenly use too much pressure during power washing. In turn, you might notice etching, scratching, and other such damage around the property. Additionally, too much pressure can shred window and door screens and outright shatter glass.

On the other hand, not enough pressure can mean having to wash the same area repeatedly. Consequently, you might waste water by not adjusting your pressure washing nozzle as needed. Also, note that some nozzles offer a wider spray, for cleaning larger surfaces. Choosing the right nozzle then means less wasted water and time!

6. Start with small detergent and bleach amounts when needed

If you must use bleach or cleaning chemicals, start with very small amounts and rinse thoroughly. Then, note your progress before reapplying! Also, use an outdoor scrub brush or broom after your initial clean, to remove loosened dirt and grime. A good scrubbing can wash away far more dirt than you might realize.

Frequently Asked Questions About Eco-Friendly Pressure Washing

Are Pressure Washers Bad for the Environment?

Pressure washing outdoor surfaces is often good for the environment and for property owners! Check out some reasons why even the most environmentally conscious property owner might choose regular power washing:

  • Pressure washing allows you to clean large surfaces quickly and removes tough dirt and grime readily. In turn, pressure washing might use less water for cleaning than a standard garden hose.
  • Power washing outdoor materials such as brick, stone, and pavers restores their appearance. In turn, you might not need to replace those materials as often when you invest in regular power washing! Harvesting new stone and other materials often involves harsh blasting, and lots of water usage. Consequently, professional cleaning is more eco-friendly overall.
  • Pressure washing with hot water can often remove oily stains, mold, and other debris without chemicals or bleach!
  • Airborne pollen, dust, soot, and pollution residues often end up on exterior surfaces such as outside walls and driveways. Pressure washing removes these irritants, improving outdoor air quality.
  • High-quality exterior power washing often kills weeds growing between pavers and other materials. In turn, you might not need to reapply weed killer as often when you invest in regular pressure washing.

ecowash environmentally safe cleaning

Are Pressure Washers Bad for My Home?

You may have heard that pressure washing is bad for your home and does more harm than good. However, power washing offers many benefits for your property and the environment, as mentioned above. On the other hand, improper tools and techniques often risk damage including etched brick and wood, loose shingles, and water damage.

In turn, it’s vital that property owners invest in the services of a professional for needed pressure washing! A professional knows the right nozzles to use for various materials and surfaces. Also, he or she knows how to avoid damaging wood, brick, glass, and other materials.

If you must tackle this project yourself, first educate yourself on how to use pressure washing equipment properly! Additionally, you might test the equipment on an inconspicuous area of your property first. Moreover, avoid using too much pressure; remember that you can increase the pressure as you go along, if needed.

How Do I Protect My Plants When Pressure Washing?

If you’ve decided to tackle power washing yourself, check out a few tips for protecting your plants from damage:

  • First, pre-soak your plants! Water helps create a natural barrier against plants absorbing chemicals and soap used during power washing.
  • If you’re washing on a cool day, use a tarp to cover plants and shrubs. However, avoid using a tarp on hot, sunny days! A tarp can trap heat, creating a greenhouse effect. Too much trapped heat can kill plants and greens, so avoid putting one down on an overly warm day.
  • Add a surfactant, which you can find at a home improvement store, to cleansers and especially bleach. Surfactants help keep materials less runny so that they cling to surfaces. In turn, you’ll see less runoff when you add a surfactant to your cleaning agent.
  • When washing exterior walls, apply soap, bleach, and other cleansers from the bottom up. Not only will this help loosen dirt but those chemicals themselves create a barrier against runoff.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of rinsing thoroughly after cleaning! Rinse surfaces you’ve cleaned and use the washer to direct rinse water away from your lawn. Also, rinse your plants and greens thoroughly after washing, to remove any residual chemicals.

Also, you might remove delicate or expensive plants and replant them temporarily in a pot or elsewhere on the property. You can then put them back once you’ve finished power washing, to protect them from damage.

Is Simple Green Safe to Use in a Pressure Washer?

Simple Green is an environmentally safe cleaner, used for dirt, mold, mildew, and other debris. It’s also biodegradable, making it safe for use around plants and lawns. Additionally, you can use it in your power washer for everyday pressure cleaning!

However, you might still cover your plants or give them a good rinse before working, as mentioned above. Also, you need to dilute your Simple Green before adding it to the power washer. Contractors might recommend 10 parts water to one part Simple Green. In other words, use one cup of Simple Green for every 10 cups of water in your power washing tank.

Additionally, ensure you use the right nozzle or tip when adding Simple Green to your power washer. Black tips usually offer a wide enough opening for thick soap. A narrower nozzle might mean clogs and ineffective cleaning.

Above all, start with a test of your Simple Green mixture on an inconspicuous area of your property. Ensure you rinse thoroughly, and direct rinse water away from your plants and lawn. Consequently, you should enjoy a thorough clean without damage to plants and greens.

completing safe soft wash pressure washing

Can I Use Vinegar In My Pressure Washer?

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning choice for the eco-conscious property owner! Without harsh chemicals and toxins, vinegar still offers excellent cleaning especially for glass surfaces. Additionally, you can add vinegar to pressure washers for a safe, thorough clean.

However, before you just add vinegar to your equipment, remember that you don’t want to mix it with other cleansers! Certain chemicals might mix with vinegar and create thick foam or harsh, damaging liquids. Above all, certain vinegar mixtures might create toxic fumes harmful to your health!

To use vinegar in your power washer, start with a dilution of half white vinegar and half warm water. Ensure you rinse this mixture thoroughly after washing. Next, you can increase your vinegar ratio to the water if this first dilution doesn’t offer the cleaning needed.

Will Pressure Washing With Bleach Kill Plants?

Contractors often use bleach for cleaning roofs, patio pavers, and wood surfaces. Chemicals in bleach effectively kill and remove mold spores, moss, algae roots, and growing mildew even in tight spaces. However, this also makes bleach dangerous to other live plants on your property, including your lawn and landscaping features!

If you must use bleach for power washing, ensure you take the protective steps mentioned above. Rinse and soak your plants thoroughly. Also, cover them if possible and rinse away bleach-soaked water quickly. Above all, ensure you’ve tried other cleaning methods before applying bleach and use as little as possible when washing!

How Often Should You Invest in Pressure Washing?

While power washing is an excellent investment for any property, you don’t want to “overdo” it either! Every power washing project means water and cleanser usage. In turn, the less often you wash your property, the less water you waste and fewer chemicals in the ground.

On the other hand, a property owner shouldn’t avoid needed pressure washing either! As said, regular power washing keeps outdoor materials looking their best so you’re less likely to replace them. Also, removing bothersome irritants like dust and pollen means easier breathing for everyone.

With this in mind, how often should property owners schedule pressure washing? Most people find that power washing every three years or so offers sufficient cleaning. However, there are times when you might adjust this schedule for more frequent cleaning.

For example, sand and silt often cover properties in the tropics. Also, high humidity levels risk mold, algae, mildew, and moss. In these cases, you might need annual cleaning especially for the structure’s roof.

Additionally, construction projects, airports, marinas, busy highways, and production facilities often mean lots of airborne soot. That residue often lands on nearby homes, commercial buildings, and outdoor surfaces. Again, adjust your power washing schedule as needed to keep those materials clean.

Above all, property owners should schedule pressure washing as needed to protect outdoor materials from damage. Storm debris, gritty residues, pool chlorine, and air pollution damage concrete, brick, shingles, and the like. Pressure washing removes those debris and protects materials from long-term damage.

Orlando Pressure Washing Experts is happy to provide our readers with this information about environmentally safe pressure washing. Hopefully you found it helpful and informative! If your property is ready for a thorough cleaning, call our Orlando pressure washing contractors today. We offer FREE quotes and guaranteed satisfaction. Additionally, our soft wash power washing uses minimal water, for a safe and environmentally friendly clean. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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