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Coastal 101 | Home & Garden

The Fine Art of Power Washing

May 29, 2021

There are plenty of powerful tools you can buy to fill your garage, workshop, or truck, from chainsaws and winches to table saws and more. But one of the most useful is the power washer. Whether you live in the city or enjoy the quiet of the country a good power washer is essential for cleaning and beautifying your toys, tools, and home. To prove it, we’ve put together a few quick ways you can put one to good use in your own life.

Everyday Usefulness

Looking for a good reason to buy yourself a new power washer? The short list of items you can clean includes: windows, drains, gutters, pools, hot tubs, outdoor furniture, driveways, sidewalks, vinyl or brick siding on homes, grills, bicycles, mowers, boats, kayaks, fencing, patios, garage doors, and the muddiest of trucks. Why hose it off if you can pressure wash into to perfection? Now that you have something to pressure wash, you need to decide on the power of your washer.

Let’s Talk PSI and GPM

PSI stands for pounds per square inch and GPM stands for gallons per minute. You will find that machines with a higher GPM and PSI will clean better than those with lower values. For light cleaning, look for a machine with a lower GPM compared to its PSI. But if you need to cut through the grime, you will want a higher GPM and PSI combination.

Cleaning Power

Cleaning a driveway or fence is easy with the right power washer, but to keep mold and mildew at bay you need to add a cleaning agent or chlorine. If that’s an important feature for you, be sure to buy a model with a detergent reservoir.

Safety Under Pressure

Used correctly, power washers will clean the siding on your home and take dirt off the deck. However, those models can also strip paint, rip vegetation, and cut skin. Play it safe and wear gloves, goggles, and ear protection (gas powered models can pound out the decibels). To ensure you don’t damage your property, avoid close-up applications to painted wood or metal surfaces, or simply lower the pressure setting.

Five Steps to Cleaning Almost Anything

Sure there are additional steps to complete when cleaning a driveway, such as sealing the concrete when you’re done. But overall, these five steps should help you get the most out of your power washer.

#1: Clean by Hand First. Using your hand, broom or towel, wipe off any excess dirt, leaves, etc.

#2: Protect Plants, People, Pets, and Property. Use a tarp to cover nearby plants. Be sure people and pets are out of the way as well.

#3: Know Your Machine. Before you start, be sure you know how to hook your power washer to the hose, how to avoid injury, and where to install the detergent (if necessary).

#4: Keep Your Distance. Generally, it’s best to keep the end of the nozzle between 8 to 18 inches from whatever you intend to clean. If you need to get closer, be sure to lower the pressure to avoid damaging your property.

#5: Clean Up. Never put the power washer away dirty. As they always say, a clean tool is a happy tool.

Coastal Has Power Washers

Stop by your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch and we’ll introduce you to the wonderful world of power washers, including powerful models from Briggs & Stratton, as well as electric options from Karcher. Already have a power washer? We have many of the hoses, nozzles, gaskets, and other parts you need to keep yours running strong.