Natural wood siding, decking, and fencing might look great, but if it’s not properly maintained it can collect grime and develop mildew growth that spoils its appearance and shortens its lifespan. Pressure washers offer an easy, effective way to clean wood surfaces, but you may have heard that pressure washing can damage wood as well. In fact, pressure washers can be used to safely clean wood as long as you use the right tools and take the proper precautions.
Here are a few tips to safely pressure wash wood surfaces:
Pressure and Spray Pattern
To prevent damage to wood surfaces, it’s important to use a pressure washer that’s rated at 3,000 PSI or less. Any more power than that may do more harm than good. Choose a pressure nozzle with a wide 40-degree spray pattern as well. This will distribute the pressure over a broader surface area and further reduce the chance of damaging the wood. As you wash, try to keep the wand tip about 12” – 16” from the surface you’re spraying.
Because you’ll have to go easy on the pressure when cleaning wood surfaces, it helps to add some specialized detergent to aid in the cleaning process as well. When pressure washing wood, we recommend using the Enviro-Clean detergent from Hotsy. This detergent is gentle enough to use on natural wood finishes but strong enough to effectively remove stuck-on dirt and grime. It’s also biodegradable, so it can be safely used outside without harming nearby plants or animals.
To minimize streaking on vertical wood surfaces like fencing and siding, apply detergents from the bottom-up, and then rinse from the top-down. On decking, always spray in the same direction as the wood grain to maximize the effectiveness of your pressure washer. Overlap the edge of your spray slightly each time to achieve a nice, even clean.
Spring is a great time to give a fresh clean look to your deck or fencing. If you will be painting or refinishing your wooden surfaces be sure to allow at least a day for them to dry before applying any paint or sealants. If you begin before the wood is dry you can possibly seal in moisture which can significantly damage the wood.
It is crucial to operate your pressure washer with care and the proper safety precautions. Improper use of a pressure washer can result in serious injury.
Here are a few safety guidelines to help ensure your safety while operating your Hotsy pressure washer:
Never operate your pressure washer while on a ladder. The kickback from the power washer can be extremely strong and can quickly knock your balance causing you to fall so it is important to be on steady ground whenever you are operating a pressure washer.
Always wear protective gear. When operating a pressure washer, you should always make sure to wear the proper clothing. Wear closed-toed boots, safety goggles, long pants, and gloves.
Never point the wand at anyone. Always keep the pressure washer wand facing downward or whatever item you are cleaning. The high pressure can do extreme damage to the body even if it is not visible so it is important to never aim it at anyone.
With these tips in mind, you will be able to properly operate your pressure washer safely and effectively. Be sure to check our blog often for other pressure washing tips!
Need a powerful industrial pressure washer for your next big cleaning task? North Texas Sales & Distribution is here to help. Give us a call to learn more about Hotsy pressure washers or any of the other products and services we offer today.