Posted on June 04 2018
If you are looking into natural ways to keep your home clean¹, then you may have considered pressure washing - an ultra-powerful way to remove grime, mildew, and virtually all types of dirt, without the need for toxic products or hand scrubbing. Pressure washers rely on either a gas engine or electric motor, as well as a pump and sturdy nozzle, to raise your hose pressure by up to 80 times. Although they deliver up to 4,000 psi, they do not harm your floors and surfaces, making them a good choice for a deep spring clean.
What areas can you pressure wash?
Pressure washers are normally used outdoors on terraces, decks, fences, walkways, boats, RVs, etc. They are particularly excellent at removing stubborn stains such as oil² and are favored by those who have allergies³ since they rinse possible allergens off outdoor surfaces. This cleaning method is sometimes used indoors - for instance, in kitchens and bathrooms of commercial spaces. If you used a pressure washer indoors, however, you will need to be extra vigilant about following safety instructions, as space is restricted and you want to avoid the ultra-high pressuring touching your skin.
What will you need to pressure wash?
When choosing a machine to clean your home, you need one that is efficient but not so powerful that it can harm your skin. Pressure washers emit a powerful spray with the click of a switch, and all you need to do is point it at targeted areas. Most machines come with a variety of nozzles but if you can only pick one, opt for a nozzle of at least 15º. A 0º nozzle shoots out a very powerful, long spray, while those with a higher degree ‘fan out’ a little more. Use a wand extension to reach high places without having to use a lower degree nozzle. This will also save your surfaces since 0º nozzles can sometimes damage sensitive surfaces and metallic surfaces such as those on cars. A 15º nozzle will keep your environment clean3 while efficiently removing even stubborn dirt. If you are seeking to clean an area like a garage with thick oily residue, opt for a hot water pressure washer.
Before using it, remove any flammable or dangerous materials. Ideally, the space you are cleaning should be completely clear of furniture and tools. Protect yourself with an eye guard and wear thick sturdy clothing. Remember that a low degree nozzle can harm you if it touches your skin.
What is an ideal time to pressure wash?
If you live in a cold climate, you usually won’t have to pull out your power washer until spring or summer, when you know the rain won’t undo your hard work. If you live in a warm, mold-prone climate, you will need to give surfaces at least one good clean a year, once again opting for a summer month, when the wet weather won’t threaten to bring mildew or mold to your exteriors. Try to keep your outdoors clean throughout the year, so you don’t need to spend too much time when power washing these areas. If your home is susceptible to mold, you may have to consider cleaning surfaces twice a year (or even more), bearing in mind the negative effects that mold and mildew⁴ can have on your family’s health.
Pressure washing is a quick route to clean exteriors and, on occasion, interiors. It removes the need for toxic and expensive products and battles mold, mildew and other health risks⁵. If you opt for this cleaning method, remember to put safety above all things, including cleaning ease. Never use a 0º nozzle and clear the area you are about to clean, to avoid destroying car surfaces and to prevent the risk of fire and other accidents.
1 Nogueira, H, Worker Readies for Spring Cleaning. www.thecrimson.com, accessed May 2018. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2005/5/27/worker-readies-for-spring-cleaning-on/
2 Tyson, S, How to Clean Up Spilled Lamp Oil and Candle Oil. www.fireflyfuel.com. Accessed May 2018. http://www.fireflyfuel.com/blog/how-to-clean-up-spilled-lamp-and-candle-oil
4 Nunn, P How important is a safe and clean environment, does this affect you?. www.mrsactionuk.net. Accessed May 2018. http://mrsaactionuk.net/Improvement%20Foundation/How%20important%20is%20a%20safe%20and%20clean%20environment.pdf
5 Mendell M, et.al., Respiratory and Allergic Health Effects of Dampness, Mold, and Dampness-Related Agents: A Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence. Environmental Health Perspectives, June 2011. Accessed May 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114807/
Contribution by freelance writer Sally Preston