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How To Pressure Wash Concrete?

Pressure washing is an effective and efficient way to clean concrete surfaces, such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios. By using a high-pressure water stream, pressure washing can remove dirt, grime, and other stubborn stains that can be difficult to remove by hand. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of pressure washing concrete surfaces.

Prepare the area

Before pressure washing, it’s important to prepare the area. Clear any objects or debris from the surface you want to clean. Move any plants or objects that could be damaged by the high-pressure water stream. Cover any nearby plants, electrical outlets, or outdoor furniture with plastic sheeting or drop cloths to protect them from the water.

Choose the right pressure washer

When choosing a pressure washer, it’s important to select one with enough power to clean your concrete surface. For most residential pressure washing applications, a pressure washer with a PSI (pounds per square inch) rating of 2000-3000 should be sufficient. The GPM (gallons per minute) rating is also important, as it determines how much water is used to clean the surface. A higher GPM will result in a more efficient cleaning process.

What to spray on concrete before pressure washing

Spraying a cleaning solution on concrete surfaces before pressure washing can help to loosen and remove stubborn stains and dirt. The type of cleaning solution you use will depend on the type of stains you are trying to remove. Here are some common solutions that can be used before pressure washing:

  • Water: Simply wetting down the concrete surface before pressure washing can help to loosen dirt and grime. This is a good first step before applying any other cleaning solutions.
  • Soap or Detergent: Many pressure washers come with a built-in soap or detergent dispenser. You can use a mild soap or detergent, such as dish soap, laundry detergent, or a specially-formulated concrete cleaner. Mix the soap or detergent with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spray it onto the concrete surface before pressure washing.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a natural cleaning solution that can help to remove stains and odors from concrete surfaces. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar and spray it onto the surface before pressure washing.
  • Bleach: Bleach can be effective at removing tough stains, such as mold or mildew. However, it should be used with caution, as it can be harmful to plants and can lighten the color of the concrete. Mix a small amount of bleach with water and spray it onto the surface before pressure washing.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is a natural and gentle cleaning solution that can be used to remove stains and odors from concrete surfaces. Mix baking soda with water to create a paste and apply it to the surface before pressure washing.

Choose the right nozzle and attachment

The nozzle and attachment you use will depend on the type of concrete surface you are cleaning and the severity of the stains. For example, a 15-degree nozzle is good for removing dirt and grime from concrete surfaces, while a 25-degree nozzle is better for lighter cleaning tasks. For stubborn stains, such as oil or grease, you may want to use a turbo nozzle or a surface cleaner attachment. These attachments provide more concentrated and powerful water streams to remove stains.

Choosing PSI pressure to clean 

Before starting the cleaning process, test the pressure washer on a small area of the concrete surface to ensure the pressure is not too high. If the pressure is too high, it can damage the surface of the concrete. Adjust the pressure as necessary until you find the right setting for your specific application.

  • Light Duty Cleaning: For basic cleaning tasks, such as removing dirt and grime from concrete patios or walkways, a pressure washer with a PSI of 1300-2000 should be sufficient. This level of pressure is gentle enough to avoid damaging the concrete, but still powerful enough to remove surface-level stains and debris.
  • Medium Duty Cleaning: If you need to remove tougher stains, such as oil or grease, or if the concrete is heavily soiled, you may need a pressure washer with a PSI of 2000-3000. This higher level of pressure can penetrate deeper into the concrete to remove stubborn stains.
  • Heavy Duty Cleaning: For extremely dirty or stained concrete, such as a heavily-stained driveway, a pressure washer with a PSI of 3000-4000 or higher may be necessary. However, be careful when using such high-pressure machines, as they can easily damage the concrete if not used properly.

Begin cleaning

Start at the highest point of the concrete surface and work your way down. Hold the pressure washer wand at a 45-degree angle to the surface and move it back and forth in a sweeping motion. Be sure to keep the wand at a consistent distance from the surface to avoid causing damage. For vertical surfaces, start at the bottom and work your way up to prevent streaks and stains from running down the surface.

Clean in sections

To ensure even cleaning, it’s best to clean the concrete surface in sections. Clean a small section at a time, then move on to the next section. This will prevent the surface from drying before it can be rinsed, which can cause streaking.

Repeat if necessary

If stains are still present after the first cleaning, repeat the process. Apply additional cleaning solution if necessary and use a more concentrated nozzle or attachment to remove stubborn stains.

In conclusion, pressure washing is an effective and efficient way to clean concrete surfaces. By following these steps and using the right equipment, you can achieve a clean and sparkling new concrete surface! 


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