Do pressure washers REALLY need soap?

When using a pressure washer, you may notice that just using water doesn’t appear to be cleaning off all of the dirt. So, do you really need soap in order to get a tough job done?

When cleaning with a power washer, you will definitely need soap, or a detergent, when using a pressure washer. It’ll make washing not only easier but more quickly as the soap breaks down the dirt and bugs and softens the area to be washed away.

With that out of the way, what are the best detergents to use? Do all projects need detergents? This article is sure to help answer all of your questions and what is the best way to go about cleaning your tough projects.

Does Regular Soap Work?

Pressure washer soap is specifically designed for pressure washers. You wouldn’t use pressure washer soap to clean your dishes. They’re used for tough jobs, not just for cleaning wet food off of dishes. If you try using dish soap, then you’ll notice that the job looks half done rather than clean and complete. Some dish soaps may even be hard on a pressure washer and cause build-up within the piping. A pressure washer may have to work harder, which doesn’t help in the longevity and warranty of a pressure washer. Regular soaps don’t provide the level of cleaning necessary to make the job not only look good, but last. Pressure washer soaps are designed for stuck on dirt that is difficult, and using regular soap won’t give a nice, finishing clean.

However, if you decide to use a dish soap as a one-time thing, Dawn is preferable over cheaper options. It does say that you can use it to clean baby ducks, so that should attest to something.

Can You Use Powder Detergents?

If you’re looking for a more inexpensive alternative, as well as something that might smell good, then a powder detergent may be helpful when cleaning a car or carpets on the patio. Powder detergent can be used as more of a substitute. The important thing to understand is that the powder detergent needs to be completely dissolved if it’s going to be used in a pressure washer.

Just to reiterate, if a powder detergent is used but not dissolved, then it will create build-up, which can also cause mold and mildew to grow, which in turn renders the pressure washer useless. After using powder detergent, it is best to run water through the pressure washer so as to clean out all of the debris left behind. It probably isn’t the most effective at cleaning off dirt and bugs, as it’s normally meant to clean off minor dirt on clothes. It will probably smell good, but won’t be as effective at cleaning off stuck on stuff. 

Should You Use Bleach?

Bleach is a corrosive component, so that would mean a big, fat, absolute no. It is best to avoid putting bleach through the pressure washer. Some people will say it’s totally fine, but that isn’t exactly the case. Often times, bleach is used to get rid of mold and mildew. Home owners sometimes pour bleach down their drains if they notice water not draining normally.

However, bleach can easily get circulated back into the water system and ruin piping and contaminate the water. If you do plan on using bleach through your pressure washer, it may be best in order to dilute it with maybe half and half. Straight bleach is potent and will get stuck within the pressure washer and ruin piping as well as contaminate the water used in the future. After using some bleach, make sure to run water through the pressure washer so as to remove any traces of bleach. It is probably best not to use bleach unless you’ve tried other options and they haven’t worked in cleaning off the dirt.

The Best Detergents to Use

Though there aren’t a lot of options, there are still great detergents to pick from that will certainly get the job done. It’s better to use a detergent over regular soap, as it has solvents designed for mold and dirt build-up.

Simple Green

Simple Green strives to have a better alternative to harmful chemicals such as bleach. Lacking the harsh smell, it deodorizes and degreases in a concentrated formula. It usually comes in a one gallon jug, which will last a while before you’ll need another one. You can purchase this through any retailer, and is relatively affordable.

Purple Power Heavy-Duty

The best part of a pressure washer is the ability to be hands free without all of the scrubbing action. This pressure washer is perfect for getting all of that stuck on grime that has accumulated over a long period of time. It’s a non-abrasive formula, which means it won’t scratch or leave streaks once its rinsed off. It can either be used at full strength or diluted to last longer.

Do all Projects Need Detergents?

Depending on the level of dirt and filth that has accumulated over time is whether you should use detergents or not. If it’s just a simple cleaning, then it isn’t as much to worry about. However, if it’s something that needs to be softened up before being washed off with high pressure water, then a detergent would work best when cleaning. Pressure washers are used when cleaning extensive projects, so using a detergent will help in lessening the duration it takes to clean up.

Detergents are the best and easiest way of cleaning and detailing a car or sides of a home rather than having to just pressure wash with water. Detergents help to scrub off the mold and mildew that has accumulated over time. Guaranteed, you’re using a pressure washer because you’ve noticed that the build up of dirt has gotten far out of hand. It will take a lot less time to clean if you use a detergent first, and then pressure wash everything away for less hassle.

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