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What can you not clean with a pressure washer?

Jul 20

Pressure washers can be a powerful tool for removing surfaces' graffiti, dirt, and other stuck-on material. However, there are some items that can be damaged by a strong stream of water. There are some obvious things to avoid, such as people, animals, and plants. However, there are many surfaces and objects that can be damaged by pressure washing.

Water pressure can help you avoid certain objects. However, some devices can be damaged by water seeping through cracks. It can cause damage to sensitive electronic and mechanical equipment. Before you pressure wash your car or house, review this list of 9 things you shouldn't clean with a pressure washer.



It may seem great to give the windows a quick wash using the pressure washer, especially considering how difficult it is to reach windows on the second level. However, the fragile glass cannot withstand the high-pressure spray created by the pressure washer. You will have at least one window that needs to be replaced and a lot of glass and water to clean inside.

Electric meters

The casing of electric meters is usually made from solid metal and has a transparent or plastic cover. While the casing protects the meter from rain, snow, and sleet, it can also cause damage to the incoming electric system.


Asphalt Shingles

To avoid damaging asphalt shingles and causing potential leaks, do not turn the pressure washer on roofs with asphalt shingles. High water pressure can actually remove the asphalt shingles' granules. If the roof is older, it may also break or remove the entire roof. Roof leaks can cause damage to the house and lead to health problems, such as structural damage and rot.



Most people don't enjoy cleaning out their gutters. Using a pressure washer to remove dirt, grime, clumps, or leaves may seem tempting. This is not a good idea. The pressure washer can damage the downspout or pull the gutter off of the house. It is better to manually remove the debris from the gutters and then rinse the gutter with a garden hose.


Old Mortar or Brick

Concrete patios and paving stones can be cleaned with pressure washers. You can also use them at a lower pressure setting for new bricks. A pressure washer is only useful if the brick or mortar outside of the house is chipped and crumbling. A powerful stream of water can cause significant structural damage to the walls and old brick.



Pressure washers can be advertised as suitable for vehicles, provided the washer is used at low pressure. It is best to avoid using a pressure washer to clean vehicles. Even slight adjustments in the distance or angle of spray can cause permanent damage to the paint, causing chips and dents that could lead to rusting. The spray's power can also force water into cracks and crevices in the engine, which can lead to costly repairs.


Staining or painting surfaces

A pressure washer's powerful water stream is ideal for stripping paint off metal siding and staining wood decks. To properly prepare a deck, pressure-washing it before applying a new coat is recommended. Avoid using pressure washers on painted or stained surfaces if you don't wish to damage, chip, or peel the stain.


Lighting Fixtures

The outdoor light fixtures such as porch and lamppost lights are designed to withstand rain, snow, ice, and high winds. However, they are not built to withstand the strong horizontal stream of water from a pressure washer. High-pressure water flow can cause damage to glass panes and bulbs and complete removal of the fixture from its mounting. Even if the force does not destroy the fixture completely, water can still seep through cracks and cause damage to the internal electrical components.


Air Conditioners

Protect delicate metal fins inside the metal box housing an air conditioner. A pressure washer can quickly clean dirt and debris off the exterior of an air conditioner, but it can also bend or crush fins, restricting airflow to the unit. Use a vacuum or garden hose to clean the fins gently. The pressure washer can be saved for your driveway.



Pressure washers are great for cleaning driveways, siding, decks, and other outdoor surfaces. But what about when it's time to clean something a little more delicate - like your car? A pressure washer can actually do more harm than good in this case. The high-pressure stream of water can strip away the wax or sealant on your car, leaving it susceptible to weathering and rusting. Not only that, but too much pressure can also damage the paint job or even chip the glass. So, before you break out the pressure washer next time you need to clean your car, read these tips on how to clean your vehicle with a pressure washer safely.