Pressure washers are an effective way to clean many things outdoors, including driveways, siding and cars. Rather than scrubbing these areas manually, you’ll achieve much more dramatic results by using a pressure washer.

However, there are certain safety measures to keep in mind while using these electric or gas-powered machines. To begin with, make sure that you read all the instructions that come with your pressure washer; each machine is different and might have slightly different safety specifications.

Secondly, work with, not against the flow of gravity. If you’re trying to clean a fence, start at the top and work downwards. You don’t want to clean the bottom part of it only to have the dirt from the top part drip downward and ruin all your hard work.

Selecting a nozzle and deciding whether you want to use a chemical should be the next steps. Most washers come with a number of nozzles which are suitable for cleaning various things. The water pressure varies depending on the type of nozzle you use, and different degrees of pressure are suitable for different surfaces.

For more delicate surfaces you’ll need less pressure whereas for concrete or brick, you can use more pressure. Keep in mind that a surface cleaned with a pressure washer may quickly start to look dry but often absorbs water that keeps it moist on the inside. So if you’re planning to wash that fence and then paint it, make sure to give it ample time to dry.

Sometimes, the addition of chemicals is necessary, especially if the surface is really grimy. In such cases, be sure to refer to the manual to figure out what kinds of chemicals are okay to use and in what quantity.

Once you’ve decided what nozzle to use and whether you want to add chemicals to your cleaning project, you’re ready to start. Protective eyewear and gloves are a good idea, as are earplugs if your pressure washer is particularly loud. In the beginning, you might want to stand a little further away and test out the effect.

If your pressure washer isn’t cleaning as well as you like, you can move closer. Just remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry when working with a high power machine like a pressure washer. After a while, you may find that certain parts of your pressure washer have deteriorated, such as the nozzle, the chemical injector or the coupler plugs. You can refer to a complete breakdown by parts to help figure out what exactly needs to be replaced.

It is fairly easy and inexpensive to replace a pressure washer part from a company such as Pat’s Small Engine Plus, saving you money on the cost of buying a new one. You can also get outdoor power equipment from psep.biz. Over time, you’ll find yourself growing parts-savvy and will know right away if something needs to be replaced.

Now that you know the ins and outs of pressure-washing, get ready for clean, sparkling outdoor surfaces that will be the envy of your neighbors.