Washing soap off a car

Gone are the days when you needed to hire an expensive cleaning service to wash off molding, grime, and other stubborn detritus off of your property. Thanks to the affordability of pressure washers they are becoming an increasingly common household item throughout the states. However, learning how to use it properly is certainly a bit of a learning curve. For those new to the technology, one of their most frequent queries is how to use soap with a pressure washer?

 

Soap helps loosen the tough dirt and grease particles, making it easier for the pressure washer to clear them away from the surface of your property. In this guide, we will be giving step-by-step instructions on how to use soap with a pressure washer.

 

 

Step 1: Preparing the Cleaning Area

Soaps and detergents contain harmful and abrasive chemicals. They can potentially cause damage to vulnerable materials, as well as kill off any plants in your garden. Furthermore, while cleaning, you have to also make sure that you don’t damage or dirty your neighbor’s property in the process.

 

The first step is to prepare the area where you would be doing the cleaning. Cover all plants and objects to protect them from exposure to the chemicals while cleaning.

 

Step 2: Do a Pre-clean

For neat and spotless results, it is best to do a pre-clean before you start applying soap or detergent. Using your pressure washer, pre-wash the surface with hot water. It will help loosen up the accumulated grime and dirt on the surface as well as make it easier for the soap to work on them.

 

Tip: Make sure that the water being used isn’t scalding hot. Apart from apparent concerns with safety, many household pressure washers only host a tolerance level of 200 F.

 

Step 3: Apply the Soap

Applying soap over the surface is easy and straightforward. Many pressure washer models come with an in-built detergent tank. Simply fill it up with the liquid soap solution and use the pressure washer wand at low pressure to apply it evenly over the surface, starting from the bottom up and working your way to the top.

 

In case your pressure washer doesn’t feature a detergent tank, you can pour the soap in a bucket and make use of a hose instead. Use a weighted strainer to hold the hose in place inside the bucket and connect the other end of the hose to the water inlet valve of the pressure washer. Apply the soap as previously instructed.

 

Given that pressure washers come in different makes and from different brands, it is always recommended to check the instructions manual given by the manufacturers when applying soap with a pressure washer.

 

Tip: Some cleaning solutions are sold as a concentrate. Make sure to check on this, and dilute them with water before applying them to the surface.

 

Step 4: Just wait

Once you have thoroughly applied the soap over the surface, allow it to sit for a few minutes so that it can work on weakening the stains. If the wind is up or the sun is shining bright, you may need to apply a second layer of soap to avoid it from drying and caking the surface. Don’t leave the cleaning agent over for too long, or else it may cause stains or even damage the surface.

 

Step 5: Wash Away!

Drain away the remaining soap and connect the pressure washer to a water inlet. Switch to high pressure and began rinsing away the soap from the surface. Start from the top and work your way to the bottom. Be sure to wash away the soap not just from the surface you are cleaning but also the surrounding area and objects.

 

Tip: using too much pressure can potentially damage some surfaces. Check your instruction manual or do your research on the recommended pressure before using it on your property. For cars, bikes, and wooden surfaces, the recommended PSI is 900 to 1500. For decks, docks, and home siding, a PSI of 2600 to 3000 is ample. For graffiti, concrete and asphalt, a PSI of 4000 would be needed.

 

Best Soaps for Pressure Washers

For superior cleaning results and to minimize the risk of damages, consider one of these branded cleaning soap to go along with your pressure washer instead of cheap locally made one:

 

Our Top Pick: Sun Joe Premium Snow Foam

Sun Joe is a well-known brand for providing good quality pressure washers, but they also make pressure washer accessories and cleaning agents. For a fast-acting and effective cleaning solution, this soap formula from Sun Joe is one of the best out there in the market. It is bio-degradable, safe to use on metal surfaces and can be applied in a variety of applications.

 

This viscous cleaning soap is created specifically for use with pressure washers and leaves a neat, different finish after each clean. It also has a sweet, fruity smell to it. However, compared to rival products, its foaming ability is not that great.

 

Pros

  • Bio-degradable
  • Non-corrosive
  • Effective cleaning
  • Smells great
  • Versatile

 

Cons

  • Foaming is not that great

Best for Cars: Chemical Guys Extreme Bodywash & Wax Car Wash Soap

For effective cleaning and lasting shine on your car, Chemicals Guys have you covered. Their soap formula includes a sealing wax that adds an added layer of protection to your car after every wash. The cleaning agent is ph neutral, meaning that it won’t corrode exposed areas of your car’s exterior. The soap works well with pressure washers and can even be used in direct sunlight. What’s more? It also smells great! The only major drawback we can think of is that the product is non-bio-degradable.

 

Pros

  • Protective sealant
  • Non-corrosive
  • Effective cleaning
  • Smells great

 

Cons

  • Non-bio-degradable

Best Heavy-Duty Soap: Simple Green Concrete and Driveway Cleaner

For the most demanding surfaces such as concrete, brick walls, and driveways, we recommend this product from Simple Green’s. It is a very potent cleaning formula designed to remove the toughest of oil, grease, and paint particulates from the surface. It is also bio-degradable and non-corrosive. This soap solution can be applied with a pressure washing system or manually. However, it may not be the most effective cleaning solution in some applications, such as roofs and siding.

 

Pros

  • Bio-degradable
  • Non-corrosive
  • Effective cleaning
  • Smells great

 

Cons

  • Not every effective in some cleaning applications

Our Final Thoughts

Learning how to use soap with a pressure washer is not difficult. However, care should be taken on what type of soap solution you are applying for your washing needs. General-purpose soaps will work great for most cleaning jobs. Still, for the most effective results, it is best to buy soap products specifically made for specific washing applications, e.g. vehicle cleaning soap for washing your cars and bikes. Care also should be taken that the soap being used is compatible with a pressure washer and doesn’t cause damage to it.