How to Pressure Wash a Car

By Power Tools

March 8, 2021

Seeing your car sparkling clean is a wonderful feeling. It fills you with a sense of accomplishment seeing your car looking like new again and makes you want to get out and show it off in the neighborhood.

Although you can hand wash your car with soapy water and some sponges, we recommend you use a pressure washer. Not only are pressure washers easier than hand washing your car but they also use a lot less water than a hosepipe.

However, you have to be careful with these as one wrong move and you could end up chipping your car’s beloved paintwork or damage its tires and interior.

How to Pressure Wash a Car

To prevent you from potentially damaging your car, we are going to walk you through the steps of pressure washing your car effectively and safely.

If you haven’t got the spare time to wash your car very often, a pressure washer will help wash it efficiently in very little time leaving you with a pristine automobile.

Let’s take a look at what pressure washers do and how to use them effectively below.

What you’ll need to pressure wash your car

Before you begin to wash your car clean of dirt and mud, there is a list of things you will need. These are:

  • A pressure washer with a 40-degree or 25-degree tip
  • A bucket
  • Water
  • Detergent
  • A water outlet
  • An electrical outlet (Only necessary if you are using an electric pressure washer)

How to pressure wash a car

Now that you have all of the items required for pressure washing your car, let’s take a look at the steps required.

Firstly, there are a few factors to look out for when buying a new pressure washer. You need to find the right nozzle and a good pressure washer to safely wash your car.

You can do this by checking the appropriate PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons per minute) of the pressure washer before you invest in one. 

If the PSI value is higher on your washer, the force of the water being shot out will be higher. A higher GPM means that the washer will release higher amounts of water. A PSI that is too high could damage your car’s paintwork so keep this in mind.

You should also check the cleaning units. These are found via a calculation of PSI x GPM = cleaning units. The best car pressure washers have around 1900 to 2800 cleaning units. Therefore, your washer should have a PSI of 1200 to 1900 and a GPM of at least 1.4 to 1.6.

Once you have chosen and purchased your pressure washer, you are almost ready to go. Just plug in and prepare the washer for cleaning. 

Now you’re ready to pressure wash your car!

Step 1

Parking your car and getting the pressure washer ready

  • Park your vehicle in a crowd-free space. The best areas are usually in a driveway, behind your house, or in a garage where you have a water supply nearby and an electrical connection to connect the water pressure
  • Set your pressure washer to the widest and least powerful setting
  • Clean your car and lightly rinse off dirt, mud, or other tougher contaminants. You can use an attachable airbrush to make this job quicker
  • Rinse the brush thoroughly to remove grit and debris
  • Choose a detergent and place this in a bucket with water to dilute
  • Fill the detergent tank on the pressure washer with the diluted detergent. If your pressure washer doesn’t include a detergent tank, place the diluted detergent on your car’s surface with a cloth
  • Attach your pressure washer to a water outlet, running tap, or tank

Step 2

Wash the car

  • Turn on the pressure washer and spray it across your car
  • Spray the detergent over your car for five minutes
  • Turn your washer’s tip to 40-degrees and spray the water once more. 
  • Use a slightly stronger setting for the paintwork than with a glass area
  • If you have a variable nozzle, adjust the power and the width accordingly to the area you are rinsing. If not, stand about one meter from the car
  • Rinse the car off with the pressure washer
  • Apply water and detergent smoothly to the front and back of your vehicle as well as its wheels and tires
  • Thoroughly rinse with the pressure washer
  • Dry your whole car with a clean cloth to help it look shiny

It’s as simple as that! Your car should now be gleaming, shiny, and bright. Now all you have to do is go and show it off to the neighbors!

Pressure washer features

Here are some useful pressure washer features to get the job done efficiently and easily.

  • Long hose - This should be at least five meters long for easy maneuvering around the car
  • Wheels - The more portable the washer is, the easier it is to move around the car
  • Nozzle attachments - These should allow you to change the spray’s direction
  • Jet nozzle settings - Allows you to clean parts of your car more safely preventing possible damage
  • Angled nozzle - This can direct water skywards to clean wheel arches easily
  • Attachable foamer bottle - This saves you from carrying around a container all the time

The advantages of using a pressure washer on your car

There are many benefits of cleaning your car with a pressure washer. Firstly, they provide a more efficient and easier cleanup operation in a short amount of time.

They also remove stubborn or hard dirt and certain contaminants from your vehicle thanks to the water’s force. Hand washing wouldn’t herald the same results.

The fact pressure washers use a high water force to remove dirt also means you don’t have to get your hands dirty and wet. They also prevent scratches on your car’s paintwork which can easily occur with hand washes that use brushes. However, too much force can chip the paintwork.

In Summary

Pressure washers are the most efficient tools for washing your car effectively.

Now that you know how to pressure wash your car and the requirements you need to check before doing so, your car can look clean and new in a matter of minutes.