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Can a Pressure Washer Kill You? 6 Dangers You Should Know

Are you questioning the safety of pressure washers? We’ve identified six potential hazards and provided safety directions for each. Our guide aims to dispel your fears and equip you with the knowledge to use a pressure washer safely.

Can a Pressure Washer Kill You:

Pressure washers can cause serious harm. Wear gloves, boots, long pants, and eye protection. Never aim at people. Release pressure before disconnecting. Read the manual thoroughly. Hire a pro if you are unsure how to operate safely. Use with extreme caution.

Think you’re safe in your backyard? Think again. Pressure washers, while helpful, can pose serious risks if not handled correctly. Please keep reading to discover six potential hazards and how to avoid them.


Are Pressure Washers Dangerous? 

Your garden hose and detergent can handle several cleanup jobs, especially if you can spend all day sprucing the interior and exterior of your house. However, if you have additional things to do that may be pretty much involved, you should go the pressure washer way!

A pressure washer speeds up strenuous tasks, including scrubbing grime and mildew. Should you see the need to invest in a pressure washer, you must be aware of its precarious nature. A lot of pressure washers are used for the first time in the new year around springtime.

When almost everyone is focused on taking out their cleaning devices to clean their paths, yards, and old cars, given the rise in demand for this machine in various households, a recent survey revealed that annually.

Fatal Injuries Caused by Pressure Washers

An estimated 5,000 individuals are fatally injured by this machine and rushed to different hospitals. Generally, there are various types of pressure washers. Some have gas engines; others use electric motors coupled with a pump and a concentrating nozzle to boost water pressure from the hose connection.

While a garden hose alone can efficiently deliver water pressure at 60 pounds per square, a pressure washer can complete the same tasks by generating up to 4,000 psi. That’s significantly a lot of power.

However, when properly operated, the machine can blast away stains from various surfaces without damaging your property. Even with these benefits, pressure washers can cause serious injuries. That is why consumers appreciate the seriousness of this machine.

In my experience, electric washers are generally safer as they have lower pressure, but they still require caution. On the other hand, gas washers have higher pressure and carry the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in poorly ventilated areas.

Understanding the Hazards of Pressure Washer’s Spray

A pressure washer’s spray is pretty hazardous, significantly when misdirected. It can damage your skin. This and more will be discussed in the next segment of this article. In the next segment, we will discuss checking your pressure washer before use.

The importance of using an extension cord for the washer’s power cord and how to take care of the machine to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. We will also discuss the potential for disaster if the pressure washer is not used correctly and how natural disasters occur.

Severe weather can affect the operation of your pressure washer. We will also explain how to use the pressure washer’s power safely and what to do if you need to x-ray the injured area after an accident. Remember, safety is paramount when dealing with powerful machines like pressure washers. Stay tuned!

Risks Of Using Pressure Washers

Potential Risks For Physical Injuries

It is typical of people to underestimate the power of a pressure washer. But, the water from the device is stronger than the garden hose. That kind of pressure can cause intense physical injuries, not only to the feet but to the hands as well.

It can also cut through heavy-duty boots. Besides that, the pressure makes it hard to control the hose. This increases the chances of having a runway hose, which may cause injuries. The pressure from the water spray can also strip your flesh from the bone.

– Abrasions from Pressure Washers

Additional injuries from pressure washers are abrasion, blindness, high-pressure injection, and falls. Sheer pressure water is also robust enough to cause injuries. At the same time, using chemicals when cleaning can aggravate a bad situation.

The injuries sustained when cleaning using a pressure washer may appear benign. However, they need to be examined and then treated by a physician.  Abrasions are highly associated with pressure washing. You should wear protective gear such as gloves and boots to reduce risks.

High Risks Of Electric Shock

Pressure washers are precarious because you need to mix water and electric power.  These machines also contain power cables, which makes them susceptible to cracking.

Since you are working with water, water mustn’t seep into the cords because it can result in electric shock and fire. You should also have a grounded power source since it eliminates the risks.

Causing Damage To Surfaces

A hardscape can beautify your landscape. It also helps you save water and provide a stable surface for parking and entertaining. Hardscapes are mainly prominent for durability as well as longevity.

This feature allows you to enjoy sidewalks and walkways. For the most part, hardscapes are like paving stones. When dirty, a pressure washer can be used to clean these surfaces.

– Risks of Washing Too Close to Surfaces

Pressure washing comes with a lot of power. This makes it an invaluable tool for cleaning. Therefore, the pressure may harm your hardscape and other surfaces alike.

Washing too close may also cause permanent damage to paint and wood. Not only can the paint chip away, but it fades, too. If you’ve lead paint on the surface, it will easily chip away due to pressure washing.

If the hose of your pressure washer isn’t positioned correctly, it may get underneath, damaging insulation and wiring. 

Chemical Exposure

If your landscapes are dirty, you need a pressure washer to remove the dirt in them. Hiring a professional with vast experience in cleaning would come in handy. This is one sure way of avoiding damage coupled with the potential for expensive repairs.

If hiring one isn’t within your budget, you should invest in a pressure washer with a manual for your usage. That said, power washing involves cleaning various cleaning chemicals.

If these substances seep into a puncture, crack, or wound, they may cause adverse health problems. The chemicals can also lead to bacterial infections and other health hazards that may enter your bloodstream.

Destroying Your Shingles

Older windows and shingles may not be able to withstand the pressure associated with pressure washing. You will realize that some shingles, depending on the nature of the material used to design, will be compromised in many ways.

A professional with experience in pressure washing can examine your home or a commercial premise before you invest in a pressure washer. They should tell you whether investing in the pressure washer is prudent.

The Risk Of Damaging Your Skin

Pressure washers emit high-pressure water. A small cut may go a long way, such that what may seem like a small puncture may signify grave damage. Chemicals from the machine can easily be transmitted directly into the bloodstream. This can result in a bacterial infection.

While a pressure washer is effective when cleaning various parts of your home, you should be careful when using it. Going through the safety manual before putting the machine to use is crucial.

Here are a few things regarding what may go wrong when using your pressure washer:

When running your pressure washer, water from the nozzle is emitted at a high velocity. Technically, it is anticipated that an object may be dislodged from the surface of the area you are cleaning. Usually, these objects can be dangerous for you.

Aimed at you:

In cases where the pressure washer is sought directly, the device can break up the surface of your driveway. Here, you may realize that the appliance has created innumerable cracks and voids on that surface.

– Electric shock:

If you fail to follow security instructions, you might get an electric shock with electric pressure washers.

CO2 Poisoning:

The small engine of the pressure washer is powered by gasoline. It can be precarious if operated in an enclosed space. This will lead to CO2 poisoning.

Changing the nozzle:

Attempting to adjust the pressure washer’s nozzle while your engine is running may be disastrous, too. This can damage the surface you are trying to clean. When water seeps into the wood, it can affect the quality of the painting.


Over the years of people using pressure washers in their homes, there have been several reported cases where owners have had minor injuries that led to infection.

The infections turned into disability. Remember not to neglect wounds caused by your pressure washer. Other than that, taking additional preventive measures will be instrumental in cutting the risk factors of this equipment.

Leading Pressure Washer Safety Tips

As you have read above, pressure washers are powerful devices. They can clean a large area efficiently within a short period; nevertheless, some risks are associated with using these powerful machines.

Annually, a considerable number of people usually sustain injuries from pressure washers. Fortunately, the injuries caused by the pressure washers can be prevented easily. Therefore, people should read the manual after purchasing a pressure washer since it contains some safety tips.

Safety Tips to Consider When Using a Pressure Washer

1. Make sure the pressure washer is pointed away from your body

A pressure washer can cause fatal injuries whenever mishandled; thus, it should not be aimed at others. When using a pressure washer, keep your fingers away from the nozzle.

Pressure washers should also be kept out of children’s reach. When using the pressure washer, ensure it is pointed toward the cleaned area before pulling the trigger. Pressure washers with high-pressure nozzles should not be aimed towards glass windows since they can easily break.

2. Always read the pressure washer manual

After purchasing a pressure washer, people should read the user manual since it also contains some helpful safety tips. There are numerous pressure washer models in the market, and each one of them has different features.

Some of these features include water temperature requirements. Also, the user manual contains details about the amount of pressure exerted by the specific pressure washer.

Always read all the pages of the pressure washer manual since it has some essential information that will allow you to use the gadget safely.

The user manual also includes guidelines on how the pressure washer should be assembled and disassembled. After gaining access to such information, people can quickly reduce instances of possible injuries.

3. Carry Out a Test Run

Before using the pressure washer, always conduct a test run. During the test run, use the nozzle’s widest angle; ensure a 2 feet clearance from the cleaning surface. Adjust the size of the nozzle progressively.

After the test run, you will be better positioned to determine the best nozzle for cleaning different surfaces. When operating the pressure washer, hold the wand with both hands. With time, you will gain enough confidence to use the pressure washer with one hand.

4. Always Wear Protective Gear

Most injuries caused by pressure washers can be prevented by wearing protective gear. The protective equipment that you should wear when operating a pressure washer includes:

Yes, a pressure washer can indeed be fatal. The high pressure can cause deep wounds, and if it hits vital organs or arteries, it can lead to life-threatening situations.


Always wear enclosed boots since they will protect your feet. Steel-toe boots are preferable, especially when cleaning using high-pressure water.

– Gloves

the hands are at a high risk of injury when using a pressure washer. Protect the hands by wearing gloves. The gloves will also help to improve your grip.

– Long Pants 

when operating a pressure washer, dirt may blast off the surface and cut your skin. Therefore, people should wear long pants to avoid damage from the mud and water splashing off the surface.

– Safety Glasses

the safety glasses are meant to protect the eyes. Shatterproof sunglasses can also ensure that foreign objects do not enter the eyes.

– Hearing Protection

gas-fueled pressure washers usually produce a lot of noise, so people should use hearing protection. Such pressure washers produce a lot of noise since the engine is not enclosed. The loud sound generated by the pressure washers may affect your hearing capabilities. 

5. Consider all the hazards associated with your working space

Ensure you are conversant with your surroundings before turning on the pressure washer. The slippery areas may pose some risks. If you use the pressure washer along the streets, consider factors such as the traffic around that region.

Move all the obstacles that may be present in the working space. When using the pressure washer, ensure that you have considered your well-being. If you feel nauseated, do not use a pressure washer. Also, stay away from the open windows.

Avoid using the pressure washer during periods when there are heavy rains.

6. Do Not Operate a Pressure Washer When Using a Ladder

When using a pressure washer, make sure that you are stable. You may lack stability when using a ladder and incur some physical injuries. If you want to clean a high surface above the ground, use an extension wand since it is safer than a ladder.

7. Use a Safety Latch

The washer gun on the pressure washer has a safety latch, and it should be used when you are not spraying. The safety latch ensures you cannot accidentally turn on the pressure washer.

Safety latches are levers and can be moved horizontally to ensure the gun trigger is in place. Ensure you have carried the safety latch when putting down the washer gun.

8. Before Disassembling the Pressure Washer, Get Rid of the Excess Pressure

Please turn off the pressure washer after using it. Squeeze the trigger to release the excess pressure since it may cause some physical injuries. The components that should not be removed include the hose, nozzle, and spray gun.

The mentioned components should be removed after all the pressure has been released. If you fail to release the tension, it will be released directly onto your hand. The pressure washer should be allowed to cool down first after being used.

– Understanding the Importance of Safety Measures

When you utilize the safety measures outlined in the user manual, you will realize that the pressure washer is reliable.

If you sustain some injuries when using a pressure washer, carry out first aid and seek medical attention from a qualified medical practitioner. First aid will help ease the bleeding in the affected area.

From my extensive experience, I always advise users to adhere to three key safety measures: wearing protective gear, never pointing the washer at people or animals, and always turning off the machine when not in use

9. Pressure Washers Should Not Be Operated In Enclosed Spaces

There are different types of pressure washers. Some pressure washers usually run using electricity. Gas-fueled pressure washers should not be operated in an enclosed region since they typically emit carbon monoxide, harming your health.

Emissions may cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Therefore, pressure washers should be used in a well-ventilated region. Only electric pressure washers should be used in enclosed areas. The gas-powered pressure washers should only be used in outdoor spaces.

10. Select The Right Nozzle

The spray tip nozzles are pretty dangerous. Constantly adjust the nozzles depending on how much pressure you need to clean a particular surface. Always start with the nozzle with the most significant degree spray and adjust it accordingly.

11. Avoid Electric Shock

Water usually conducts electricity. Never spray water toward an electrical outlet. Ensure you have checked the electrical cords before using the pressure washer. Always exercise extra caution when using an electric pressure washer. 

12. Protect Your Equipment

Pressure washers should be stored in a clean, well-ventilated area. The storage area should also be dry since moisture will affect the working conditions of the pressure washer.

If you want to store the pressure washer in the basement, ensure you have siphoned all the gasoline from the engine. Protect your pump accordingly if you keep the pressure washer for a prolonged period. 

A Brief Look Into Pressure Washer Injury Assessment

If you are using a pressure washer that can produce more than 100 PSI, there is a potential for serious physical injuries. After being injured while using a pressure washer, you should seek immediate medical attention before the condition worsens.

The injuries may include muscle function, wounds, and blood flow. The obstacles in the surroundings should be removed immediately. If the affected area is bleeding, put pressure on the wound first. The affected part should also be cleaned gently using clean water and a disinfectant. 

Immediate Steps After a Pressure Washer Injury

Dry the wound before applying a bandage. A clean cloth should also be used to cover the injury. If you have been injured while using a high-pressure spray, you should seek the services of a professional medical practitioner fast.

Pressure washers may inflict some wounds that cannot be easily noticed. In case of internal injuries, consult a doctor, and they will carry out an assessment to determine the affected areas. If you have internal injuries, the doctor will prescribe some medicine.

Some treatment options may be administered, including antibiotics and a tetanus shot, and they may also refer you to a specialist.

Professional vs. DIY Pressure Washing- Which One Should You Go For?

When hiring employees to do some cleaning, ensure they are well-equipped to handle the pressure washers. You can also take on some tasks by yourself; however, it is good to hire a professional. There will be a comparison between DIY and professional washing.

If you decide to handle the cleaning tasks yourself, you must put in more effort. Also, when taking a pressure washer, you will realize the work is sweaty and time-consuming. DIY jobs require you to conduct extensive research and learn more about how to use pressure washers.

When you procure the services of a pressure washing company, the employees will handle the tasks assigned to them diligently. Also, they will handle all their duties diligently.

DIY vs. Professional Pressure Washing: Safety

Pressure washers are dangerous, especially if you do not know how to handle them. If you have never used the machine, you may end up hurting yourself accidentally. By pointing the pressure washer in the wrong way, you may also end up causing some damage to your property.

A pressure washing company that has an impressive portfolio will guarantee quality work. Also, the employees in such companies interact with pressure washers throughout the week, meaning they can handle the gadgets professionally.

DIY vs. Professional Pressure Washing: Efficiency

Some companies usually rent out pressure washers. Such companies ensure that the pressure washers do not have a heating element. Also, their pressure washers run on low pressure; even if someone has never used a pressure washer before, they can use it effectively.

The main issue is that such a pressure washer cannot be as effective as professional models. Pressure washing companies also use quality cleaning agents.


Manufacturers usually issue a safety manual. By adhering to the instructions outlined in their profiles, you will be evading the chances of incurring any injuries when using the pressure washer. The user manual also allows you to operate the pressure washer efficiently.

Gas engines or electric motors power pressure washers. They run a pump, which pressurizes water from the user’s garden hose and forces it out via a spray wand. The operating mechanism is found on the pressure used to release cleaning water.

Both models need a steady yet uninterrupted water supply, usually in gallons. For this reason, pressure washers can be risky to use. That is why users must arm themselves with safety tips. That way, they can evade accidental angles when operating these machines.

Additional Information

Consumers have always raised complaints about pressure washers without a zero-degree nozzle. Accidents caused several health issues, such as lacerations as well as punctures. For that reason, people have shown concern because this powerful machine has been designed to focus its force on one point.

To address this matter, manufacturers have pointed out that consumers must be well-versed with all pressure washer models with a spray tip. If you are still wondering whether pressure washers are precarious, then the answer is yes- this is true if you fail to take precautions.


Pressure washing is an excellent cleaning method for various surfaces. But it may also destroy the same surfaces. Even pressure is needed when using this machine. If you use uneven pressure, which may be high for the surface, damage can occur.

Paint may also be removed from your surfaces, leaving the wood damaged. The pressure washer may cut a hole into your home using high pressure. There is also a high chance of water penetrating the walls of your home.

This may cause damage to the surfaces. However, as this educative blog post outlines, all is not lost. It is highly recommended that homeowners hire professional service providers to handle the cleaning. That way, the impending risks will be minimized. There is also another alternative to consider.

• The Benefits of Soft Washing

You can venture into soft washing- here, you will be cleaning the exterior of your home without exposing yourself to the risks mentioned above.

Additionally, the cleaning method uses low pressure coupled with specialized solutions and water. It is one of the most viable ways of removing mildew and bacteria from surfaces such as roves and home exteriors.

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  1. Tina Black says:

    I will share this article with my friends to make sure they are aware of pressure washer safety.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Tina! Sharing this information is crucial to ensure everyone stays safe when using pressure washers. Spread the word and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

  2. Delores Frazier says:

    How can pressure washer injuries be prevented?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Using a pressure washer can be risky. Follow the safety tips outlined in our guide to prevent injuries. Stay safe while maintaining your property!

  3. Toni Sanchez says:

    I will definitely be more careful when handling my pressure washer.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for reading our safety guide! Remember, safety is paramount when using a pressure washer. Always use with caution and protective gear to avoid potential hazards. Stay safe!

  4. Dean Lawrence says:

    I never realized the serious risks associated with pressure washers.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your comment, Dean. Pressure washers can be risky if not used properly. Our guide offers safety tips to help you use a pressure washer safely and efficiently. Stay safe!

  5. Jesse Obrien says:

    It’s important to be well-informed about pressure washer safety.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for highlighting the importance of pressure washer safety. Your awareness is crucial to avoiding potential hazards. Stay informed and stay safe!

  6. Jamie Phillips says:

    This article has opened my eyes to the dangers of pressure washers.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jamie. Pressure washers can be dangerous if not handled properly. Always prioritize safety first!

  7. Roberta Turner says:

    How often should a pressure washer be inspected for safety?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Pressure washers can be hazardous if not used safely. Follow our guide to avoid potential injuries and stay safe. Happy pressure washing!

  8. Ron Wagner says:

    What kind of protective gear is necessary when using a pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      When using a pressure washer, wear gloves, boots, long pants, and eye protection. Always release pressure before disconnecting. Read the manual thoroughly and use with extreme caution. Stay safe!

  9. Debbie Stevens says:

    I need to be more cautious when using my pressure washer.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Remember to always prioritize safety when using a pressure washer. Follow our safety guidelines to protect yourself and your property. Stay safe!

  10. Nina Peck says:

    Pressure washers seem more dangerous than I thought.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Nina, appreciate your comment. Pressure washers can be dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure to follow safety precautions to avoid any potential hazards. Stay safe!

  11. Stella Bates says:

    I didn’t know about the potential hazards of pressure washers.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for reading our blog post! We hope the safety tips provided will help you use pressure washers confidently and safely in the future.

  12. Joanne West says:

    What are some signs that a pressure washer may be malfunctioning?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your question, Joanne. Some signs that a pressure washer may be malfunctioning include loss of pressure, strange noises, leaking, and not starting. Always follow safety precautions when using one.

  13. Jimmie Thompson says:

    Pressure washers can be risky, I never knew!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jimmie! Safety is crucial when using pressure washers. Be sure to follow the safety guidelines outlined in our blog post to prevent any accidents. Stay safe!

  14. Lena George says:

    I should definitely read the manual before using my pressure washer.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Pressure washers can be dangerous if not used correctly. Reading the manual is essential for safety. We’ve outlined the hazards and safety tips in our guide. Stay informed and safe!

  15. Flenn Ward says:

    Are there different types of pressure washers available?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, there are different types of pressure washers available, each with unique features and functions. Remember to always prioritize safety when using these powerful machines. Stay safe!

  16. Alvin Lawrence says:

    I appreciate the detailed safety tips for pressure washer use.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Alvin! I’m glad you found the safety tips helpful. Stay safe while using your pressure washer!

  17. Vincent Medina says:

    Do pressure washers require regular maintenance?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Pressure washers can cause harm if not handled safely. It is essential to wear protective gear, release pressure before disconnecting, and understand the risks before use. Stay safe!

  18. Jessica Walters says:

    Can pressure washers be used on all surfaces?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Pressure washers can be used on most surfaces, but with caution. Safety measures, like wearing protective gear and releasing pressure before disconnecting, are vital. Always read the manual thoroughly for proper operation.

  19. Monica Harper says:

    Is it safe to use a pressure washer near electrical outlets?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Pressure washers can be dangerous near electrical outlets. Always keep a safe distance and follow safety precautions to avoid potential hazards. Stay safe!

  20. Sandra Griffin says:

    The safety precautions for pressure washers are crucial to follow.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for emphasizing the importance of safety precautions when using pressure washers. Safety is a top priority when using powerful tools like pressure washers. Stay safe!