How Much Psi to Clean a House: What the Pros Say


If you plan to clean your house with a pressure washer, one of the most critical questions is how much pressure you need? Different surfaces require different psi settings. If you do not use the correct psi setting, you can damage the surface you are cleaning. For example, a deck needs to be cleaned with a pressure washer set to 500 to 600 psi, while cleaning concrete driveways and walkways need a pressure washer around 3,000 psi. 

How Much Psi to Clean a House:

In general, you should use a pressure washer where the pressure can be changed according to the material you want to clean. For softer materials like softwood, you need 500 to 600 psi. For some materials like vinyl sidings or glass, we recommend from 1,300 to 1,600 psi. And for really tough materials like concrete, the psi should be between 2,500 to 3,000 psi. 

How Much Psi to Clean a House: What the Pros Say 1

This article helps with the psi required to clean different parts of your house, such as driveways, deck, windows, and sidings.

How Much Psi Do You Need to Clean or Wash a House?

For cleaning your house’s driveway, you need a pressure washer set to 2,500 to 3,000 psi. For other areas, like the vinyl sidings, decks, or glass, the pressure should not exceed 1,500 psi. For soft materials, like softwood, you should use even lower pressure, around 500 to 600 psi.

When you pressure wash your house, there are a few factors you need to consider for effective cleaning. The most important is to use the correct psi. If too high, it can damage the material. But if set too low, it can mean that the material is not cleaned sufficiently.

If you want to choose a pressure washer for home use, you should look at the various materials and surfaces you wish to clean. In the following section, we will look at how much psi you need to clean different parts of your house efficiently.

How Much Psi Do You Need to Clean a Driveway?

To clean your driveway, you need a lot of pressure and the correct water flow. Most driveways are made from concrete, which requires a pressure of around 3,000 psi. Use a degrease to remove difficult stains. The high pressure will ensure that you will end up with a clean driveway, making your house look much better.

Besides the 3,000 psi pressure, the recommended flow rate for cleaning a driveway is 3 GPM. While psi is required to remove stains and dust particles, GPM is important to remove dirt and other material quickly. The more water runs through your nozzle in a minute, the less time it will take to clean the driveway. But if you are cleaning a driveway close to more delicate materials, there is a risk of causing nearby paint damage. In that case, lower the pressure to around 1500 psi for the part close to the more vulnerable materials. Also, use a lower flow rate of around 1.8 GPM. But keep in mind that this means that you will clean those areas less efficiently.

How Much Psi Do You Need to Clean the Windows of Your House?

For window glass, the recommended pressure is around 1500 psi. Never use more than 2,000 psi. Also, use a green 45 or white 60-degree nozzle when cleaning windows. Always start from a bigger distance and slowly come closer if needed for a really dirty area.

If you are cleaning more special glass that is more prone to get damaged, do not use a pressure washer. Just use a bucket and sponge.

How Much Psi Do You Need to Clean the Decks of Your House?

To clean the deck with a pressure washer, first, check the type of wood you use. Proper cleaning softwoods, such as pine and cedar, need a psi pressure of 500 to 600 psi. For harder wood, use a pressure of around 1,200 to 1,500 psi.

Cleaning a deck looks like a simple task. Point your pressure washer to it, and you are done. However, washing your deck with a power washer without using the correct setting can cause irreparable damage to the wood such as cracks. Or damage the paint.

If you are unsure if you use the correct pressure setting, start by cleaning the part of the deck that is easiest to repair or replace. Start from a bigger distance. Slowly come closer as long as things go ok. Once you’ve found the right pressure settings, you can start cleaning the other areas of the deck. Make sure you keep a consistent distance between the nozzle and the deck while cleaning.

Other than the psi value, the pressure washer’s nozzle plays an important role in an effective deck cleaning. Use a green 45 or white 60-degree nozzle or a rotating tip. Always check the water pressure in a safe place and not directly point at people or glass windows. Apply pressure 18 inches from the deck. Do not get closer than 12 inches to the deck if you are washing it at higher pressures.

How Much Psi Do You Need to Clean the Vinyl Sidings of Your House?

You should use a pressure washer set to 1,300 to 1,600 psi setting for cleaning vinyl siding. Use some soap for improved cleaning. Start with a low psi setting and some distance, and slowly increase the pressure. When you find a good pressure setting, keep it there. Use a green 45 or white 60-degree nozzle and a brush for really dirty areas.

Vinyl sidings look nice, but the parts of your house with sidings often collect more dirt and dust. And on more colorful sidings, it is also much more visible. Homes in dusty roads, tropical climates, and new developments are also exposed to more pollution and dust. That can cause the vinyl sidings to soften, while mildew can quickly spread and trap in wet conditions.

Use the following steps to clean your Vinyl Siding with a pressure washer:

– Step 1: Prepare the pressure washer

Set the pressure washer to 1,300 to 1,600 psi. Fill the soap tank with pressure washer detergent for improved cleaning. Ensure that the product is safe to use on vinyl sidings.

– Step 2: Apply the soap to the Vinyl Siding

Use the low psi setting to spray the soap to the vinyl siding. If you have a high house, use a spray extension or a high-pressure spray kit. Use a brush to clean a really dirty, tough spot. You can also use a rotating brush pressure washer extension.

– Step 3: Give the soap time to set

Let the soap sit for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, the detergent can break down the dirt. If you see that the detergent is drying up, it is time to start with the next step.

– Step 4: Use the pressure washer to clean the vinyl siding

Use the pressure washer to clean the vinyl siding. Start with lower pressure and at a greater distance. See how the cleaning goes. Increase the pressure if needed, or move a little bit closer. Be careful with areas where the vinyl overlaps. It is best to start from top to bottom. Continue until you have removed all the soap and the vinyl siding is clean.

Does Pressure Washing Damage Brick?

In general, you can pressure wash brick without any problem, as long as you follow some rules. Brick absorbs water because it is a porous material. Before starting, ensure that the mortar is set correctly and old mortar is not falling apart. Use a lower psi at the start. For the older and tougher stains, scrub the surface with a brush instead of removing them with high-pressured water.  

Workers often seal the outside of bricks to make them more resistant. You can seal the surface using a good quality sealant and wait until it dries before using a pressure washer. Sealing the bricks’ surface prevents water from seeping in and also protects it from moisture and humidity. It also makes it harder for dirt particles to get inside.

Since sealing the bricks prevents water and oil seepage, I recommend sealing the surface after cleaning and the water has fully dried. If you live in a neighborhood rife with traffic pollution, pressure wash your bricks once per year and seal them after every other year.

What Size Pressure Washer Do I Need to Wash My House?

For home use, I recommend a bigger electric pressure washer. The pressure washer should be able to deliver a pressure of around 2,500 to 3,000 psi. This is sufficient to perfectly clean hard surfaces like a concrete driveway. If you do not need to clean such hard surfaces, a smaller electric model will be fine. Electric models require way less maintenance than gas-powered models.

There are two main types of pressure washers, electric and gas-powered models. Electric machines are generally cheaper and start from around $150. They are less powerful than gas models but require way less maintenance. This means that electric models are less suited to clean some tough stains on hard surfaces like concrete. Most electric models can produce pressure from around 1300 to 2000 psi and a water flow of around 1.5 GPM. Recently there are more potent electric models.

Gas-powered models are more capable and come in various sizes. Bigger models can deliver pressure from 3000 to 4000 psi with a 4 GPM water flow. Smaller models can still deliver from 2000 to 3000 psi with almost 3 GPM and roughly cost half of a bigger model. The higher pressure from most gas models makes them well suited for cleaning concrete driveways that are best cleaned with around 3000 psi.

Besides gas and electric models, there are also cold and hot water pressure washers. Using hot water makes cleaning easier and quicker. There are both electric and hot water pressure washers. But they are both much more expensive than cold water machines. Except when you have a particular reason to purchase a hot water pressure washer, it will not make much sense budget-wise.

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