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Pressure Washers – Your Complete Guide

Just about everyone knows what a pressure washer is, and many people will have used one at some point in their lives.

But what if you need to buy a pressure washer, or need to know if you can use it to do the things you want to do with it?

After all, pressure washers can't be used to clean everything, can they…

In this complete guide, we will cover

Of course, we won't forget to answer your most frequently asked questions in our FAQ section. Plus, we will cover the other cleaning tools that you should have in your cleaning arsenal…

How Pressure Washers Work

Pressure washers, also known as power washers, have become increasingly popular in recent years for their ability to blast away dirt and grime with high-pressure water jets, some say that they have revolutionised the way we clean outdoor surfaces. By harnessing the power of high-pressure water, these tools can effectively remove dirt, grime, and even stubborn stains and are used for cleaning various outdoor surfaces such as patios, driveways, and even vehicles. Whether you're a homeowner looking to spruce up your patio or a professional cleaner tackling large-scale projects, understanding how pressure washers work is essential for achieving optimal results. So, if you have ever wondered how these washers work, this comprehensive guide explores their inner workings and key components, together with the science behind their effectiveness. By the end of this guide, you will have a comprehensive understanding of pressure washers and be well-equipped to choose the right one for your needs.

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The Science Behind Pressure Washers

Before we dive into the inner workings of pressure washers, let's first explore the science behind why water is such an effective cleaning agent. Water, in its pure form, is a remarkable solvent due to its unique molecular properties. This is because its molecules possess a slight electrical polarity, with one end being positively charged and the other end negatively charged. This polarity enables water molecules to attract and surround dirt particles, making it easier to remove them from surfaces.

The addition of detergents further enhances the cleaning power of water. Detergents contain soap chemicals that break down grease and grime, allowing water to flush away the loosened particles. However, some stubborn dirt may still resist traditional cleaning methods. This is where pressure washers come into play.

Improving The Cleaning Power Of Water.

Pressure washers utilise the kinetic energy of high-pressure water jets to dislodge and remove dirt. This is achieved by forcing water through a narrow nozzle at high speeds, the water gaining a significant amount of kinetic energy in the process. This energy, similar to a constant rain of tiny hammer blows, hits the dirty surface with tremendous force, effectively dislodging and washing away dirt and dust.

The high-pressure water jet is capable of reaching areas that are difficult to clean using traditional methods. It can penetrate crevices, remove deep-seated stains, and restore the original appearance of many surfaces. Moreover, pressure washers are generally safe to use on hard surfaces, such as concrete or metal, without causing damage.

Hortech Karcher Pressure Washer

The Role of Detergents

While water alone can effectively clean many surfaces, the addition of detergents can significantly enhance the cleaning process. Detergents contain surfactants that reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to spread more evenly and penetrate dirt more effectively. These chemicals break down grease, oil, and other stubborn substances, making them easier to remove.

However, when using a pressure washer, it is vital to choose the appropriate detergent for the surface and type of dirt you are dealing with. Different detergents are formulated to tackle specific types of stains, such as mold and mildew, oil and grease, or general dirt and grime. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using detergents with your pressure washer to ensure optimal results.

The Parts of a Pressure Washer

To understand how pressure washers work, it is essential to familiarise yourself with their key components. While these washers may vary in design and features, they typically consist of the following parts:

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Water Inlet

The water inlet is where you attach a hose, this connecting the pressure washer to the main water supply. It is crucial to have a reliable water source to ensure a steady flow of water to the pressure washer. Additionally, most pressure washers have a filter in the water inlet to prevent dirt and debris from entering and potentially clogging the internal components of the machine.

Electric Motor or Gas/Petrol Engine

Pressure washers can be powered by either an electric motor or a petrol or diesel engine. Smaller, residential models more often than not run on electricity, utilising the domestic power supply. These electric pressure washers are suitable for most household cleaning tasks. On the other hand, larger models, commonly used in commercial settings, are often powered by compact petrol engines, these offering greater flexibility as many outdoor environments do not have easy access to an electricity supply.

Water Pump

The water pump is the heart of a pressure washer. It is responsible for drawing in water from the water inlet and pressurising it to create the high-pressure water jet. Pressure washers have many different types of pumps, such as axial pumps or triplex pumps, depending on their intended use and performance requirements.

High-pressure Hose

The high-pressure hose is a reinforced tube that carries pressurised water from the pump to the cleaning attachment. It is designed to withstand the high-pressure water flow without bursting or leaking. High-pressure hoses are reinforced with wire mesh and multiple layers of high-density plastic to ensure their durability and safety.

Cleaning Attachments

Pressure washers come with various cleaning attachments such as lances that can be connected to the end of the high-pressure hose. These attachments are designed for use in specific cleaning tasks and for certain surfaces. Some common cleaning attachments include trigger guns, spinning wands, rotating brushes, and surface cleaners. The choice of cleaning attachment depends on the type of surface you are cleaning and the level of dirt or grime you need to remove.

By understanding the function of each component, you can better appreciate how these parts work together to create a powerful cleaning tool. In the next section, we will explore the operation of a pressure washer in detail.

How a Pressure Washer Works

Pressure washers operate on a simple yet effective principle: they take in water, increase its pressure using a pump, and expel it through a high-pressure hose and cleaning attachment. But there is more to it than that, so let's delve a little deeper into the operation of a pressure washer, so as to better understand this important area.

Detergent Intake

Before the water enters the hose, some pressure washers allow the addition of specialist detergents to the cleaning water. The detergent is often provided through a separate container, allowing the cleaning solution to mix with the incoming water. However, some models may have an internal detergent tank. Either way, the water and detergent mixture is pressurised and expelled through the high-pressure hose as the washer is used.

Water Flow

As mentioned above, pressure washers need to be connected to a reliable and reasonably high pressured water supply (too low a pressure means that the pressure washer will in effect, run out of water!). The water passes through a filter in the water inlet to remove any debris or impurities that could potentially damage the machine's internal parts.

Power Source

The pressure washer's electric motor or petrol / gas engine is used to power the water pump.

Water Pump Operation

As the motor or engine drives the water pump, it creates a reciprocating motion. This motion causes the pump's piston or impeller to move back and forth, pressurising the water inside the pump chamber. The water pump's design and mechanism vary depending on the specific model and pressure washer type.

High-pressure Jet

Once the pump has pressurised the water, it is expelled through the high-pressure hose and any cleaning attachment being used. The narrow nozzle on the cleaning attachment helps further increase the water jet's pressure. This high-pressure water jet then hits the surface being cleaned with some force, dislodging dirt, grime, and other contaminants.

The continuous flow of high-pressure water, combined with the cleaning action of detergents if used, effectively removes stubborn stains and dirt. The high kinetic energy of the water jet allowing efficient cleaning without causing significant damage to most hard surfaces. A word of warning here, as it is important to know what surfaces you should use a pressure washer to clean and which you definitely should not. Over time, experience will help here, but if in doubt seek advice before using your pressure washer on any surface which could potentially be damaged.

By understanding the basic operation of a pressure washer, you can appreciate the power and effectiveness of these cleaning tools. In the next section, we will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of using pressure washers.

What Can You Use A Pressure Washer For?

Pressure washers are powerful machines that use high-pressure water sprays to remove dirt, grime, and other debris from surfaces. They are available in various sizes and power levels, allowing you to choose the right one for your specific needs. Whether you're a homeowner looking to maintain your property or a professional cleaner, a pressure washer can be an invaluable tool in your arsenal, but you cannot use one to clean everything. So before you clean, check.

Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces

Driveways and Pavements

One of the most common uses for a pressure washer is to clean driveways and paths. Over time, these surfaces can accumulate dirt, oil stains, and moss, making them look dull and unsightly. A pressure washer can quickly and effectively remove these stains, leaving your driveway and pavements looking brand new.

To clean your driveway or walkway, start by sweeping away any loose debris. Then, using a pressure washer with the appropriate nozzle attachment, spray the surface in a sweeping motion, working from one end to the other. Be sure to keep the nozzle at a consistent distance from the surface to avoid causing any damage. For stubborn stains, you may need to use a detergent specifically designed for use with pressure washers.

The Outside Of Your Home

Another area where a pressure washer can make a big difference is cleaning the exterior walls of your home. As with any outdoor surface, dirt, mold, and mildew can accumulate on the walls of your house, giving your home a dirty and possibly unkempt appearance. A pressure washer can easily remove these stains, leaving your home looking fresh and well-maintained.

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Does Your Home Have Wall Cladding?

Before you begin, it's important to check to see if your home uses any type of wall cladding (known as siding in the USA), as different materials may require different cleaning techniques. For example, brick walls can withstand higher water pressure, while vinyl wall cladding may be more delicate and require a lower pressure setting. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations and use the appropriate nozzle attachment for your specific type of cladding material.

Karcher HD 10/21-4 S CLASSIC 3phase Cold Water Pressure Washer

Patios and Decks

If you have a patio or deck, you know how quickly they can become dirty and grimy, especially if they are in a more exposed position. A pressure washer can effectively remove dirt, mold, and algae, restoring your outdoor space to its former glory.

Before you start, remove any furniture or plants from the area and sweep away any loose debris. If your patio or deck has stubborn stains or discolouration, you may need to use a pressure washer detergent to help break up the grime. Once the surface is prepped, use a sweeping motion with the pressure washer, being careful not to linger in one spot for too long to avoid damaging the wood or other materials.

Fences and Gates

Cleaning your fence and gate can greatly enhance the 'curb appeal' of your property. Over time, fences can accumulate dirt, mold, and mildew, making them look dull and unattractive. A pressure washer can quickly and efficiently remove these stains, leaving your fence looking fresh and vibrant.

Before you begin, it's important to consider the type of fence you have. Wood fences normally require a lower pressure setting to avoid damaging the wood, while metal or vinyl fences can withstand higher pressures. Use the appropriate nozzle attachment and keep a consistent distance from the surface to ensure an even clean. Additionally, be mindful of any delicate plants or landscaping near the fence and protect them from the water spray, which is especially important if you are using any detergents.

Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture is often constantly exposed to the elements, leaving them looking dirty and worn. A pressure washer can effectively clean plastic, metal, and wood outdoor furniture, removing dirt, pollen, and stains.

Before you start, be sure to remove any cushions or fabric covers from the furniture. Use a low-pressure setting and a wide spray pattern to clean the surfaces, being careful not to get too close to delicate materials or joints. For stubborn stains or mold, you may need to use a pressure washer detergent or a specialised cleaner. After cleaning, allow the furniture to dry thoroughly before replacing cushions or using them again.

Washing Vehicles

Keeping your car, van, suv or any vehicle clean not only improves its appearance but also helps to protect the paint and finish. A pressure washer can make car washing quick and easy, removing dirt, grime, and road salt from any surface.

Before you start, rinse the vehicle with water to remove any loose debris. Then use your pressure washer with a wide spray pattern and a low-pressure setting to clean the surface, working from top to bottom. Be cautious around delicate areas such as the windows, mirrors, and lights. If necessary, use a pressure washer detergent or a mild car wash soap to help remove stubborn stains or dirt. After washing, rinse the vehicle thoroughly and dry it with a soft cloth or chamois to prevent water spots.

Sometimes Using Foam Cleaning Equipment and Chemicals Is Best

Boats, Motorhomes, Campers and RVs

If you own a boat or RV, you know how important it is to keep them clean and well-maintained. A pressure washer can be a valuable tool for cleaning the exterior surfaces of these larger vehicles, removing dirt, algae, and other debris.

When washing a boat or RV, it's important to use a pressure washer with an appropriate nozzle attachment and a low-pressure setting to avoid causing any damage to the vehicle. Start by rinsing with water to remove any loose debris. Then, using a sweeping motion, wash the surface from top to bottom, being careful not to linger in one spot for too long. If necessary, use a pressure washer detergent or a specialised cleaner to help remove stubborn stains or growths. After washing, rinse the surface thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before storing or using the vehicle.

Bicycles and Motorcycles

Bicycles and motorcycles can quickly accumulate dirt, mud, and road grime, especially after a long ride or if you use them off road. A pressure washer can help you quickly and efficiently clean these vehicles, being especially good at removing dirt and debris from all the nooks and crannies bikes have.

Before you start, remove any loose dirt or debris from the bike or motorcycle. Use a pressure washer with a low-pressure setting and a wide spray pattern to clean the surface, being careful not to get too close to delicate components such as the chain or gears (it being vitally important not to remove the protective grease and lubricants these areas need). If necessary, use a pressure washer detergent or a mild soap to help remove stubborn stains or grease. After washing, rinse your bike thoroughly and dry it with a cloth or allow it to air dry before storing or using it again.

Maintenance and Restoration

Gutters and Downspouts

Maintaining clean and functional gutters is essential for protecting your home from water damage. Over time, gutters can become clogged with leaves, debris, and even bird nests! A pressure washer can be a valuable tool for cleaning out your gutters and downspouts, ensuring that water can flow freely and away from your home and into the drains or water butts.

Before you start, make sure you have a steady and secure ladder or another platform to reach the gutters (or use a special extended pole like the ones supplied by Vikan). Use a pressure washer with an appropriate nozzle attachment and a low-pressure setting to clean out the debris. Start at one end of the gutter and work your way towards the downspout, using a sweeping motion to remove any clogs or blockages. Be cautious not to spray directly at the downspout, as this can cause it to become dislodged or damaged.


Maintaining the cleanliness and integrity of your roof is crucial for the overall health and appearance of your home. A pressure washer can be a useful tool for removing dirt, moss, and algae, improving the longevity of the roof as well as its 'curb appeal'.

Before you start, it's important to consider the type of roofing material you have. Some materials, such as asphalt shingle, may require a lower pressure setting to prevent damage. Use a pressure washer with the appropriate nozzle attachment and a low-pressure setting to clean the surface, working from top to bottom. Be cautious not to linger in one spot for too long to avoid causing any damage. If necessary, use a pressure washer detergent or a specialised roof cleaner to help remove stubborn stains.


Cleaning windows can be tedious, but a pressure washer can make it much easier and more efficient. With the right nozzle attachment and a low-pressure setting, you can quickly remove dirt, dust, and grime from your windows and screens, allowing more natural light to enter your home, whilst also improving the appearance of your dwelling or commercial premises.

Before you start, remove any loose debris from the windows. Then use a pressure washer with a wide spray pattern and a low-pressure setting, working from top to bottom. Be cautious not to get too close to the glass to avoid causing any damage and do make sure all the windows are shut tight before commencing work! After washing, rinse the surfaces thoroughly with clean water to remove any detergent or residue.

By the way, you may find it easier to use a Karcher Window Vac to clean your windows?

Outdoor Equipment and Tools

Outdoor equipment and tools, such as lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and gardening tools, can become dirty and caked with mud and debris over time. A pressure washer can help you quickly and efficiently clean these items, improving their performance and longevity.

Before you start, remove any loose dirt or debris from the equipment or tools. Then use a pressure washer with an appropriate nozzle attachment and a low-pressure setting to clean the items, working from top to bottom. Be cautious not to get too close to delicate components or electrical connections. After washing, allow them to dry before storing or using the equipment or tools again.

Pool and Patio Maintenance

If you have a pool or a patio area, you know how important it is to keep them clean and well-maintained. A pressure washer can help you remove dirt, algae, and other debris, ensuring a safe and enjoyable outdoor space.

Before you start, remove any loose debris from the pool or patio area. Then set your pressure washer to a low pressure setting and fit an appropriate nozzle attachment, working from top to bottom. Be cautious not to get too close to any delicate components and nearby plants. If necessary, use a pressure washer detergent or a specialised cleaner to help remove stubborn stains or algae (but again be aware of the plants in the area).

How to Select the Best Pressure Washer for Domestic Use

When it comes to tackling outdoor cleaning projects, a pressure washer is an essential tool. Whether you want to clean your deck, spruce up your garden furniture, or remove grime from your car, a pressure washer can make the job faster and easier. However, with so many options available on the market, choosing the right pressure washer for use around the home can be overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to select the perfect pressure washer for your needs.

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Understanding the Basics: PSI, GPM, and Cleaning Units

Before diving into the different types of pressure washers, it's important to understand some key terms and concepts. When comparing models, three main factors come into play: PSI (pounds per square inch), GPM (gallons per minute), and cleaning units.

  • PSI (Pounds per Square Inch): PSI measures the water pressure produced by the pressure washer. The higher the PSI, the more force the water will have, making it easier to remove tough stains and debris.
  • GPM (Gallons per Minute): GPM refers to the water flow rate of the washer. A higher GPM means the pressure washer can clean a larger area in less time.
  • Cleaning Units (CU): The cleaning units of a pressure washer are calculated by multiplying the PSI by the GPM. This measurement gives you a better understanding of the overall cleaning power of the pressure washer.

Electric vs. Petrol-Powered Pressure Washers

When it comes to power sources, pressure washers are generally divided into two categories: electric and petrol / gas-powered. Each type has its own advantages and considerations, so let's take a closer look at both.

Electric Pressure Washers

Electric pressure washers, as the name suggests, are powered by mains electricity and are typically more affordable and quieter than petrol-powered models. This makes them a popular choice for homeowners who need a pressure washer for occasional use and smaller cleaning tasks.

Hortech Karcher Pressure Washers for domestic use

Advantages of Electric Pressure Washers:

  • Minimal Maintenance: Electric pressure washers require less maintenance compared to petrol-powered models. There is also no need to worry about fuel or oil changes.
  • Lower Cost: Electric pressure washers are generally more affordable than petrol-powered ones, making them a budget-friendly option.
  • Lightweight and Portable: Electric pressure washers are lighter and easier to manoeuvre, making them ideal for smaller cleaning projects.

Considerations for Electric Pressure Washers:

  • Power Cord Length: These pressure washers are limited by the length of the power cord. If you have a large outdoor area, you may need to use extension cords or consider a petrol-powered model.
  • Limited Power: Electric pressure washers are typically less powerful than petrol-powered units. This means that they may not be suitable for heavy-duty cleaning tasks.
  • Dependence on Electricity: Electric pressure washers require access to electricity, which limits the places they can be used.

Petrol-Powered Pressure Washers

These pressure washers are known for their power and versatility. They are usually more powerful than electric models, which makes them more suitable for heavy-duty cleaning tasks. These pressure washers are commonly used by professionals and for cleaning larger outdoor areas.

Advantages of Petrol-Powered Pressure Washers:

  • High Power and Performance: These pressure washers offer higher PSI and GPM ratings, making them ideal for tackling those tough cleaning jobs.
  • Portability and Range: Since they don't rely on electricity, these pressure washers can be used in remote areas.
  • Durable and Long-Lasting: Petrol-powered pressure washers are usually built to a higher standard and are designed with durability in mind, which allows them to withstand more frequent use.

Considerations for Petrol-Powered Pressure Washers:

  • Higher Maintenance: These pressure washers require regular maintenance, including oil changes and fuel refills.
  • Noise and Emissions: These models are noisier and produce exhaust emissions, so they may not be suitable for all environments.
  • Heavier and Bulkier: Petrol-powered pressure washers are heavier and bulkier than electric ones, making them less suitable for small or tight spaces.

Choosing the Right Pressure Washer for Your Needs

Now that you understand the basics of pressure washers and the differences between electric and petrol-powered models, it's time to choose the right pressure washer for your specific needs. Here are some factors to consider:

What Sort of Cleaning Tasks Are You Going To Be Undertaking?

Start by identifying the main cleaning tasks you will be using the pressure washer for. Are you looking to clean your deck, patio, or driveway? Do you need to wash your car or remove grime from your outdoor furniture? Different cleaning tasks may require different levels of power and specific attachments.

How Powerful Does Your Pressure Washer Have To Be?

Consider the power requirements for your cleaning tasks. If you have stubborn stains or heavy dirt buildup, you may need a pressure washer with higher PSI and GPM ratings. On the other hand, if you are primarily dealing with lighter cleaning tasks, a lower-powered pressure washer may be sufficient.

How Often Will You Be Using Your Washer?

Think about how often you will be using the washer. If you plan to use it frequently or for extended periods of time, a petrol-powered model may be more suitable due to its durability and higher power output. However, if you only need a pressure washer for occasional use, an electric model may be a more cost-effective option.

Level of Portability

Consider the portability of the pressure washer. If you need to move it around frequently or take it to different locations, a lighter and more compact model would be preferable. Electric pressure washers are generally more lighter and portable than petrol-powered variants.

How Much Do You Want to Pay?

Set a budget for your pressure washer purchase. Determine how much you are willing to spend and look for models that offer the best value for your money. Remember to consider long-term costs such as maintenance and fuel expenses if you decide on a petrol powered model.

Do You Need Any Additional Features Or Accessories

Take note of any additional features and accessories that may be beneficial for your specific cleaning tasks. Some pressure washers come with adjustable nozzles, detergent tanks, or specialised attachments for different surfaces. Consider if these features and accessories would enhance your cleaning experience, and if so, be sure to choose a model that has them, or for which they are available to buy later on.

Warranty and Customer Support

Check the warranty and customer support offered by the manufacturer. A reliable warranty and responsive customer support can provide peace of mind and assistance in case of any issues or concerns with your pressure washer.


Choosing the perfect pressure washer requires careful consideration of your specific needs and cleaning tasks. By understanding the key factors such as PSI, GPM, power source, and additional features, you can make an informed decision and find a pressure washer that meets your expectations. Whether you opt for an electric or petrol-powered model, remember to prioritise durability, power, and portability based on your requirements. With the right pressure washer in hand, you'll be ready to tackle any domestic cleaning project with ease.

What Pressure Washers are Best for Commercial and Industrial Use

In today's fast-paced business world, having the right tools for the job is becoming even more important. Whether you just need to maintain the cleanliness of your own premises, or offer a professional cleaning services, one of the most effective tools, indeed a 'must have' is the industrial pressure washer. These powerful machines use high-pressure water jets to remove dirt, grime, and tough stains from various surfaces. Whether you are cleaning pathways, car parks, industrial kitchens, or even removing graffiti, a powerful commercial pressure washer can save you time and effort.

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But with so many options available on the market, how do you choose the right commercial pressure washer for your business? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key factors to consider when selecting a jet washer, including the application, work environment, cleaning chemicals, and special accessories. By the end of this section, you will have the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision and find the perfect pressure washer for your business needs.

The Benefits of Using a Commercial Pressure Washer

Before we delve into the details of choosing a pressure washer, let's first understand why investing in one is beneficial for your business. Here are some key advantages of using a commercial pressure washer:

  1. Time and Labour Savings: Pressure washers are incredibly efficient, allowing you to clean large areas in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional cleaning methods. This translates to increased productivity and cost savings on labour.
  2. Versatile Cleaning Power: Pressure washers are highly effective at removing dirt, grease, grime, and even tough stains from a wide range of surfaces. From floors and walls to vehicles and machinery, a pressure washer can tackle almost any cleaning task.
  3. Improved Safety and Hygiene: Regular cleaning with a pressure washer helps maintain a safe and healthy work environment by removing potential hazards, such as slippery surfaces and mold buildup.
Karcher HDS E8/16-4M 36Kw Electrically Heated Hot Water Pressure Washer

Now that we understand the benefits of using a commercial pressure washer, let's dive into the key considerations when choosing the right machine for your business.

Focus on the Application

The first step in selecting a commercial pressure washer is to determine the specific needs and applications for which you will be using the machine. Consider the following questions:

  • What types of surfaces will you be cleaning? Is it concrete, metal, or delicate materials?
  • Are you primarily cleaning indoor or outdoor areas?
  • Will you be cleaning large, open spaces or tight corners and crevices?
  • Do you need to remove tough stains, grease, or graffiti?

By identifying the specific requirements of your cleaning tasks, you can narrow down your options and choose a pressure washer that is best suited for the job.

Consider the Work Environment

The work environment plays a crucial role in determining the type of pressure washer that will work best for your business. Consider the following factors:

  • Portability: Will you need to move the pressure washer around frequently? If so, you may want to consider a lightweight and portable model that is easy to manoeuvre.
  • Power Source: Pressure washers can be powered by electricity, petrol and in some cases diesel. Electric models are typically more suitable for indoor use, while petrol or diesel models offer greater power and flexibility for outdoor applications.
  • Noise Level: If you are operating in a noise-sensitive environment, such as a residential area or a shared workspace, you may want to choose a pressure washer with a lower noise level to minimise disruptions.

By considering these factors, you can ensure that the pressure washer you choose is compatible with your work environment and meets your specific needs.

What Cleaning Chemicals Will You Be Using?

In some cases, using cleaning chemicals in conjunction with a pressure washer can enhance cleaning performance and make the process more efficient. Consider the following:

  • Chemical Compatibility: Check whether the pressure washer you are considering is compatible with the cleaning chemicals you will be using. Also do you want a washer with a built-in detergent tank or are you happy to use an attachment for chemical injection.
  • Environmental Impact: If you are concerned about the environmental impact of cleaning chemicals, look for biodegradable or eco-friendly options that are safe for both your employees and the environment.
  • Application-Specific Chemicals: Depending on the surfaces you are cleaning, you may need specialised chemicals for effective results. For example, there are specific detergents for removing grease, graffiti, or mold.

Integrating cleaning chemicals with your pressure washer can help you achieve superior cleaning results, but it's important to choose the right chemicals and use them responsibly.

Special Accessories

To enhance the versatility and functionality of your pressure washer, consider the availability of those special accessories. These accessories can expand the range of cleaning tasks you can perform. Here are a few examples:

  • Surface Cleaners: These attachments are designed to clean large, flat surfaces such as driveways, pavements, or car parks more efficiently and evenly.
  • Rotating Nozzles: These nozzles create a spinning water jet that provides a more powerful and concentrated cleaning action, making them ideal for removing tough stains or graffiti.
  • Extension Wands: If you need to clean high or hard-to-reach areas, extension wands can provide the necessary reach and flexibility.
  • Foam Cannons: Foam cannons generate a thick foam that clings to surfaces, allowing for better penetration and cleaning when dealing with stubborn dirt or grime.

By investing in the right accessories, you can maximise the capabilities of your pressure washer and tackle a wider range of cleaning tasks.

Pressure and Flow Rate

When selecting a pressure washer, two crucial specifications to consider are the pressure and flow rate. These factors determine the cleaning power and efficiency of the machine. Here's what you need to know:

  • Pressure: Pressure is measured in bars and indicates the force with which water is delivered from the pressure washer. Higher pressure allows for more effective cleaning of tough stains and dirt. Light usage typically requires around 100 BAR, while heavy usage may require 130+ BAR.
  • Flow Rate: Flow rate, measured in litres per hour (LPH), refers to the volume of water delivered by the pressure washer. A higher flow rate means more water is delivered, resulting in faster cleaning. Consider the size of the areas you will be cleaning and choose a flow rate that matches your requirements.

Finding the right balance between pressure and flow rate is crucial to achieving optimal cleaning results while minimising water consumption.

Hose Length and Mobility

The length of the hose is an important consideration, especially if you need to cover large areas or work in tight spaces. A longer hose allows for greater mobility and flexibility. Consider the following:

  • Hose Length: Most pressure washers come with a standard hose length of around 4 meters. However, if you need to clean large areas without moving the pressure washer, you may want to consider models with longer hoses or which have the ability to connect extension hoses.
  • Mobility: If you require a highly mobile pressure washer, look for models with wheels or lightweight designs that make transportation easy. This is particularly important if you need to move the machine up and down stairs or across uneven surfaces.

Considering the hose length and mobility of the pressure washer will ensure that you can clean efficiently without any restrictions.

Hot vs. Cold Water Pressure Washers

Pressure washers can be categorised into two types based on the temperature of the water they use: hot and cold water pressure washers. Each type has its own advantages and applications. Consider the following:

  • Hot Water Pressure Washers: Hot water pressure washers are highly effective at removing grease, oil, and other tough stains. The heat helps break down the bonds between the dirt and the surface, resulting in more efficient cleaning. They are commonly used in industries such as automotive, manufacturing, and food service.
  • Cold Water Pressure Washers: Cold water pressure washers are suitable for general cleaning tasks such as removing dirt, dust, and light stains. They are more portable, easier to maintain, and generally less expensive than hot water pressure washers. Cold water pressure washers are commonly used in residential, small business, and maintenance applications.

Consider the specific cleaning requirements of your business to determine whether a hot or cold water pressure washer is more suitable for your needs.

Maintenance and Longevity


Like any other equipment, pressure washers require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Consider the following factors related to maintenance:

  • Ease of Maintenance: Look for pressure washers that are easy to clean, inspect, and maintain. Removable parts and accessible components make maintenance tasks more convenient.
  • Service and Support: Research the reputation of the manufacturer and the availability of service centres or support for the pressure washer. Having access to reliable service and support can help address any issues that may arise.
  • Durability and Build Quality: Consider the construction and materials used in the pressure washer. Look for models with sturdy frames, corrosion-resistant components, and reliable motors or engines that can withstand frequent use and harsh environments.

Choosing a pressure washer with good maintenance and durability features will ensure that you get the most value out of your investment.

Safety Considerations

When using a commercial pressure washer, safety should always be a top priority. Consider the following safety features and considerations:

  • Pressure Regulation: Look for pressure washers that offer adjustable pressure settings, allowing you to control the force of the water jet based on the surface you are cleaning. This helps prevent damage to delicate materials or surfaces.
  • Safety Locks and Triggers: Pressure washers with safety locks or triggers require deliberate action to activate the water jet, reducing the risk of accidental spraying.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Ensure that your employees are equipped with the necessary PPE, such as safety goggles, gloves, and protective clothing, when operating a pressure washer.

By prioritising safety and providing the necessary training and equipment, you can create a safe working environment for your employees.

Budget Considerations

Lastly, consider your budget when choosing a commercial pressure washer. While it's important to invest in a quality machine that meets your needs, it's equally important to find a balance between features and cost. Consider the following:

  • Initial Cost: Compare prices and features of different pressure washers to find the best value for your budget. Keep in mind that higher-quality models may have a higher upfront cost but can offer better performance and durability in the long run.
  • Operating Costs: Consider the cost of consumables such as cleaning chemicals, fuel (for gas-powered washers), and electricity (for electric models). Additionally, factor in any ongoing maintenance or service costs.

Should You Buy Lease or Hire Your Pressure Washer?

There is also the decision about whether it is best to buy, lease or rent?. More often than not, buying a new machine is the most cost-effective option, but if you will only be using the unit for a limited time, then leasing is going to be your best option, and where the length of time is very short indeed, renting one is going to be the best.

Check Out Our Leasing and Finance Options

Whichever method you choose, make sure you carefully investigate all the options before deciding.

By setting a budget and considering the long-term costs associated with owning a pressure washer, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial resources.


In conclusion, choosing the right commercial pressure washer for your business requires careful consideration of various factors, including the application, work environment, cleaning chemicals, speciality accessories, pressure and flow rate, hose length and mobility, hot vs. cold water, maintenance and longevity, safety considerations, and budget. By taking these factors into account and conducting thorough research, you can select a pressure washer that meets your specific needs, enhances productivity, and maintains a clean and safe work environment. Remember to prioritise safety, invest in quality, and regularly maintain your pressure washer to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

With the right pressure washer by your side, you can achieve efficient and effective cleaning results for your business.

How To Maintain Your Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are powerful tools that make cleaning tasks much easier and more efficient. Whether you're using it for outdoor cleaning, car washing, or other applications, it's important to properly maintain your pressure washer to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. In this section, we'll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to maintain your pressure washer, covering everything from pre-use checks to post-use care.

By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the lifespan of your pressure washer and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

And if you have a problem we offer an onsite breakdown service

Pre-Use Checks

Before you start using your pressure washer, it's crucial to perform a few pre-use checks to ensure that everything is in working order. These checks will help you identify any potential issues that may affect the performance of your washer, whilst ensuring the safety of the operator.

Here are some important steps to follow:

1. Inspect the High-Pressure Hose O-Rings

The O-rings on the ends of the high-pressure hose play a critical role in preventing leaks and ensuring a tight seal. Before each use, inspect the O-rings for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any damage or deterioration, replace the O-rings before using your pressure washer to avoid leaks and potential injuries.

2. Verify the Nozzle Lock

Check the nozzle at the end of your wand to ensure that it is securely locked in place. A loose or improperly locked nozzle can cause pressure loss and affect the efficiency of your pressure washer. Make sure the nozzle is tightly fitted and properly aligned before you start using the machine.

3. Prevent Nozzle Clogging

Ensure that the nozzle is not clogged with debris, dirt, or any other foreign objects. A clogged nozzle can disrupt the water flow and reduce the cleaning power of your pressure washer. Regularly check and clean the nozzle to ensure proper functioning.

4. Check Fuel and Oil Levels (for Gas Pressure Washers)

If you're using a petrol or diesel pressure washer, it's essential to check the fuel and oil levels before starting the machine. Make sure you have fresh fuel and oil in the tank, as using old fuel can affect the performance of the engine. If necessary, add a fuel stabiliser to prevent fuel degradation.

5. For Fuel Powered Models - Inspect the Spark Plug

Corroded or fouled spark plugs can cause starting issues and reduce the efficiency of your pressure washer. Before each use, inspect the spark plug for any signs of corrosion. If you notice corrosion, clean or replace the spark plug to ensure smooth engine operation.

6. Keep the Spray Nozzle Open

While operating the pressure washer, make sure to keep the spray nozzle open at all times. Running the unit with the nozzle closed can cause pressure buildup, leading to potential damage to the hose or other components.

7. Ensure Proper Water Supply

Hortech Karcher Pressure Washers for commercial and industrial use

Before starting your pressure washer, ensure that you have an adequate water supply. Insufficient water flow can cause the pressure to increase beyond safe levels. Always connect your pressure washer to a water source with sufficient flow and pressure.

Post-Use Care and Maintenance

Proper post-use care and maintenance are just as important as pre-use checks. These steps will help keep your pressure washer in good condition and prevent any issues that may arise from prolonged use. Here's what you should do after each use:

1. Power Off and Unplug the Unit

Once you're done using your pressure washer, switch off the power and unplug the unit from the electrical outlet. This step is crucial for safety and to prevent any accidental starts or damage to the machine.

2. Clean the Chemical/Detergent Intake

If your pressure washer has a chemical or detergent intake, clean it thoroughly with water after each use. Remove any residue or buildup to prevent clogging and ensure proper functioning. Make sure the water running out of the intake is clear before storing the pressure washer.

3. Rinse the Interior of the Pressure Washer

To prevent any residue buildup or erratic behaviour, rinse the interior of your pressure washer after each use. This will remove any dirt, grime, or detergent that may have accumulated during operation. Use clean water to thoroughly rinse the pump and other components.

4. Drain Excess Water

Before storing your pressure washer, make sure to drain all excess water from the system as water left inside the machine can attract insects, promote mold growth, and lead to bacterial contamination. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to properly drain the water from your pressure washer.

5. Store in a Safe Location

Choose a well-ventilated and dry location to store your pressure washer. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, rain, or snow. Make sure the storage area is secure and inaccessible to children or pets.

Additional Tips and Recommendations

Here are some additional tips and recommendations to help you maintain your pressure washer effectively:

  • Regular Maintenance Schedule: Create a regular maintenance schedule to ensure you don't miss any essential maintenance tasks. This can include monthly, quarterly, or yearly inspections and cleanings.
  • Use Recommended Cleaning Solutions: Always use cleaning solutions that are recommended by the pressure washer manufacturer. Using improper detergents or chemicals can damage the pump or other components.
  • Inspect and Replace Worn Parts: Regularly inspect all parts of your pressure washer for wear and tear. Replace any damaged or worn-out parts promptly to maintain optimal performance.
  • Follow Manufacturer's Guidelines: Read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines and instructions for your specific pressure washer model. This will ensure that you're using and maintaining the machine correctly.
  • Seek Professional Help When Needed: If you encounter any complex issues or are unsure about a specific maintenance task, it's best to seek professional help. Contact a qualified technician or the manufacturer for assistance.

By following these maintenance tips and taking care of your pressure washer, you can enjoy its powerful cleaning capabilities for many years. Remember, proper maintenance not only prolongs the lifespan of your machine but also ensures safe and efficient operation.


Maintaining your pressure washer is essential to keep it running smoothly and ensure its longevity. By following the pre-use checks and post-use care outlined in this article, you can prevent potential issues, maximise performance, and extend the lifespan of your pressure washer. Remember to always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for specific maintenance instructions and recommendations. With proper care and regular maintenance, your pressure washer will continue to be a reliable and effective tool for all your cleaning needs.

Safety Precautions and Tips

Protective Gear

When using a pressure washer, it's important to prioritise safety and protect yourself from potential hazards. Always wear appropriate protective gear, including safety goggles or glasses, gloves, and non-slip footwear. The high-pressure water spray can cause injury, so it's important to take precautions and avoid spraying directly at people or animals.

Choosing the Right Pressure Washer

Need Some Help In Choosing The Right Pressure Washer? Contact Us - we will pick the very best model to suit your needs

Before purchasing or using a pressure washer, consider your specific needs and the tasks you will be performing. These washers come in a range of sizes and power levels, so it's important to choose one that is appropriate for your intended use. Consider factors such as water pressure (measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI) and water flow (measured in gallons per minute, or GPM) to ensure that you have enough power to effectively clean the surfaces you will be working on.

Proper Techniques

When using a pressure washer, it's important to use proper techniques to avoid causing damage or injury. Start by familiarising yourself with the instruction manual and manufacturer's recommendations for your specific pressure washer model. Use the appropriate nozzle attachment and adjust the pressure settings as needed for the surface you are cleaning. Avoid spraying directly at delicate materials or components, and keep a consistent distance from the surface to ensure an even clean.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your pressure washer in optimal condition and ensure safe operation, regular maintenance is essential. Here are some maintenance and safety tips to consider:

Cleaning and Storage

  1. Flushing After Use: After each use, flush out any remaining detergent and water from the pressure washer. This prevents buildup and potential clogging in the pump and hoses.
  2. Cleaning Attachments: Clean the attachments thoroughly after use, removing any dirt or debris that may have accumulated during cleaning.
  3. Inspecting Hoses and Connections: Regularly check the hoses and connections for any signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Replace any damaged components immediately to prevent accidents or loss of pressure.
  4. Proper Storage: Store the pressure washer in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures. Ensure that all hoses and attachments are properly coiled and secured to prevent damage.
Hortech Karcher Pressure Washers for commercial and industrial use

Safety Precautions

  1. Protective Gear: Wear appropriate protective gear, including safety goggles, gloves, and non-slip footwear, when operating the pressure washer.
  2. Electrical Safety: If using an electric pressure washer, ensure that it is connected to a properly grounded electrical outlet. Use ground-fault circuit breakers (RCDs) to protect against electrical hazards.
  3. Avoiding Electrical Hazards: Keep electrical cords and connections away from water sources to minimise the risk of electrical shocks.
  4. Proper Ventilation: When using an internal combustion engine powered pressure washer, ensure proper ventilation in the area to prevent the buildup of exhaust fumes.
  5. Safe Operating Distance: Keep a safe distance from the surface being cleaned to prevent injury from the high-pressure water jet. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the appropriate distance.

By following these maintenance and safety tips, you can extend the lifespan of your pressure washer and ensure a safe cleaning experience.

In the next section, we will address some frequently asked questions about pressure washers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I use a pressure washer?

The frequency of pressure washer use depends on your cleaning needs. For routine cleaning tasks, such as maintaining a clean patio or driveway, using a pressure washer once or twice a year may be sufficient. However, for heavily soiled surfaces or larger cleaning projects, more frequent use may be necessary.

Can I use hot water in a pressure washer?

Some pressure washers are designed to accommodate hot water, while others are limited to cold water use only. Using hot water can enhance the cleaning power of the pressure washer, especially when dealing with grease or oil stains. However, always check the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure that your pressure washer is compatible with hot water.

Are pressure washers safe for all surfaces?

While pressure washers are generally safe for most hard surfaces, caution should be exercised when cleaning delicate or easily damaged materials. Avoid using high-pressure settings or narrow nozzles on surfaces such as wood, painted surfaces, or fragile objects. Always test the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area before cleaning the entire surface.

Can I use a pressure washer indoors?

Pressure washers should not be used indoors unless they are specifically designed for indoor use. The forceful water jet and potential splatter can cause water damage and create a hazardous environment. Outdoor use is recommended due to the availability of proper drainage and ventilation.

How do I choose the right cleaning attachment?

The choice of cleaning attachment depends on the surface and level of dirt you are dealing with. For general cleaning, a trigger gun with an adjustable nozzle may be sufficient. Spinning wands or rotating brushes are suitable for larger areas or stubborn stains. Consult the manufacturer's recommendations and consider the specific cleaning needs of your project when choosing the right attachment.

What are the Advantages of using a pressure washer?

  1. Efficient Cleaning: Pressure washers provide a more efficient and effective cleaning method compared to traditional scrubbing and washing. The high-pressure water jet can quickly and thoroughly remove dirt, grime, and stains from surfaces.
  2. Time-saving: With a pressure washer, you can complete cleaning tasks in significantly less time compared to manual methods. The force of the water jet allows for rapid cleaning, reducing the need for prolonged scrubbing or rinsing.
  3. Versatility: Pressure washers are versatile tools that can clean a wide range of surfaces, including patios, driveways, decks, vehicles, and outdoor furniture. Different cleaning attachments and nozzles allow for customised cleaning based on the surface and level of dirt.
  4. Water Conservation: Pressure washers are designed to be more water-efficient than conventional cleaning methods. The high-pressure water jet minimises water wastage by delivering targeted cleaning power, requiring less water overall.
  5. Ease of Use: Pressure washers are relatively easy to operate, even for individuals with limited cleaning experience. They typically feature user-friendly controls and adjustable settings, allowing for customisation based on the cleaning task at hand.

What are the Drawbacks of using a pressure washer?

  1. Water Usage and Drainage: Pressure washers consume a significant amount of water, ranging from 4 to 8 liters (1 to 2 gallons) per minute. It is essential to have adequate drainage in the cleaning area to prevent flooding or water accumulation.
  2. Noise Levels: Pressure washers can be quite noisy during operation, with sound levels typically ranging from 75 to 90 decibels (dBA). If noise is a concern, consider choosing models with lower dBA ratings or using noise-reducing accessories.
  3. Mess and Splatter: The force of the high-pressure water jet can cause water and debris to splatter, potentially making the surrounding area messy. Careful planning and proper positioning can minimise the mess and prevent unnecessary clean-up afterward.
  4. Safety Precautions: Pressure washers involve the use of electricity and water, which can be hazardous if not used properly. It is important to follow safety guidelines, such as wearing protective gear, using ground-fault circuit breakers, and avoiding electrical hazards.
  5. Surface Compatibility: While pressure washers are generally safe for most hard surfaces, they may not be suitable for delicate or easily damaged materials. It is essential to test the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area before cleaning the entire surface.

Hopefully this guide will have helped you to understand what type of Pressure Washer is best for your individual circumstances, but if you are still confused, do remember that our team of specialists is ready and waiting to help.

What Other Cleaning Equipment Should You Have in your cleaning arsenal?

Besides Pressure Washers, there is a host of other machines to help you deal with any cleaning tasks.

There are Vacuum cleaners, floor scrubbers and sweepers, steam cleaners for floors and carpets, together with a host of window cleaning tools.

Advice on Choosing a Commercial Vacuum Cleaner

For most businesses, the primary tool is the vacuum. One thing you may notice is that commercial machines normally don't have the flashy features found on most modern domestic machines. For instance, you will more often than not, not see adaptive suction, LCD screens, or anti-hair wrap technology on these machines.

Instead, the best commercial vacuums are built to be durable, powerful, and have a large dust collection capacity. Putting it simply they are designed to be used on large areas of floor while being easy to use are ergonomic and are capable of being used day after day without breaking down because of overuse.

In some cases an industrial sweeper is better than a vacuum cleaner

Choosing a machine for warehouse floor car

Selecting a vacuum cleaner or sweeper for specialist use, like caring for the floor in a warehouse or logistics centre requires a bit extra thought. And you have to bear in mind what you are trying to achieve, i.e. improved safety and well-being for the workers and improved operational efficiency. After all, you simply cannot clean a large area with brooms, mops and buckets of water today. It simply takes too long.

This is why cleaning professionals look for simple to use, reliable compact machines, their small size allowing them to be used between in narrow aisles and among carts and pallet trucks.

See the VIPER Floor Scrubber Range

Then again, maybe you need a Cylindrical Brush Scrubber or a Disc Scrubber?

How about Steam Cleaners?

A steam floor cleaner is a versatile cleaning appliance that uses the power of steam to deep clean and sanitise various types of flooring. Unlike traditional mops, which may spread dirt and bacteria around, steam floor cleaners effectively lift and remove dirt, grime, and germs without the need for harsh chemicals. The high temperature of the steam not only cleans the surface but also kills bacteria and allergens, making it an excellent choice for households with pets or allergy sufferers.

And of course Carpet Cleaners

Some of the best models are:

Finally, we have to consider the best window cleaning equipment on the market today

When you think about it, cleaning windows may look like a simple task, but achieving a good streak-free finish in a short period of time can be a challenge. Whether you're dealing with dust, grime, or stubborn streaks, it's important to have the right tools and techniques.

Here's some models that may well fit the bill?

As you can see, at Hortech, we can provide cleaning equipment for just about any task. However, as will probably have already realised, there are an amazing number of models and manufacturers, so it can be very hard to work out which will best meet all your needs. Then there is the issue of whether you should buy, rent or lease.

For more informations call us on : 01406 426513

or write to: paul.seaman@hortechsystems.co.uk