Pressure Washing Adventures

I've had a few power washers over the years, one to wash the car and some very basic to cleaning since I lived at the condo.  The model I had was electric powered in an attempt to keep things low maintenance and last a few seasons before inevitably some aspect broke and it became trash.  But at around $100-$150 no big surprise!

I decided to step up my game with the addition of a Costco membership and new house. Our new house has a side that doesn't get much sun light.  Because of that it gets some seasonal mold that needed some attention before the neighbors kicked us out.

Below is the list of pressure washers and accessories I recommend and have personally used.  Both will work fine based on your budget, the higher end system just tends to perform a lot faster.  I also will highlight some before and after examples this summer from my pressure washer.

  • Electric Pressure Washer – Recommended for cheap folks / infrequent usage
    • Must Have – Surface Cleaner
    • Must Have – Pump Saver
      • My first pressure washers failed because I didn't use a pump saver product to maintain the interior pump.  Lessons learned!
  • Gas Pressure Washer – Recommended for people who give a damn. I got my model for $240 at Costco (On Sale).  I used the electric one for a couple years before upgrading.  Wish I had done it earlier!  The gas model leveages a 15" surface cleaner vs the electric which is only 10".  That alone makes cleaning a driveway 2x or 3x faster, not simply because of the size, but the gas power washer is also 1000+PSI stronger, which means less time on any spot to get it clean.
    • Must Have – Surface Cleaner, amazing for drive ways and patios.
    • Must Have – Pump Saver, use a little after every power washing occasion.
  • Additional Cleaners I've used and recommend:
    • Wet and Forget – I use it after a power cleaning to maintain.
    • JoMax – Pre-Treat or Destroy mold on siding

It also had pretty beat up sidewalk that was about 5 years past due for cleaning. (Below)

Left side = Recently Power Washed   / Right side = Neighbors 😉

Below are a few more examples of a surface cleaner. I cant imagine doing any large surfaces without it. It really shines in applications like driveways, side walk, decks and patios, its very much like using a vacuum (forward /backward motions).  Just be careful if you have any painted surfaces or soft wood.

Video is a video I had handy, I was getting rid of some mold and black mildew on our  patio.  I don't recommend power washing over grout lines often because you may damage the grout. I was only spot cleaning a few high traffic areas.

 

Below is my mobile setup that I use when I'm helping some friends out.

  • 17 Ft Ladder
  • Pressure Washer
  • Sprayer (2 gallon)
  • Mold Spray Concentrate, Mildew Spray Concentrate, couple different options depending on what surfaces I am cleaning.

If your my friend, I'm for hire! 🙂  Always looking to recoup a few bucks so that I can buy more tools!

 

Couple other suggestions and products I've had good experience with are below.

Below is JoMax, this gem is something I've found recently to help address mold on siding of a house.  In some cases there are places I simply can not reach with my ladder (physically).  In situations like that I'll use JoMax to pre-treat the area and then spray it with water (pressure washer or hose) and it will get rid of 90% or more.  So for folks that have excessive mold on the house, and no pressure washer handy this may be your golden ticket.  Otherwise the pressure washer with water only, no chemicals is just as effective.  JoMax is nice because it requires very little additives (Bleach/water) and treats a large space with a small concentrated bottle.  So its a pretty good bang for the buck and I've never had grass or plant/shrub damage which is a big issue when cleaning siding since landscaping is normally right next to the house.  Follow the directions!

Below is a picture of some siding sprayed with JoMax, this is moments after the initial spray and you can see immediate loosening and removing the mold.

Below is the classic "After" shot of the siding after being power washed.  This is not even a bad example but power washer alone can get these kinds of results.  Most of the time I'm just using water on both concrete surfaces and vinyl siding.  Occasionally I'll treat it with a product afterwards (in the 1:20 ratio compartment within the pressure washer) to help maintain mold free / clean appearance for the rest of the year.  Wet and Forget is another example of a product I use for that purpose.  Also sold at Costco and doesn't need a power washer to be effective.

One more example at my condo, these sidewalks haven't seen love for years but its night and day better after a quick hit with the power washer.  Works great for inside garages as well, just make sure you have a squeegee handy to get rid of excess water since garages tend to be pretty flat.

DIY for life,

Justin

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