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How To Pressure Wash A House To Clean Siding and Gutters

How To Pressure Wash a House To Clean Siding Intro ImageToday you’re going to learn how to pressure wash your house to clean the siding and gutters.

First, we will look at the pressure washing tools and materials required.

Second, we’ll talk about how to prepare for the job so that you don’t get injured and your house doesn’t get damaged.

And finally there is a step by step 4 minute 52 second video to watch and learn exactly how to pressure wash a house to clean the siding.

Let’s dive right in.

Best Power Washer, Attachments and Detergents To Clean Your House Siding

The correct pressure washer, with the right attachments and detergents will help you clean your entire house in one afternoon. Let’s look at the tools and materials you’ll want to have before starting:

How To Know if You Need Gas or Electric Powered?

A heavy-duty gas powered pressure washer is ideal. Why? Because cleaning your house is a big job and the higher the flow rate (GPM) the quicker you can get the job done. You could use an electric machine but the job would take 2-3x longer. Here are the best 3.

What PSI and GPM?

You will want a power cleaner with at least 2.3 GPM. The PSI is irrelevant for this job because the nozzle and how far you hold the wand from the surface will determine it. All the pressure washers with 2.3 GPM have at least 2,600 PSI.

To Rent or Buy?Pressure Washer Rentals Summary Cost Chart

Pressure washers are affordable and useful, and that’s why we think buying one is your best option. Renting one from Home Depot can run you $100 per day. A brand new one from Amazon will run you $300. So if you use it 3 days in one year you have paid for it. But, of course, you will need to assess your own situation and make the right decision for you.

Which Nozzle?

You will need to use the black soaping nozzle to apply the detergent. Then to pressure wash the house siding clean use either the 25 or 40 degree nozzle tip. To pressure clean the higher up areas you will want to use an extension wand because you want to avoid using a ladder with a pressure cleaner. Always hold the pressure wand 3 feet from the surface to start and move closer to 1-foot as you watch how much force is required to remove mildew and grime. The detergent should work its magic to make very little pressure required.

Do I Need Detergent?

Absolutely. Detergent is necessary because it will make the job simple. Without it you risk damaging your house siding because more water force will be required to remove the dirt and grime. There are specific detergent solutions formulated for cleaning your house siding – whether it be vinyl, stucco, brick or wood. Make sure you only purchase environmentally friendly solutions.

Should I Use a Brush Attachment?

Although not required it will improve the cleaning capacity and performance of your power washing. A brush attachment will allow you to push and scrub the dirt and grime away with the bristles of the brush. You can purchase one for less than $40 and use it to clean wheelie garbage bins, cars and boats.

What About An Extension Wand?

An extension wand will make your power washing easy if you have a two storey house. There are additional attachments that you can put on the end of the extension wand to allow you to clean the gutters out while standing safely on the ground. Safety is number 1 and that is why we recommend the use of a telescoping extension wand.

What To Do Before You Start Pressure Washing Your House

The last thing you want is to cause damage or get injured when power cleaning your home exterior. Here are some simple things to do to ensure you complete the job without injury. Do these and you will be able to admire your work while sipping a cold one at the end of job.

Use Eye Protection

Eye protection is mandatory. It’s scary because you would never see guys in a machine shop working without eye protection but then you will always see DIY’ers and people working around their homes without eye protection. Super simple to just wear a pair of safety rated sunglasses to avoid eye injuries.

Avoid Ladders

Powerwashed White Vinyl House

Avoid Ladders Because They Add Risk

You want to avoid using a pressure cleaner from a ladder because the push back from the wand may cause you to lose balance and fall. You will not see commercial pressure washers using a ladder because it is a safety risk and who wants to risk their life while on the job, right? In industry people will use elevated work platform vehicles, scaffolding, rope access techniques or simply use extension wands.

Be Aware of Power Lines

Some houses are connected to power lines above ground or have power lines running along the edge of their property. Are you one of these people? If you are just be aware that you don’t attach the extension wand and then touch the wand to the power line risking electrocution.

Clear The Area

Another super simple thing to do is clear the area of toys, bikes etc to avoid forgetting about them and tripping over them. Also clear the bottom part of your house siding of bushes so you can pressure clean those dirty bottom areas.

Do You Have Lead Paint?

Lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978. Still, some homes exist with lead paint exteriors because they haven’t been touched since then. If you think you may have lead paint you need to follow your local building codes to get rid of it.

Tip: Hire someone to take care of it. It is highly dangerous to ingest (you or your pet) lead paint chips by accident or inhale the dust from sanding it away.

How To Know If There is Asbestos?

Asbestos is still legal in the USA for some uses. The main issue with asbestos is breathing in the fibres that can be released from damaged asbestos surfaces when disturbed. Now, you most likely do not have asbestos on your home’s exterior but if your house is really old (pre 1970s) and you have what appears to be concrete panels at the base of your home and those are damaged it is worth getting those tested to see if it is asbestos.

Water and Electricity Don’t Mix

Turn off the power at the distribution board to all the outdoor electrical outlets – especially if they are not fitted with waterproof covers. If you leave the electrical on and water gets into them it could damage your home’s electricity system.

Take Note of Vents and Openings

Avoid or cover vents and openings to avoid getting water into your home interior. Use plastic and tape.

How To Power Wash Your Home Exterior Without Damaging It

Watch this 4 minute 52 second video to learn how to pressure wash a house to clean siding:

And here is the written out step by step guide how to power wash to clean house siding:

  • Pressure wash your home exterior every 2 years at least.
  • House siding made of vinyl, aluminium, steel, wood, stucco and brick can all benefit from regular washing. It will increase your home’s curb appeal and increase the life.
  • In addition to pressure washing for the sake of cleaning it is also the best way to prep your house for a fresh coat of paint.
  • Make sure to repair damaged areas first. Don’t power wash (as mentioned above) if you think your house is painted with lead paint.
  • Use the correct attachments and materials for the job.
  • Choose a day that is low wind and no rain to pressure clean your house siding. Try to avoid power washing the side of the house if in direct sunlight.
  • Now, turn off electricity to the open outlets on the exterior of your home. Close all windows and doors. Cover light fixtures with plastic and tape to ensure they are not damaged. Trim bushes and shrubs that are touching your home to allow access for pressure cleaning.
  • Next up water down all the garden areas below the side of the house to make sure they don’t get effected by the cleaning solution you use.
  • Use eye protection and avoid ladders.
  • Get an extension or telescoping wand to reach second storey levels.
  • Now you can start. Attach garden hose to pressure washer and start it up. Insert siphon tube into soap solution. Attach soaping nozzle.
  • Apply detergent to house siding from bottom up to avoid dirt and soap running down your house onto dry spots.
  • For time constraints apply detergent to one side of home at a time before returning to wash down to clean away all the dirt and mildew.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and let the detergent sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Now change the pressure washer nozzle to the 25 or 40 degree spray tip and wash away all the detergent while keeping the wand at least 1 foot away from your house siding.
  • Apply the soap from the bottom up and rinse it away from the top down.
  • Avoid spraying up into the bottom of the horizontal siding. Hold the wand as straight as possible perpendicular to the siding.
  • That’s it. Let the house siding dry for a few hours grab a cold one and enjoy your beautiful home.

How To Deal With Different Types of House Siding

For the most part, the only difference between different types of house siding is which detergent you use. Each type of siding will have a specially formulated solution to properly clean it. In addition, follow these tips before pressure cleaning your house siding:

  • Vinyl Siding – Repair any damaged siding before pressure washing. Avoid where the panels overlap like into the door or window frames.
  • Aluminium Siding – Avoid angling the power spray up under the panel overlaps.
  • Fibre Cement Siding – Repair damaged areas before starting.
  • Wood Siding – Fix or repair any cracked or damaged wood panels and be sure to wet the surface before applying detergent.
  • Stucco Siding – Repair any chips or cracks before cleaning. To avoid damaging the surface hold the pressure washer 2 feet from the surface and use a 25 or 40 degree nozzle.
  • Brick and Stone Siding – Patch and repair any damaged joints before you begin to clean. Spray down the brick before starting with a light spray from the garden hose to prevent the detergent getting deep into the brick.

How To Pressure Wash Your Gutters Clean

Why You Should Pressure Wash Your Gutters

Power washing out your gutters each season is required because it allows water to freely flow from the roof down the pipes and out through the storm drains. If the gutters and down spouts are plugged the water will start to flood your yard when it rains.

Attachments Needed Pressure Washing Gutter Cleaing Attachment

Pictured here is the attachment required to easily clean your gutters. See how it bends? This is so you can be standing on the ground the the water can be pushing out all the leaves, dirt and lost tennis balls. Without it you would need to get up on the roof to clean the gutter which is not exactly safe.

Gutter Cleaning Video

Here is a video from Home Depot showing a similar gutter cleaner attachment in use:

Steps To Pressure Clean Your Gutter Out

  • Put on eye protection.
  • Attach gutter cleaner attachment to end of telescoping wand or extension wand.
  • Hook up the garden hose to the pressure cleaner and start it up.
  • Insert and point the water jet inside the gutters and clean them out. Dirt and leaves will be flying out once this stops you know the gutters are clean.

Let’s Review The Steps Again To Pressure Wash Your House Siding

  1. Get your hands on a heavy-duty gas pressure washer.
  2. Take required safety precautions by turning off electrical, repairing any loose or cracked siding and covering up vents.
  3. Walk the job to become familiar where electrical is etc and then rinse down the dirt at the base of your house to prepare it to absorb the enviro friendly detergent.
  4. First apply the detergent to one side of your house from the bottom up and then let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Pressure wash the detergent off your house siding top down making sure to keep your distance and trying to not angle the water jet upwards.
  6. Take note of the type of house siding and change the detergent and washing technique accordingly.
  7. Get hold of a telescoping extension wand to easily pressure clean your gutters and second storey exterior levels.
  8. Let dry for a few hours then admire your work.

Power Washing Your Home Exterior Before / After Pics For Motivation

1. Check out how much better these 3 houses look after their siding has been pressure cleaned.

Pressure Wash House Exterior Dirty To Clean

2. Here’s an example what a terribly cared for brick siding can look like when power washed.

Pressure Wash Brick House Siding

3. One of these doors has been pressure cleaned and looks brands new.

Pressure Cleaned House Door

4. Avoid using ladders and avoid pressure cleaning a Simpson’s character into your house siding.

Power washing house with ladder and goofy drawing

Disclaimer: This how to article is intended for general guidance and should act only as an introduction. Please consult your local professional in addition to following youtube videos and other online articles, including this one.