Pressure washing your house can remove years of wear and tear in just a single day. This tutorial will walk you through the process from start to finish, with detailed instructions for siding, gutters and more (plus optional instructions for painting after).
Tools and materials
Besides a pressure washer, you’ll need a few other tools and materials to clean your house. You may need everything on the list below, or you may just need some things depending on the size of your house, the type of siding you have and more.
Use 2,000-3,000 PSI for most types of siding, like vinyl, brick and wood.
Use a product that’s made for your conditions (mold, mildew, etc.).
Use safety glasses, work gloves, work shoes and hearing protection.
Get if you want to cover anything (doors, windows, electrical, etc.).
Get if your cleaning solution isn’t made for pressure washers.
Get if you need to do any scrubbing (to remove old paint, etc.).
Get if you have a 2-story or 3-story house, or high walls in general.
Get if you have gutters (requires an extension wand to reach them).
Get if you want to paint your house after pressure washing.
Get if you need to remove any old paint to prep for new paint.
If this is your first time using a pressure washer, read our guide on how to use a pressure washer to learn the basics. Then, follow the instructions below to pressure wash your house (each step explains what to do for different types of houses, when necessary).
Step 1: Prepare house
Remove any objects that are blocking the house (furniture, pottery, etc.), then use your plastic sheeting to cover anything that can’t be moved (doors, windows, etc.). Make sure any openings are completely sealed so water doesn’t get inside, and double check anything electrical.
Step 2: Set up equipment
Pull out your pressure washer and connect your garden hose, high pressure hose and spray gun. Prepare your cleaning solution following the manufacturer’s instructions (some need to be diluted, others don’t), then fill your pressure washer (some models have an onboard detergent tank, others have a siphon that you put directly in your solution), or fill your garden sprayer if you’re using one. When you’re ready, turn on your water and start your pressure washer.
Step 3: Clean gutters
If you have gutters, connect your extension wand and your gutter cleaner and clean them out first (using just plain water, you don’t need the cleaning solution for this). Work from one end to the other, spraying away from downspouts to avoid clogging them. If you need to clear a clogged downspout, point the nozzle directly down it and spray until water flows through it smoothly.
Step 4: Clean siding
Before cleaning, do some quick planning: divide your house into sections of about 10 feet wide and one story high (so a 2-story house with a 20 ft. wall would have four sections: top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right). Now, starting with the top story, repeat this step one section at a time.
Connect the 65° nozzle (usually black), or use your garden sprayer, and spray the cleaning solution onto the siding (spraying from bottom to top). Let it soak for a few minutes, especially if you need to remove mold or mildew, then use your brush to scrub the surface. Then, switch to the 25° nozzle (usually green) and rinse the cleaning solution off (this time, from top to bottom). Make sure you don’t spray too close to cause any damage (generally, you want to keep the nozzle at least a foot away), and if you have vinyl siding (or some other type of lap siding), try to spray at a downward angle so water doesn’t get behind the panels.
Step 5: Let dry
Take down your sheeting, put away your equipment and make sure you properly dispose of any leftover cleaning solution (if you used toxic chemicals). Wait at least 48 hours for the house to dry before putting any exterior decor back up, or before painting.
Step 6: Painting
Use your scraper to remove any old, peeling paint. Prepare your new paint following the manufacturer’s instructions, then use your preferred applicator (sprayer, roller, etc.) to begin painting. Start with eaves, then do the siding, then do the trim, and make sure you apply the recommended number of coats (two coats is standard, but again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions).
Frequently asked questions
The most common questions about pressure washing a house are answered below. For other questions, you can reach out to us at any time. If you have a question about a specific product, you may need to contact the manufacturer.
How much does it cost to pressure wash a house?
The average cost to pressure wash a house is between $0.25-0.35 per square foot, which comes out to $600-840 for the average single family home (around 2,400 square feet). Keep in mind, this doesn’t include gutter cleaning. Expect an additional $0.50-1.00 per square foot for gutters.
Is pressure washing bad for your house?
Pressure washing your house can be bad if you don’t know what you’re doing. Too much pressure can damage siding and even strip paint, but if you follow the instructions above and use the right methods, it’s as safe as rinsing it with a hose.
Can you pressure wash a house with bleach?
Bleach should never be used in a pressure washer. It will not only damage the parts, but it’s dangerous to both humans and animals as an airborne mist. If you need to use bleach to remove mold or mildew, apply it with a garden sprayer and then use your pressure washer to rinse it off.
What is soft washing a house?
Soft washing is just pressure washing with low PSI. It’s sometimes considered a different service, but it’s really just a different method. Instead of relying on high pressure to clean a surface, soft washing relies more on the cleaning solution to do the work.