Pressure washers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in both urban and suburban settings. Their usefulness in cleaning large exterior areas and slicing through tough dirt and grime is unparalleled, leading many homeowners and businesses to incorporate pressure washing into their outdoor maintenance routines.


But what makes these cleaning machines so effective? Whether you choose to buy your own power washer or hire a pressure wash service, understanding how pressure washers operate will make you more generally knowledgeable about your home or commercial property maintenance. The following is a look at how pressure washers work.



Understanding the basic components found in pressure washers can help you use one more safely and effectively. The main parts of a pressure washer include:

Water pump. The water pump produces the power needed to maintain the high water pressure used in pressure washing. The pump is run by a motor, which can be powered by diesel, propane, gasoline, or electricity. Electric units are quieter and emit no exhaust, whereas gas pressure washers can be used anywhere, as they don’t require access to an electrical outlet.

Hose. The hose is another important module on a pressure washer. A pressure washing hose typically includes double-layered wire reinforcement and an outer layer of rubber or thermoplastic, enabling it to endure high water pressure that can reach up to 8000 psi as well as high temperatures up to 330 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nozzles. Today’s pressure washers typically come with a variety of nozzles, which feature diverse spray patterns for different applications. For example a nozzle that creates a thin stream is often used for deep-cleaning small areas, while a nozzle resulting in a wide fan spray is handy for debris removal. There are also nozzles customized for removing paint and old finish stains and other applications.



In properly functioning pressure washers, the water enters the pump, where it is pressurized and sent through the resilient hose, which is controlled by a trigger. The operator presses the trigger to release a blast of water, which is then shaped by whatever nozzle is attached to the end of the hose.

When pressure washing, the operator is able to control a variety of factors, including the amount of pressure, the temperature of the water, the type of nozzle used and whether or a cleaning product is mixed into the water. Learning which combination of options is best for each application takes experience, which is why a professional pressure wash service can usually provide the most efficient and effective cleaning job.