The reason you’re pressure washing the graffiti off your fence or the mold off your siding is to improve the look of your home or business without causing additional damage or grime. But you don’t want to simply fire up the pressure washer, walk up to your property and start spraying away. The distance between your pressure washer and the surface you’re cleaning is of critical importance. Here’s why:

Too close? Getting too close to the item you’re pressure washing could result in damage. The force of the water coming from the pressure washer is extremely high and can cause dents, tears or holes in the surface if you’re too close. This is especially true for wood items such as decks and fences as well as aluminum and vinyl siding.

Too far? If you’re too far away from the surface you’re pressure washing, all of your hard work will be ineffective. Your item might show marginal improvements in appearance, but it won’t get truly clean. Any cracks or divots in the surface might shield dirt and mold from the spray of the pressure washer. Although finding the perfect distance involves some trial and error, the following starting distances have been professionally tested by a pressure wash service. Remember, when starting a pressure washing job, you should begin with the nozzle farther away and slowly bring it in to the proper distance.

  • Paint stripping: 2-12 inches
  • Concrete: 4-10 inches
  • Brick and mortar walls, patios, and walkways: 6-12 inches
  • Wooden decks and fences; asphalt: 8-18 inches
  • Vinyl siding; stucco: 12-24 inches
  • Cars and boats; pools and hot tubs; outdoor furniture: 18-24 inches

Do a few sweeps with the pressure washer, stop, and inspect the surface. Is it clean? If not, move a few inches closer. Repeat until you’ve found the perfect pressure washing distance that both cleans your item and keeps it intact.