You may not always see the dirt and grimy buildup on your home’s exterior but trust me, it’s there. And before you blame yourself for being too negligent or irresponsible, it’s simply part of your house being exposed to various elements.

Despite this, you just can’t sit all day while knowing that your home is somehow covered by all this dirt and debris. Instead, you use a pressure washer to get rid of them. Sounds easy-peasy enough, eh?

For a start, pressure washers can be damaging if you don’t know how to use them. So before getting started, it’s really important that you know how they work.

Whether you’re buying or renting one, this guide can help you find the right type of pressure washer for you.

Fundamentals of Cleaning

pressure washer

When we look at the science of cleaning, it’s recommended to keep things simple and straightforward.

So, no. We’re not going to give weird tricks or complex tips here. The fundamentals of cleaning are composed of four principles, also known as CHAT.

CHAT stands for:

  • Chemical action
  • Temperature
  • Mechanical action
  • Time

Chemical Action

How can you forget to use chemicals when cleaning your home? It’s fundamental. When detergents, bleaches, and any other form of chemicals are added to the cleaning system, they break down and suspend soils faster than water alone.

So the key here is to choose the proper detergent, which is based on soil and substrate types, and water conditions.


This refers to the temperature of the water you have to use. Pressure washers can both use warm or cold water, so it’s important to choose one that matches the chemical needs.

Mechanical Action

When it comes to high-pressure cleaning, it’s typically done through angle and impact force. This means that scrubbing can agitate the chemical into the substrate, breaking it down, dissolving it, or suspending it for a rinse with a lance.


So this refers to the dwell time, which is the amount of time needed for the detergent to touch the soilers so it can do its job. Believe it or not, some products have a specific dwell time, and you surely don’t want to ruin them.

Pressure Washer Types Based on Power Source

For the basics, pressure washers use a pump to boost water pressure attached through the hose. The pump itself can be powered in two only ways: petrol and electric. In this section, let’s also discuss a few of their pros and cons, so you can come up with a decision.

Petrol Pressure Washers

Petrols, also known as gas-powered pressure washers, are flexible. They can create a wide range of PSI and GPM levels. Meaning, they clean faster and more efficiently than electric models.

Also, they’re cordless. Think about the concept of using a vacuum cleaner at home. You don’t have to plug in anything if you want to buy this model.

Now, moving to the cons. First, it requires consistent maintenance, which might be too much work for you. You have to change the oil in your petrol pressure washer and make sure to use the right additives for long-term storage. And of course, petrol pressure washers are louder than electric ones. They produce emissions, too. You can only use them in outdoor spaces—which might not be a problem for exterior house washing, but you can’t use them indoors.

Electric Pressure Washers

Now for electric pressure washers, everything is quite the opposite. First, they don’t produce harmful emissions and you can use them indoors.

When it comes to maintenance, any homeowner can do it. There are no required consistent oil changes for electric pressure washers.

On the flip side, this type of pressure washer is not as heavy-duty as a petrol-based model. If you need to wash a large or heavily cluttered area, cleaning takes longer and you might not get the results you want.

Also, you have to plug them every time you’re using them. Portability-wise, this might not be the one you need.

Pressure Washer Types Based on Performance

Pressure washers are categorized into four types based on performance.

  • Light duty
  • Medium duty
  • Heavy duty
  • Extra-heavy or professional duty

Light duty pressure washers are capable of producing pressure levels at a maximum of 2,000 PSI. This works best for occasional outdoor items or a small deck or patio, where minimal cleaning can suffice.

kid on the dirty driveway

Do you have to clean more parts of your home? What do you think about your siding, driveway, or fencing? A medium-duty pressure washer is what you need. It produces pressure levels ranging from 2,000 to 2,800 PSI.

Say you have to clean large areas of concrete or need to have access to the second story of your friend’s house. You need a heavy-duty pressure washer. It ranges from 2,900 to 3,300 PSI.

Are you planning to do a lot of pressure washing today? If so, you need a powerhouse—something extra-heavy. So you need a professional-grade pressure washer. It’s designed to deal with long hours of cleaning. It produces high water pressure levels of 3,000 PSI and higher.

Pressure Washer Nozzle Types

Aside from power source and performance, you can also classify pressure washers based on their nozzles. This basically indicates the angle of the water steam. And this is really important because it affects the amount of pressure you’re directing to the surface. So for example, a narrow-angle spray is more powerful than a large-angle spray.

Identifying nozzles has never been easy with color-coding.


A red tip is the narrowest angle at zero degrees. This nozzle might be small, but terrible when used improperly. It can create a damaging water stream so you have to be more careful about it. Don’t forget to avoid using it close to any surface.


This nozzle creates a 15-degree angle. If you need to pressure wash around your home, this is the right tool to use.


This works best for different household pressure washing needs. So whether you have accumulated dirt on your patio or even on your car, this is the most appropriate tool to use.


White has a lot of positive connotations, and this also applies to pressure washing. It’s the most user-friendly nozzle. It creates a 40-degree spray. You can use it during general house cleaning days, where you have to clean windows and siding.


Black produces a spray angle of 65 degrees, being the gentlest among all of them. To give you a better idea, it’s so light that it can’t wash off dust or dirt. So you can only use this nozzle to make a surface wet.

The Key Takeaway

First-timers would probably get intimidated in using cleaning equipment like pressure washers. But trust us, you need them to take good care of your home. It should be part of your house cleaning and maintenance routine.

Now that you know the basics of this equipment, it’s a matter of whether to pressure wash or not? If you think it’s time-consuming and daunting for you to learn more about pressure washers, that’s totally fine! Let someone else take care of it for you.

House Washing Experts is a Brisbane-based house washing company that can clean your property’s exteriors through our trusted various pressure cleaning services. For enquiries, you can call us on 1300 927 433. We’re looking forward to meeting you soon!