Key Differences Between Power Washing & Pressure Washing

Power Washing Vs. Pressure Washing

This informative post is about power washing vs. pressure washing.  Every day, Cleaning World gets tons of people asking whether or not power washing is the same thing as pressure washing.  Sometimes they call our company, other times they write us an email.  But the questions is always the same.  What is power washing and is pressure washing the same thing?

In this article, you will learn everything you ever wanted to know on the subject of power washing and pressure washing.  You will learn which of the methods of cleaning exterior surfaces we prefer.  And you will also find out which of the two is more widely used, which is better for your home and the environment and the benefits and complications of both.

Additionally, many professional cleaners offer power washing and pressure washing services.  So don’t skip past the part where we discuss the benefits of hiring professionals!  Let’s get started!

Power Washing And Pressure Washing Are Similar

The short answer is that no, power washing and pressure washing are not exactly the same.  However, that is the short answer.  The long answer is that yes these two exterior washing services are similar.

However, these two methods of cleansing using pressured water are not the same.  Power washing uses water at a hot temperature to cleanse surfaces such as vinyl, aluminum, wood, and more.

Pressure washing, on the other hand, uses normal temperature water at a much higher pressure to cleanse exterior structures such as buildings and outdoor accessories.

Power Washing

Let’s first begin by discussing power washing.  What is it?

This technique of exterior cleansing is very effective and should be done on certain surfaces as regular maintenance. Power washing uses highly pressurized water that is heated to cleanse surfaces outside of the home.  Doing this can prevent contaminants from breaking down surfaces and finishes and preserve the longevity of the structure.

By using this technique, the pressurized water ultimately cleans contaminants such as grime, dirt, mildew, algae, and debris from soiled, graffitied or stained surfaces.  Some of the surfaces treated include the exterior of your house, driveways, parking garages, patio furniture, cars, drive-thru areas, dumpster pads and more.

The Machine

A power-washing machine is essentially a pressurized washing device.  Depending on the machine that you choose, there are many things which will vary such as warranty on your power washer, hose length and storage, wheel size, maneuverability, and more.  Certain machines offer different options for pressurizing and heating the water as well.

Generally, you can choose between an electric and gas power washing machine.  Most people who own homes and choose the DIY route find that electric power washers are easier to use as well as being easier to maintain.  In addition, there are many options on the market that are well priced if you choose to do it yourself.

Some of the main things you should power wash include:

Pressure Washing

Now let’s discuss pressure washing.  This service is very similar to power washing except the fact that it does not use heat.  However, pressure washing is one of the all-time most cost-effective ways to give you commercial building or residence a face lift without having to do anything that major to it.

Some of the prime things you should pressure wash include:

Things You Can Pressure Wash You Wouldn’t Believe!

There are many things you can pressure wash which you may not have thought of previously.  Here’s a list of some of our favorite little-known things to point your pressure washer at!

Patio furniture: Often times your outdoor patio furniture can get encrusted with dirt, grime, mildew and mold.  It takes more than a little bit of elbow grease to get some of the grime off of patio furniture.  But guess what?  Your pressure washer can handle it!

Bee’s nest: While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this, I’ve heard through the grapevine that blasting a bee’s or wasp’s nest with a power washer is something you can do to get rid of these nasty creatures.  Please do this at your own risk!

Children’s playhouse:  Your children’s outdoor playhouse can be cleaned using pressure washing!  Just be careful that they are far away when you do it!

Wheel barrow:  You know that handy device you use for your gardening and home renovation projects?  Well guess what?  You can clean it up quickly with a pressure washer.

Lawn mower: Over time, your lawn mower can see a buildup of grass and debris that can clog up the blades and lead to a less-than-perfect lawn.  Well guess what?  Flip that mower on its side and blast the heck out of the bottom of it for revitalized lawn mowing and cutting!

Things You Should NEVER Power Wash or Pressure Wash

There are a few things you should be aware that you should never power wash or pressure wash.  Here we will touch upon a few of them.

things you should not power wash
things you should never power wash

Wood Siding: While a professional can wash and clean wood siding on a house, using it yourself could cause bigger problems.  If the wood is painted, paint could be removed and reveal an unpleasant look to your home.  Additionally, water could seep into the wood if it’s not angled or pressured correctly.  This can cause issues with insulation, mold and much more.

Electrical Panels/Meters: While these devices which are often found on the exterior of a home or building can withstand a torrential downpour, blasting them with pressurized water can cause serious damage.  If the water gets into cracks and crevices in the device, you might be stuck with costly repairs.

Paint With Lead Components: Lead paints should not be power washed as they are harmful to the environment and the air we breath.

People and Animals: As silly as this sounds, don’t ever point your pressure washer at a person or an animal as you could risk serious injury or even death.  The pressure of water is high enough that it can cut your skin.

Shingles: If your roof is made of asphalt shingles, don’t ever power wash or pressure wash it.  The pressure of the water will remove some of the protection of your shingles which could lead to water damage and the need for roof repair.

Loose material: loose material such as paint, old mortar and bricks can be damaged by the pressurized water.

Plants: Unless you want to destroy your plants and shrubs, don’t point a pressure washer at them.

Air conditioner:  Your air conditioner should not be in the line of fire of your power washing tool.

How Often Should You Power/Pressure Wash?

The frequency of power/pressure washing varies.  If we’re talking about the exterior of your home, it really doesn’t need to be done that often.  Every 8-10 years is a good amount of time.  However, this depends on the quality of paint that has been used on the home and whether or not it has mildew-preventing additives in it.

Most paints nowadays have quality mildewcide components to them.  If they do not and if your paint does not contain a mildewcide, you may need to power wash more frequently.

However, this process is really only done to remove the grime that builds up over time.  So consult with a professional on whether or not your home needs professional services before choosing to give it a blast!

When To Hire Professionals

You should really hire a professional power washing service for any major project such as the exterior of your house.  Professionals have the experience and training to know how much pressure to allow when power-washing a surface.

With home exteriors, you run the risk of damaging the exterior of your house if you are untrained and don’t really know about exterior home cleaning.  In addition, professional-grade equipment is stronger and has the cleaning power to blast away algae and mildew that many other tools might not be able to do.

Choosing The Right Professional Service

So now that you know the basics of power washing and pressure washing, it’s time for you to decide whether to do it yourself or hire a professional cleaning service.  You can read more on 7 important reasons to power wash your home prior to making decision as to whether to hire someone or DIY.

Benefits Of Hiring A Pro

There are many benefits of hiring a pro and reasons you shouldn’t try to power wash something such as your home on your own.  Here are a reasons:


Instead of scrubbing away for hours, why not try using a pressure washer to blast dirt and grime into oblivion!  In addition, why not make the call and contact a professional commercial cleaning company such as New Jersey’s Cleaning World Inc. to do it for you?  We’re certain they’ll do a good job of it!

Many house cleaning services offer exterior cleaning.  Hiring a skilled professional is a great thing to do this summer to revitalize and restore your home.

We hope this post has been helpful in explaining power washing vs. pressure washing and we wish you the best with your exterior cleaning project!