Pressure Washing Vs Power Washing: What’s The Difference?
Ever encountered the cleaning conundrum of pressure washing vs power washing? It might not seem like an important distinction, but if you opt for the wrong method, not only are you unlikely to get results – you might end up damaging your surfaces, or even yourself.
Despite this, many people still use one machine for all purposes. Crucially, though, pressure washers and power washers are designed to tackle different problems. Between the two, they can:
- Turn regular water into high-pressure water or hot water
- Clean surfaces indoors from black mould, oil and grease
- Clean exterior surfaces, like decks, driveways and patios
- Blast away stubborn dirt, like chewing gum, ink and spray paint
We clear up the differences between the two methods below – alongside some essential safety tips – so that you can decide on and use the best tool for the job.
How do pressure washers and power washers work?
Fundamentally, it all comes down to the technology used to harness water – with the differentiating factors being power and heat.
Pressure washers, ironically, are all about power. They transform regular water running from the tap into a high-pressure stream, which is blasted onto a surface. From a cleaning perspective, the sheer force of cold water is the answer to breaking down dirt – and certainly the cheaper option between the two methods.
Power washers, on the other hand, use heat to get results. While also possessing a powerful hose, their true asset comes often in the form of a diesel-powered box, producing hot water up to 150 degrees Celsius. Depending on the surface, the temperature must be closely monitored to avoid irreversible damage.
So, now that you know their different capabilities, how do you determine which washer is fit for your purpose?
When should I use a pressure washer?
Ideal for driveways, patios, walls and decks, pressure washers make light work of removing dirt. Unlike their counterparts, the cold temperature removes the risk of heat damage to surfaces, and is most effective against:
- Surface dirt and debris
- Discoloured concrete
- Moss, algae and dirt mould
Conveniently, the extra pressure of these washers allows you to get deep inside nooks and crannies whilst simultaneously improving the overall look of your surface. But too much pressure could prove hazardous to your exterior surfaces, such as paintwork and pre-existing cracks. Be careful around vulnerable areas to avoid a potentially expensive headache.
When should I use a power washer?
Of course, some surfaces require an alternative approach to simply blasting away the dirt. So, when it comes to exterior surfaces that have fallen foul to harsher conditions than those we’ve identified above, the power washing machine is preferred – and is highly effective against:
- Oil and grease stains
- Deep black mould
- Stubborn dirt, e.g. ingrained chewing gum
Heated water breaks down the more localised, deeper dirt to clean surfaces. But, similarly to the pressure washer, unconsidered use can result in costly damage. It’s strongly advised to identify the temperature threshold of the surface beforehand in order to prevent this.
Tips for safe cleaning
Due to its ability to tackle more regularly occurring domestic dirt, pressure washers are the most commonly used item out of the two. But don’t be fooled by the lack of heat. These machines can be just as hazardous if used without due diligence. We suggest following these safety tips to avoid an unwelcome incident while pressure washing:
- Check instructions – Understanding the equipment before use is vital in preventing potentially dangerous incidents. This includes safety latch use
- Assess the area – These machines can be hazardous to both people and objects. Identify the surface in question and ensure it is clear.
- Wear appropriate clothing – Tough, closed-toe shoes are essential for protection. Gloves, long trousers and safety goggles are also advised, protecting against flying debris as well as high-pressure water.
- Depressurise – Ensure all remaining pressure is released before disassembling the washer to avoid unexpected spray.
Although blasting away the dirt yourself may seem easy, the safer and more effective option is to hire a professional. Better cleaning results and minimal risk of costly damage to your surfaces are just two benefits worth taking advantage of.
Cleaning companies, such as Rainbow, provide jet washing services for building fascias, driveways and patio areas. Besides routine cleaning, these services also cover areas that have suffered from fire or soot and smoke contamination. We’ll guarantee to get the job done safely, effectively and ethically – taking into account environmental considerations as we go.
How Rainbow can help
We offer disaster recovery and specialist cleaning solutions for businesses and homeowners alike, from power blasting to damage restoration. For quick and reliable support when you need it most, don’t hesitate to contact us or call our 24-hour national helpline on 01623 422488.