How to Clean Your Car With A Pressure Washer

Last Updated on May 18, 2021

How to Clean Your Car with a Pressure Washer


People say that you can tell a lot about a person based on their car, so we think it’s super important to keep your vehicle looking shiny and good as new both inside and out.

There are loads of tools that you can use to clean the inside of your car, but when it comes to the outside there’s one tool that always comes out on top – the pressure washer!

Pressure washers blast surfaces with super high water pressure ensuring that anything in its way is removed. Sure, you could get the sponge and bucket out and clean your car through the old-fashioned way, but let’s be honest – it takes forever, and no matter how well you clean it there always seems to be attention to detail that is missing.

Pressure washers are by far a better option, and we’re going to be discussing exactly how to clean your car with a pressure washer and how to do it safely. So, if you are a beginner at pressure washing or are considering purchasing your first pressure washer to clean your car, this is the article for you – read on to find out more!

Starting Out

Firstly, let’s make sure that we’ve got everything prepared. You will first need to assess the area for any debris, pebbles or other materials. This can present a hazard to not only your car but people in the surrounding area, as the high pressure of the pressure washer could easily blast a pebble into the opposite direction!

Once you’ve assessed the area for risks and cleaned away any debris, get your pressure washing PPE on – we’re talking gloves, boots, gaiters and aprons. Pressure washers are fantastic devices, but they can be abrasive to the skin, so it’s very important to wear appropriate PPE.

Finally, you will want to get your equipment together. Grab your pressure washer and any relevant attachments, tools or chemicals that you may need to finish the job, and get your cleaning hat on – your car is about to experience the best wash of its life!

Step 1: Pre-Rinse

First of all, you’re going to want to give your car a pre-rinse. If it’s been a while since you last cleaned it and it hasn’t rained recently, you might notice that your car has a fine layer of grime over it.

Furthermore, if it’s the spring or summer then you are likely to find tons of pollen covering your car which is going to get in the way of the later steps of this cleanse! A nice and simple pre-rinse can do wonders for your clean, removing all of this pollen and grime to ensure that you don’t have any physical dirt getting in the way of your deep clean.

Simply use a hose pipe or a variable spray attachment on your pressure washer and spray the car down. Don’t get too carried away though, you want to save the hard work for the pressure washer!

Step 2: Should you use Detergent on your Car

One of the most common questions that we hear being asked is ‘should I use detergent on my car?’ It’s an excellent question and it’s very important to consider things such as this – after all, you don’t want to cause more damage to your car than good!

Well, we can confirm that you should use detergent on your car but stop right there! You should never use any form of household or patio detergent; this could easily be very damaging to your car and even strip the paint off!

So, it is essential that you source a detergent designed for car washing – there’s tons of options out there and is often affectionately named ‘The Best Car Shampoo and Snow Foams’.

You’re definitely going to want to use detergent to really give your car that deep clean, but always read the label and ensure you are using the right kind of chemical before you apply!

Step 3: Put on the Brush Attachment and Clean

Next, you will need to get out your pressure washer brush attachment and start cleaning! Brush attachments are essential when it comes to cleaning your car with a pressure washer.

Pressure washers are super powerful and have a very high water pressure level, and without the appropriate attachment this can cause damage to surfaces from it’s sheer power! Don’t worry though – the brush attachment will be filled with the water pressure and will output water from the brush slowly but efficiently.

This essentially takes away the high water pressure and instead gives you a slow and consistent flow, ensuring that you can wash those grimy spots on your car without blasting it with potentially damaging high water pressure.

If you don’t yet own a pressure washer but you’re thinking about purchasing one, you must ensure that you find one with a brush attachment. You won’t be cleaning your car with a pressure washer otherwise!

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat if Needed

After giving your car a good old clean with the pressure washers brush attachment, you’ve probably already made a ton of progress. However, if you want your car to truly sparkle then you’re going to need to apply a lot of attention to detail, and it’s highly likely that you missed some spots on the first round.

So, you are going to want to quite literally rinse and repeat! Get a hose or the variable nozzle attachment for your pressure washer and spray down your car, rinsing all the grimy water away.

This should make your progress a lot clearer and any spots that remain dirty will stick out like a sore thumb. Chuck another layer of car detergent on and reequip the brush attachment and get back to work.

You could do this one or two more times, but don’t get carried away – we are sure you have done a great job!

Useful Pressure Washer Features That Will Help You Clean Your Car


Longer Hose

Imagine that you’ve bought your first pressure washer and you are excited to clean your car with it, only to find out that the hose isn’t long enough for those hard-to-reach spots without having to move your car or turn it around!

You should have bought a longer hose – always buy a pressure washer with a long hose to ensure that you always have enough length to work with!


Another feature that you should seriously consider when choosing a pressure washer is wheels.

Pressure washers can be really heavy, and they are a right pain to carry around. Ensure you purchase a pressure washer with wheels, and you can guarantee excellent mobility when cleaning your vehicle!

Variable Jet Feature

Pressure washers are fantastic cleaning devices but if the water pressure were always the same, it would damage half of the stuff you want to clean!

Make sure your pressure washer has a variable jet feature – this will allow you to increase or decrease the water pressure depending on the job. Perfect.

Attachable or built in Detergent Tank

Fed up with applying your detergent manually every time you want to pressure wash your car? You should have bought a pressure washer with a detergent tank!

This allows you to apply detergent pre-diluted with water through an internal tank, meaning that your detergent will be spread evenly, and it will take a lot less time!

Snow Foam Attachment

If you keep finding large particles of dirt on your car that your pressure washer seems to be reluctant to remove, it might be time to invest in a Snow Foam Attachment.

This will output foam that looks very much like snow and the bubbles do a fantastic job at breaking down any stubborn grime! Plus, the foam is pretty fun!

Do’s and Don’ts for Pressure Washing your car

Always assess the area for risks and clear away debris from your car
Do consider alternative attachments to ensure your car is protected
Always wear PPE equipment to protect yourself from high water pressure

Never use regular household chemicals or detergent to clean your car
Don’t use the pin-point jet spray on your car – it can cause damage
Never leave your car windows or doors open when pressure washing

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