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How To Pressure Wash A House Before Painting: Guide to Making Your Prep Easier

How To Pressure Wash A House Before Painting?

Pressure washing the outside of your property before painting may help you save a lot of time when it comes to preparing the surface for new paint.

The pressure from a pressure washer can strip away chalky residue, rust, and hardened grime, leaving nothing behind but a smooth, bare surface.

Pressure Washing vs. Hand-Washing: Which Is Better?

Suppose you have the time and energy, several benefits to cleaning your home by hand before painting. Suppose you’ve ever had your vehicle washed at a touchless car wash.

In that case, you know that washing without physical contact delivers acceptable but never exceptional results. For example, a white cloth wiped across the car after a touchless wash might still pick up mud.

The same may be said of washing your home’s siding before painting: the finest effects will come from hand-washing with soap, water, and brushes.

On the other hand, hand-washing an entire house is quite complicated and time-consuming, and a pressure washer can do a great job in much less time.

Which Pressure Washer Is Best For You?

Pressure washers are available in both gas and electric versions. Gas pressure washers tend to be more powerful than their electric counterparts. Still, they can also be much noisier and emit fumes.

Electric pressure washers are typically less expensive than gas pressure washers. In addition, they are smaller and lighter, making them easier to transport.

It would help if you used an electric pressure washer to clean a one-story house and gas one for two or higher-story houses.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Garden hose
  • Pressure sprayer and nozzles
  • Ladders (if needed)
  • Bucket
  • Sponge


  • Cleaning solution
  • Plastic sheeting

How To Pressure Wash A House Before Painting

Here are the steps you can take:

Planting and utility installations should be protected

Before pressure washing a house, protect any adjacent plantings you wish to keep around your home. Even if pressure-washing is done correctly and carefully, sediment from the pressure washer’s water can cause damage to plants. Cover them with a tarp to prevent contact with pressure-washing water.

Remove any major debris

Wipe off the siding with a pressure washer. Use plain water (no cleaning solution) to rinse it from top to bottom. A wide spray angle and modest pressure should be enough for this step. 

The primary goal of this stage is to remove most of the visible trash: insect nests, leaves, and dirt. Finally, allow the siding to dry completely.

It is an excellent time to mention that you should never use the red tip (0-degree). The red tip can harm the siding.

Bleach solution should be used on mildewed areas

Some pressure washers have a bleach solution attachment to rinse onto surfaces. When pressure washing a house, you will want to pressure wash mildew spots with a diluted bleach solution before pressure washing with water only. 

If you use the pressure washer’s included nozzle attachment for this step, wear eye protection so the concentrated bleach solution does not get into your eyes.

If you are pressure washing a house without the pressure washer’s bleach solution attachment, create a diluted bleach solution to use instead. For example, add two parts water to one part bleach. 

When pressure-washing mildew, spray this solution onto pressure wash surfaces that have mildew spots or stains on them.

Spray With Cleaning Solution

Add the desired amount of cleaning solution and fill the pressure tank with plain water until complete. Test spray a small portion of the siding before pressure washing a house in its entirety to ensure the cleaning solution does not damage the siding.

Cover the pressure washer nozzle with a pressure-washer-specific pressure nozzle and test spray to get water pressure down to around 1,500 psi (pounds per square inch). Then, turn the pressure washer off and reattach the standard pressure sprayer tip. 

Sponge up any standing water before pressure washing a house and then pressure washing each pressure-washer section. It makes sense to pressure wash those sections separately for pressure washing siding with seams that are more than 2 inches apart.


Allow 10 minutes for the chemical to work through your hair, then rinse from the top down with clean water. Rinsing should be done from the top down to prevent unclean water from running over clean areas while cleaning.

Allow at least 48 hours for the paint to dry before using it or any exposed wood to be completely dry. If you must wait a few weeks before painting, additional spray-down with fresh water is a good idea. 

It’s incredible how quickly spiders can move in, and dust might accumulate after cleaning.

Tips for Pressure Spraying

  1. Cover them with tarps to keep plants safe and gather paint chips blasted off during washing.
  2. Don’t aim the spray wand straight at the siding.
  3. Work one area at a time.
  4. Keep the spray stream level by avoiding driving water up behind the siding.
  5. Don’t spray the windows.

Bonus Tips: Some pressure washers feature rotating brush attachments. These add-ons are ideal for siding with a lot of grime.


Using a pressure washer on your home does carry some risk. If you aren’t careful, the pressure from the water can damage the siding and even cause structural damage to your home’s framing or foundation.

Please follow these cautions before pressure washing:

1. When pressure-washing a house, do not direct a stream of water at any location near windows or doors. The pressure of several dozen pounds per square inch from the pressure washer can quickly shatter glass. 

2. Remove any outdoor furniture from the area being cleaned. Do not point the pressure washer at cement or bricks on the exterior of your home, as pressure from these surfaces can push water behind siding and walls. 

It can be hard to pressure-wash mortar from between bricks without pressure washing away some of the brick itself. Also, avoid power-washing gutters as this may leave lines of dirt running down the siding due to pressure washing behind it.

3. Protect any adjacent plantings you wish to keep around your home. Even if pressure washing is done correctly and carefully, sediments from the pressure washer’s water can kill plants. 

Cover them with a tarp to avoid contact with pressure-washing water to prevent the killing or damaging of plants during pressure washing.

4. Pressure washing can damage the siding. If done too fast or with too much pressure, pressure washing can strip paint off the siding. It can even remove wood itself, making it more difficult for the new paint to adhere to your home’s surface. 

To pressure wash your home and reduce the risk of pressure washing damage:

Stick to a low-pressure setting on your pressure washer. The PSI should be less than 1,000 PSI if possible. To pressure-wash properly, stay between 500 and 600 PSI without pushing above 700 PSI.

Use a pressure washer with an adjustable pressure nozzle to decrease pressure as needed. Start pressure washing from the top of your house and work down, keeping the pressure washer about 4 feet away from the siding. 

Concentrate on removing built-up dirt, grime, or rust rather than trying to blast paint off your home’s siding. If pressure washing is done right, it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to pressure wash one side of your house.

5. Do not direct pressure washer water at any location near windows or doors. The pressure of several pounds per square inch from the pressure washer can quickly shatter glass. 

In addition, pressure-washing too close to windows and doors may pressure wash dirt and grime behind these openings. It can lead to water damage inside your home or rotting window frames.

Recommended pressure washers to wash a house

Last update on 2021-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2022-01-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2022-01-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts on How To Pressure Wash A House Before Painting

Pressure washers are a quick and easy way to pressure wash your house before painting, but it can be tricky if you don’t know how. We’ve shared the pressure washing process that will leave your siding clean and ready for paint in this article.

With these tips and tricks under your belt, go out there and start pressure washing!

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Brett Tyler

Brett Tyler

I’m Brett Tyler, an entrepreneur, but more importantly (well, to me at least), a tool head. I’m passionate about all sorts of machines and how they work – it’s in my blood.

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