Sometimes the only way to know that you are using something eco-friendly, or being 100 percent sure of what’s in it, is to make your own. This is where the idea of making my own pressure washer detergent came from.
You can make your own pressure washer detergent using ingredients you’ll find around your home. These common household cleaning agents are easy to combine to create a detergent for general purpose pressure washing.
Mix together 1 gallon of water, 1/3 of a cup of phosphate-free laundry detergent powder (I suggest power over the liquid), 2/3 of a cup of a general-purpose household cleaner (dish soap). Finally, an optional extra is 1 cup of vinegar.
This is an eco-friendly pressure washer soap that will save you money.
Detergent Recipe for Concrete Surfaces
This recipe is designed as a concrete detergent that is environmentally friendly and very easy to make. Borax is the main ingredient and is something you can find on the laundry detergent aisle of your local store.
This will help you deal with stains from things such as oil or grease, which have found their way onto your driveway. You’ll want to pre-treat those stains with this solution before you pressure wash the area.
- 1 gallon of water
- 1/2 a cup of borax powder
- 1/2 a cup of laundry detergent powder
- 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
First, mix together the dry ingredients. This works best if you mix these together the night before and let the dry items rest together. Then the following morning, mix in the wet ones, mixing slowly.
If you need a stronger solution, you can double up all of the ingredients, except for the water, or you can use half the amount of water.
If you have a stain that isn’t grease/fat-based, such as from spilled fruit juice or any other organic stains (mold, mildew) which are being persistent, you can add a quart of bleach into this mixture. Just make sure to mix this in a well-ventilated area.
Also, note that the second you add bleach, this is no longer an eco-friendly green recipe.
Detergent Recipe for Wood Deck and Flooring
This is the perfect DIY power washer detergent for tackling a deck. It will help you clean a deck or any other outdoor flooring with a pressure washer.
- 1 gallon of water
- ⅓ cup powdered laundry detergent
- ⅔ cup all-purpose household cleaner
- 1 quart of bleach
Again, start by mixing the dry items together first. Once these have been mixed thoroughly together, then you can combine the wet ones.
Keep in mind that the water will dilute this solution, so if you need a stronger solution, reduce the amount of water that you mix in. combine this is a very well ventilated area as bleach isn’t to be played around with.
This isn’t a green or environmentally beneficial solution, thanks to the inclusion of bleach, but you need this to remove mildew.
Eco-Friendly Detergent Recipes
An environmentally thoughtful recipe is the preferred option. They are better for the environment, children, gardens, and pets. This is because they are much less likely to cause damage or injure anything that comes into contact. The following recipes are the more environmentally beneficial options.
For general purpose use
This is an all-purpose cleaner that is safe to use on a wide range of surfaces. You can make this easily from items you’ll find in your home. Though I do suggest using phosphate-less laundry so.
- 1 gallon of water
- ⅓ cup phosphate-free laundry detergent powder
- ⅔ cup household cleaner
- (optional) 1 cups vinegar
Firstly, combine together the dry ingredients, then slowly add the wet ingredients.
This is a great homemade pressure washer detergent to use on things such as your patio furniture as it won’t cause damage and won’t harm your plants. It’s non-toxic, and it will break down in the soil, so it’s “environmentally-friendly.”
For power washing cars
- 1-gallon hot water
- ¾ cup phosphate-free laundry detergent (powder)
combine very slowly to limit the amount of suds generated during mixing.
Make sure to thoroughly rinse away all of the soap with your pressure washer afterward, do not let this dry onto your car.
Why Make Your Own Detergent
You may be thinking, what’s the point of making your own pressure washer detergent when actually you can easily purchase some of the best pressure washer soaps from places such as amazon.
Well, from the cost of wanting to be 100 percent sure that what you are using is environmentally caring, there is a wide range of reasons to combine your own cleaning solution. I’ll attempt to address a few of the reasons below.
It can be cheaper for you to make your own pressure cleaning solution in the long run, as long as you are using items found around your own home. You don’t have to go to the store or order it online, which is great for the environment as you aren’t causing the transport of goods.
All it takes is a few household items mixed together in the right proportions, and it will give you a cost-effective alternative.
Some of the recipes I’ve listed in their current portions may be more dilute than a similar product that you can find in the store. Just reduce the water to increase the strength. I also suggest mixing these in a large bucket, as you’ll save money by making them in bulk.
If you suffer from allergies, it can be beneficial to use a homemade DIY cleaner. Those popular brands that have amazing scents include chemicals that just cause headaches or cause allergies to break their own.
I’m sure you’ve found that you may be allergic to one pressure washer detergents brand, not others. This will be down to one or two chemicals that have been included. By making your own DIY cleaner powder, you prevent yourself and your family’s health from suffering.
Companies won’t always be transparent about what ingredients their general purpose cleaner contains. This prevents their solutions from being directly copied. Still, I want to know what I am exposing my children and family to.
There was a huge controversy not so long back about companies using dihydrogen monoxide. This was causing upset as you could find dihydrogen monoxide not only in weed killer but also in ice cream!
But wait.. dihydrogen monoxide is actually the technical name for water. Still, as it was listed as another more technical term, people freaked out. This is the transparency loophole that companies hide behind.
However, by making your own DIY homemade pressure washer cleaner, mixing dihydrogen monoxide or rather water in a large container alongside washing soda, white vinegar, and laundry soap, you will quickly create a detergent is perfect for use with pressure washers. You will know exactly what is in your homemade cleaning detergent.
Some people love being closer to nature, not trying to push an agenda but rather be as self-sufficient as possible. These people, which could be you! Grow their own food, raise their own animals, and make their own cleaning products. That’s not to say that homesteaders don’t go and buy things from the store. They tend not to waste much and instead find ways to utilize what they have at hand.
Homesteaders tend to be somewhat off the grid, removing themselves from capitalism as much as possible, which means reducing the trips they take to the store and also how much they purchase. They make sure to control exactly what they put into their bodies and the environment.
When researching recipes for myself, I found a wide range of measurements being used. One recipe for creating a pressure washer detergent would use the imperial measurements system (the key US system). In contrast, other recipes I found, even on the same site, would list their pressure washer soap using the metric system (used by most of the world). I’ve converted all recipes to imperial on this site.
Household Items That Can Be Used
There are a large number of common items you can find in your household or even from your local grocery store that can be used as detergent for a pressure washer, including things such as white vinegar, bleach, dish detergent, and even just plain old water.
Do exercise caution and safety when handling any chemicals.
Dish detergent can be used as a very simple pressure washer detergent. Though safety must be taken as dish detergent can damage fragile surfaces, it can create a lot of foam if used in excess, which could be more than you are aiming for.
For a pressure washer detergent designed to tackle mold and mildew, you can either include vinegar or bleach. Though neither of these is great for cleaning dirt, so their use is limited. If you include bleach, please exercise safety.
Vinegar is safe for use around plants and won’t damage most things, though electronics will suffer, that’s more to do with the water than the vinegar. It will kill mold and mildew but won’t prevent the return. It’s also fantastic for cleaning windows, but make sure to use a low-pressure washer. You’ll also need to wipe your windows dry to prevent streaking.
Vinegar is a fantastic addition to your power washer detergent.
Bleach will kill mold and mildew and prevent its return. Still, you must be careful around porous surfaces like concrete unless you like that whole splattered bleach effect. Using bleach with a pressure washer will atomize it, or rather turn it into a mist. This extends its range. It could get into your eyes or digestive system.
So take extra safety precautions and wear safety glasses and a face mask, gloves, etc.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve ever done any pressure cleaning, but plain old water can often be all your need to clean things. The added pressure is typically all your need to remove dirt and grime. It’s also the safest and cheapest option.
Firstly washing soda is not the same as baking or bicarbonate of soda. This is something easy to find in the laundry aisle. This is a water-soluble salt that can be used to clean surfaces when it’s dissolved in water.
Making washing soda
While soda and baking soda shouldn’t be confused. Baking soda is the main ingredient in washing soda. It’s a very handy ingredient in DIY pressure washer detergent.
Items you will need to make washing soda:
- Baking soda
- cookie sheet
- spatula or spoon
Making washing soda a different cleaner powder to baking soda comes down to the difference between a sodium molecule and a hydrogen one.
For those who want the chemistry, Baking soda is NaHCO3 versus Na2CO3.
Chemically they are very similar, and all that’s required to change the chemical composition is to add a little heat.
- Preheat your own to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
- Spead the baking soda out onto a cookie sheet in a thin layer
- bake for around 30 mins.
- Stirring every 5 mins or so
- remove and cool
That’s it. The appearance of the soda will change it’ll look duller, not as shiny and crystallized as it was before. It’ll also be much drier, so it won’t clump as much.
General Preparations Before Cleaning
We’ve got a few recipes set to go, but before we clean anything, we need to prepare those areas first.
Before you use a pressure washer on your car, you have to take some time to prepare. Somewhat similar to how you would for a car wash.
Remove any decorations that could be easily damaged.
Make sure the car is parked with the engine off, ideally on a flat or level surface. Detergents and even homemade soap can make the ground slippery, so I suggest also using non-skid shoes.
Make sure your windows are up and that the engine is cool. If you make checking your fluids and refilling apart of this process, it can become quite a handy habit, as you combine car maintenance and cleaning into one. Plus, any spillage get’s cleaned away!
Make sure that you’ve isolated the area, removed any pets so that they don’t get hit with the high-pressure spray or any chemicals. The same goes for children.
Clean the area first, removing any debris and household items. Also, remove anything fragile.
Believe it or not, but hot water is often overlooked. You can remove a lot of dirt and grim just by cleaning with hot water first. Also, a pressure washer with hot water can be an issue (a lot don’t support it), so just dumping hot water onto an area can actually help loosen the dirt even if it doesn’t clean the area entirely.
I often have a bucket of hot water on standby. It really is very handy. Those plants, pets, and children do not do well with hot water.
All the recipes should be in a large bucket in well-ventilated areas.
When you mix and use these, please make sure to take personal precautions, so wear eye protection, gloves, and face masks, even more so if you use bleach.
Never wash while barefooted, I get it. In the hot weather, it may feel nice, but you can hurt yourself with your pressure washer. The washer detergents may not react well on your skin.
Pressure washing is dangerous, so you should take care.
When you’ve finished using your homemade pressure washer detergent, you should safely store any left over pressure washer detergent in clearly marked containers well out of reach of children and pets.
Bleach is caustic, which is “acid-like,” so very, very dangerous when swallowed. Please immediately contact your local poison control center and accident and emergency if any is ingested.
Please exercise caution around children and animals with any of the solutions I’ve given you. While vinegar may not hurt an animal or child, make detergents will,
Pressure washer safety
Also, make sure to follow the instructions in your instruction manual that came with your power washer. It’s not uncommon to become a bit lax when you’ve used a pressure washer for a while, but that’s when accidents happen. Always put care first.
The pressure from your pressure washer is enough to cause serious injuries. The small nozzle can act as a knife, and you could send yourself or others to the hospital.
Be aware of any hazards in your environment, such as poor drainage, electricity, etc. We all know that water and electricity do not mix, so make sure to cover any outlets with plastic, and make sure that any cats, dogs, chicken, and children and kept out of the area you are working in.
Making your own homemade pressure washer detergent is a fantastic idea. There are many excellent choices for pressure washer detergent on the market. Still, you’ll never truly know what’s in them unless you make your own.