How to Clean Carburetor on Pressure Washer?

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How to Clean Carburetor on Pressure Washer


The carburetor is one of the most important parts that exist on your gas pressure washer. This is a part that needs a bit of love from time to time because when it’s left alone, well, a carburetor can get clogged, and the end result is that your pressure washer will just stop working.

If you have an already clogged carburetor or are looking to clean your first carburetor, here’s a guide for getting the job done right. This is a cheaper alternative over taking it to a shop and can be a timesaver, as this can be done in less time than it takes to make the trips to the shop.

What Do Carburetors Do?

Before we crack open this part to clean it, it’s a good idea to know what this part is there for and why you need it working at it’s best to ensure optimum performance from your pressure washer, this way you will have a better idea of how to clean and maintain it.

How To Clean Carburetor On Pressure Washer

Your carburetor is a device that ensures that your pressure washers engine has the right air to fuel mix. This ensures that the engine runs properly. The air to fuel ratio for pressure washer engines tends to sit somewhere between 12:1 and 15:1, if you want your pressure washer to run its best, you need to maintain the air-fuel ratio within that sweet spot.

Fuel can be sticky, so over time, your carburetor can get clogged up, which means that the engine doesn’t get the right air-fuel mix and stops working properly. It may not burn the fuel as its meant to such as if a fuel valve is stuck, which can result in you consuming more fuel than necessary. Your carburetor is the heart of your power washer. It keeps the air and fuel pumping to the motor, and without it, if it’s completely clogged or your pressure washer, just won’t start.

Signs That a Carburetor Needs Cleaning

If your carburetor wants to be cleaned, trust me, it’ll let you know. You shouldn’t need to open the carburetor to work out what’s wrong, here’s how to diagnose any problems.

  • Failure on Startup

If your carburetor drastically needs maintenance, then a problem you’ll find that is your pressure washer requires quite a lot of effort to get it started, worse of all, it may not start at all. This is because the air and fuel are unable to properly pass through the carburetor, so the motor is starved of what it needs, preventing it from starting. While this can be because of a few different components, the first you should investigate is your carburetor.

  • Popping and Sneezing Sounds

If you notice some sounds that resemble popping or sneezing or both, it’s probably coming from your carburetor. In the majority of cases, this is a sign that there is an imbalance in the air and fuel mix. If there isn’t enough fuel to air going through your carburetor, which can lead to problems in the combustion chamber, you may notice popping noises. This I’ve experienced on a moped as a teen, a screw that governed the air ratio was missing, meaning mix was too air heavy.

  • Black Smoke

If you notice black smoke coming from your pressure washer’s exhaust system, then there is a high chance that it’s to do with your carburetor. It may mean then you have to much fuel and not enough air going into the combustion chamber, and one of the problems that this can lead to is the formation of black smoke.

I had this in my first car, I decided to switch out the “stock” air filter for an aftermarket one, this required me to do something with a vacuum tube, the problem was, the guide I was following didn’t align with the state of my car… a lot of black smoke showed on my way to work the next morning.

  • Leaks

When you have a serious blockage in your carburetor, the fuel won’t be able to pass through at all. So if you notice fuel leaking from your pressure washers carburetor, there’s a really good chance that something is preventing the fuel from passing through to the motor. It won’t happen immediately. It’ll take a few minutes for the carburetor to fill up, but once it starts to overflow and to leak, it’s a sign that you really should unclog it.

Steps for Cleaning Your Pressure Washers Carburetor

If you’ve never cleaned your pressure washers carburetor before, then it can be a bit of a difficult task. The biggest tip I can give you and I use this tip for all sorts of DIY tasks is to take pictures of the entire assembly before you remove anything. Do this at each stage so you will remember exactly how to fit everything back into its rightful place, and you aren’t left with a spare washer or nut.

Steps For Cleaning Your Pressure Washers Carburetor

When you put the pressure washer back together, you should do so in the exact order you took it apart. I suggest laying a towel on a flat surface and laying each component out in the order in which you took it off, this makes it easier to work out when goes on next.

If you haven’t cleaned a carburetor before, these steps will show you how to clean one.

  1. Turn the Fuel Valve Off

before you start to clean the carburetor, you first need to remove the cap to the spark plug and turn the fuel valve off. This will make sure that no fuel will pass through the fuel line into your carburetor.

  1. Access the Carburetor

Now we’ve isolated the fuel, we need to find and get access to the carburetor, In a lot of cases you’ll need to remove the throttle cover, the intake setup, and the air filter box before you can gain access to the carburetor (remember the towel and part order!)

  1. Empty the Gas Tank/Line

Before you clean the carburetor, you should find the gas line that connects the carburetor and the fuel tank. If your fuel tank is full of new fresh fuel, then you can clamp the fuel line. However, if you the gas tank is full of old gas, then you should take the gas line off of the nipple on the carburetor, the fuel will drain out of the line, you can then let the gas drain into a container.

Regardless of whether you are clamping or draining, you should place a towel under the area you are working to catch any drips.

  1. Remove the Carburetor

Using a socket or a nut driver, you can unbolt carburetor from the pressure washers small engine. First, you’ll need to loosen and remove two bolts that connect your carburetor to the units’ small engine. Once those have been removed, you’ll need to remove the throttle cable linkage from the carburetor.

  1. Remove Residual Gas

This is where the carburettor cleaning really starts. When cleaning a carburetor, you need to check for any residual fuel, clean it up with a towel, or pour it into a container. It all depends on how much residual gas is in the carburettor. The next step when cleaning carburetors is to check for any form of corrosion. Look to see if the carburetor is eroded if it is, you’ll need to purchase a new one. However, if all looks well, you can move on with the cleaning process.

  1. Take the Carburetor Apart

Make sure to take a picture of how your carburetor is connected before you proceed with the carburetor clean. To open it up. Start by unscrewing the bottom of the unit, this will remove the carburetor bowl. This will expose the float of your pressure washer, which exists in residential and commercial pressure washers, then follow the carburetors natural order when removing the next parts. When reading this, this may not make sense, but when you open one, you’ll get it.

  1. Spray the Carburetor Cleaner

Now that you’ve removed the carburetor, you can start to spray the parts with carburetor cleaner. If a part is made of rubber, you shouldn’t allow any carburetor cleaner to touch it. It can be too harsh and cause damage. For those parts, regular soap and water will work just as well. Make sure to rinse every piece properly and dry them thoroughly.

  1. Reconnect

Now that you’ve cleaned all the parts, it’s time to put everything back together in the order in which you took it apart, use the pictures you’ve taken as a reference, and also the order in which you had layed the parts out on the towel as a guide.

Closing Thoughts

Once you’ve cleaned your carburetor once, you realize that it’s not a big deal, that actually it is rather easy and will prevent problems if you keep it and the rest of the small engine maintained. These small engines are easy to work on, so getting stuck in shouldn’t be something you are afraid of.

Cleaning a pressure washer carburetor is simple, and something you shouldn’t need to pay a repair shop to do unless you want to that is. Just make sure to put everything back in the right order and in the right place that you took them from. Reference photos are vital!

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Adam White is the founder and chief editor at He has years of experience from years of Gardening, Garden Design, Home Improvement, DIY, carpentry, and car detailing. His aim? Well that’s simple. To cut through the jargon and help you succeed.

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