Pressure washers work differently, depending on the type of soap that you use to do your cleaning. You might not realize it, but of the detergent options that are available for pressure washers, each of them does a different job. So, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks that tell you what kind of soap to use in pressure washers, the surfaces they work on, the chemicals used, and more.

What Kind of Soap to Use in Pressure Washers

What Are the Differences Between a Soap and a Detergent?

Soap is a type of detergent, and it typically uses natural ingredients such as oils and fats from resources like plants and animals. The raw ingredients get combined with salt once they are broken down into fatty acids and glycerin with steam.

On the other hand, detergents are human-made and produced from chemicals, not natural ingredients. Typically, detergents are used to wash clothing.

When Should You Use Soap and When Should You Use Detergent when Pressure Washing?

Eco-friendly and biodegradable products are highly sought-after, and because soap has natural ingredients, it can get washed down storm drains. However, when using soap with untreated water such as rainwater, a calcium-carbon solid forms at the surface.

If you pressure wash with detergent, you won’t face that problem. Additionally, detergents have been known to be more active on surfaces like concrete and wood. That is why many people have combined natural soap and synthetic detergent to create a cleaning agent.

What Is the Difference Between Residential and Professional Pressure Washing Detergent?

Under most circumstances, the detergent used is relatively the same, and there are only a few differences. Professional pressure washers purchase the concentrated chemicals in bulk and do the mixing themselves.

As a residential pressure washer, it’s likely that you buy the pre-mixed solution from stores such as Home Depot. It is true that you do pay more when purchasing the cleaning agent by the gallon, but when you aren’t frequently using your pressure washer, it’s much more convenient than having to mix the agents yourself.

What Are the Chemicals in Pressure Washer Soaps and Detergents Used For?

You’ve likely seen a large label on your gallon of cleaning solution that breaks down all the chemicals in your detergent. The problem is that these chemicals are there for specific reasons, and one of which is that cleaners get designed for particular purposes and surfaces.

  • Vinegar: Used to clean counters, windows, and produce. Also used to shine surfaces such as brass handles and bronze heirlooms.
  • Citric Acid: Used for concrete driveways, wooden patio cleaning, and stain removals.
  • Oxalic Acid: Used for removing rust and other cleaning purposes.
  • Bleach: Created from a mix of sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide, it is used to remove stains and also as a very aggressive disinfecting agent and sanitizer to kill bacteria.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite: Powerful stain remover and disinfectant
  • Sodium Hydroxide: Used to help dissolve grease and fats, and also helps to clean glass and steel surfaces.
  • Ammonia: Commonly used glass and stainless steel cleaner
  • Potassium Hydroxide: Typically used to turn soap soft or into liquid.

Is Pressure Washing with Soaps and Detergent Harmful to Pets or Gardens?

No one wants to use detergent soaps that cause damage to the environment, or that could potentially harm pets and gardens. The majority of pressure washer detergents purchased at the store are environmental, human, and pet-friendly and the label should always tell you if it is biodegradable. However, some professionals may use chemicals that aren’t as safe and should advise you of any risks ahead of time.

Is It Easier to Pressure Wash Surfaces with Soapy Solutions?

Think about any time you’ve ever baked something that sticks to the sides of the baking dish, such as the cheese after cooking lasagna. When you try cleaning it with just cold water, the experience is going to be exhausting, and you won’t get the results you are looking for.

Once you add soap and warm water into the mix, you see that the process starts to get easier. So, to get the maximum clean from your pressure washer, it’s best to use detergent, soap, and high-pressure water. In that way, the surface gets cleaned quickly.

Can Dish Soap Get Used in a Pressure Washer?

Dish soap has a liquid and soapy form, so naturally, you might think it’s okay to use it in a pressure washer, but most experts advise against it. Due to the high pressure, there’s a good chance that the dish soap could have a backsplash and get into your eyes or the eyes of your pet, causing them to burn. Also, dish soap won’t provide the same type of results concentrated detergent soap for a pressure washer would.

What Kind of Soap to Use in Pressure Washer for Specific Surfaces?

At the end of the day, what you really want to know is what type of detergent soap to use on which surface, and we know that. To make things easier for you, we looked at a broad range of soaps and detergents so that we could come up with the best options for you.

  • Boats, Cars, Motorcycles, and RV: Purchase a one-gallon bottle of Karcher 9.5558 121.0 Vehicle Wash & Wax. You can mix one cup of the detergent with ten cups of water, and get approximately 20 washes out of the bottle.
  • Concrete Surfaces: The eco-friendly, biodegradable Simple Green solution is perfect for any concrete area. You can purchase it in a one-gallon jug, and it’s quite affordable. The solution removes dirt, oil, grease, and grime.
  • Wooden Decks and Fences: Krud Kutter Deck & Fence is a solution created for the sole purpose of cleaning decks and fences. It is free of ammonia and bleach and contains an ingredient that works to remove molds, mildew, moss, and even algae from wood.
  • House Siding: Krud Kutter House & Siding is eco-friendly and biodegradable. It’s formulated to clean the siding of your home, and even slow the return of molds and mildew.
  • Multipurpose Cleaner: Without a doubt, Simple Green Heavy-Duty Cleaner is one of the best multipurpose pressure washer detergents. It has incredibly high reviews and can be used to pressure wash cars, all types of surfaces, floors, awnings, and more. It’s also eco-friendly and biodegradable, so it’s safe to wash your driveway.

Get Cleaning without Worries!

Everything in this guide provides you with the information you need to choose the best detergent soap for your pressure washer. It’s important to remember that solutions get designed to clean specific surfaces, so when shopping, ensure that you purchase a detergent soap that is either made for that surface or recommended for it.

Keeping your home, driveway, patio, vehicle, and other belongings clean is going to have you feeling even better about yourself, and you now have all the information needed to get your favorite surface clean and make the most of your pressure washer.