Pressure Washing Chemicals: A Comprehensive Guide

Pressure washing without any pressure washing chemicals is equivalent to smiling without teeth. Neither of them looks right! Pressure washing machines are best for cleaning tough and sticky muds or specks of dirt from any surface, whether from a car, sidewalks, and walls. But the pressurized water, even the pressurized warm water in the case of power washing, is not enough for effective cleaning. Various cleaning chemicals are used in the pressure washer machine to facilitate effective cleaning. The use of pressure washing chemicals in power washing helps clean dirt, germs, and molds easily, which is the essence of power washing.

Today, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about pressure washing chemicals and their applications in the pressure washing process with a comprehensive guideline.

Pressure Washer Solution – Soap or Detergent?

Soap and detergent are two predominant types of power washer cleaning solution available today. Technically, soap is a kind of detergent made from natural fats and oils. These fats and oils are extracted from plants and animals. They are then processed down to glycerine and fatty acids with steam and combined with salt. For bar soaps, sodium is used as salt while for liquid soap, irt is potassium that is used as salt.

On the other hand, detergents are made from man-made chemicals. At the microscopic level, both detergents and soaps are able to break down and dissolve the grimes, dirt or stains. But detergents are usually formulated to be a more effective pressure washer cleaning solution against stains and dirt.

What kind of soap to use in pressure washer?

Both detergents and soaps can be used in pressure washing machines. However, you should only use any approved type of soap for pressure washer. Soaps are biodegradable. Using unapproved soaps in your power washer, or using soap with untreated water in the pressure washer solution could result in the formation of a solid of calcium carbonate, which you don’t want to leave on the surface you are cleaning.

Different Ingredients for Different Types of Pressure Washing Chemicals

It will be a major mistake to categorically place all soaps, detergents, and other cleaning chemicals in one place. There are different cleaning chemicals for different purposes. And it is the main ingredients that the users should focus on to select the best pressure washing chemicals as the power washer cleaning solution. For example, if you are intending to remove rust, you should choose a cleaning chemical that has a concentration of Oxalic Acid. Different chemical ingredients of pressure washing chemicals are mentioned here with their purposes.

  • Vinegar — killing germs, cleaning window top, brass and bronze products
  • Oxalic Acid — To remove rust and stain
  • Citric Acid — To remove stains from wood or concrete
  • Sodium Hydroxide — To dissolve grease and fats from glasses and steel
  • Sodium Hypochlorite — Powerful disinfectant and stain remover
  • Bleach — This is a mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite, a strong and aggressive sanitizer. Don’t use bleach in your pressure washer pump since it will corrode away and ultimately ruin your machine
  • Ammonia — for the regular glass cleaning process
  • Potassium Hydroxide — for soaps used in daily activities

Chemical Injector

Chemical injectors are the most effective solution to spraying pressure washer chemicals on the surface. The main advantage to using a chemical injector is that you can control it right from the pressure nozzle. In case of spraying chemical, it is better to spray with a low pressure. It will help the chemical spread all over the surface evenly. That is why most of the chemical nozzles are designed to deliver chemicals at a low pressure. One popular name of the low-pressure chemical nozzle is the Downstream Injector.

With a chemical injector, the pressure washer machine can quickly spray the detergent with its highest GPM capacity. The drawing of the detergent or pressure washing chemicals being used can be from an onboard detergent tank or outside gallon tank with a siphoning hose or soap shooter.

Chemical Injecting with an On-Board Detergent Tank

Most of today’s pressure washer machines come with an onboard detergent tank. The machine pumps both water and detergent through the nozzle simultaneously after pressurizing them. Detergent tanks are designed for the same frames of the machines they are attached with. Operating a pressure washer machine with an onboard detergent tank is very easy. You just have to switch on the detergent injecting switch to commence the flow of detergent. The only negative side to having an onboard detergent tank is that they run detergent through the machine’s pump, which can reduce the lifespan of your machine.

Chemical Injecting with A Siphoning Hose

Most power washers don’t come with an onboard detergent tank. In that case, the detergent has to be drawn from an outside gallon with a siphoning hose. Siphoning is the process of transferring fluids through tubes from one place to another with the help of gravity. Using a siphoning hose to draw the detergent mixture to the pressure washer machine is easy. You just have to make sure that the loose end always remains submerged to the detergent mixture.

Foamers & Soap Shooters


Foamers and soap shooters are two great options for those who don’t want pressure washing chemicals flowed into the machine. They are attached to the end of the pressure nozzle to mix the chemical with the already pressurized water before releasing. Foamers and soap shooters work in a very similar process. The only difference is the foamers are sprayed with low-pressure nozzles and the soap shooters are used with high-pressure nozzles. Both are flexible and widely used pressure washer soap attachment.

How to Use a Power Washer Cleaning Solution

Power washing with cleaning chemicals is not much different from the normal power washing. You just have to maintain certain additional things. They are:

  1. Use a black nozzle or low-pressure nozzle for power washing with pressure washing chemicals
  2. Spray the chemical mixture from bottom to top to avoid streaking
  3. Don’t leave the chemical solution on the surface. Follow it up with a regular pressure wash
  4. Use high-pressure nozzles for regular power washing
  5. Never use bleach powder for your pressure washer machine. It will corrode the machine and reduce its lifetime
  6. Always check whether the pressure washing chemical you are using is approved by pressure washer manufacturers
  7. Don’t use pressure washing chemicals on plants or other things which might be harmed by the chemicals

To conclude, pressure washing chemicals make the pressure washing easy. If you are looking for an easy pressure washing solution, you can buy an electric or gas pressure washer with soap dispenser or chemical nozzle tips. Most of the pressure washer machine models come with these attachments today.

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