How to Use Soap with a Pressure Washer
Tips & Tricks

How to Use Soap with a Pressure Washer

Nothing does a better job than a pressure washer when it comes to intense cleaning. This versatile cleaning gadget can clean up different levels of dirt with different amounts of water with minimal effort.

And what better way to get everything cleaned off in one go than with a Pressure washer soap attachment. This certainly makes it easier to get any surface clean without soaping off than rinsing off the surface.

Keep reading to learn how to use soap with a pressure washer.

How does a pressure washer soap nozzle work?

The nozzle is what creates the pressure in a pressure washer. They do this by restricting water flow, thereby increasing the velocity. An increase in velocity leads to increased pressure power. For this reason, you need to use different nozzles for different jobs.

If you choose the wrong nozzle, you could:

  • Peel the paint off your car
  • Damage your wood deck
  • Punch through the mortar of your brick driveway, requiring costly repairs.

Types of Pressure Washer Nozzles

All power washers come with 3-4 color-coded nozzle tips. Below are the main types of nozzles you can use on your pressure washer;

0° Red Nozzle Tip – Maximum Blast

The 0-degree shoots a direct jet of water onto the surface. When the jet hits the surface, it hits with the area of a quarter coin. It does not sheet or fan out the water spray at all.

It is rarely used because its spray covers so little area, and it would take forever to clean anything. It can also be used to remove very toughly caked mud from construction equipment, rust or held at the right distance to remove tough stains from high-strength concrete.

Note: Do not use this nozzle on soft surfaces (wood, siding, cars)

15° Yellow Nozzle Tip – Medium Stripping

The 15-degree creates a 15-degree wide sheet of water spray at the nozzle. Once the spray hits the surface, the pressure is less because its force is spread over a larger area

It is mostly used to prepare surfaces for painting. When used from the right distance can be great at removing tough mud and dirt from 4x4s

25° Green Nozzle Tip – Gentle Lifting and Cleaning

Probably the most common nozzle tip to use around the home. The 25-degree produces an even larger sheet or fan of water than the 15-degree nozzle. This causes even less pressure on the surface

It is great for boat, car, patio furniture, and driveway cleaning. This is because it creates a nice wide sheet of water. It cleans a larger surface area faster.

40° White Nozzle Tip – Minimum Spraying

The 40-degree is the gentlest spray. Held at the right distance, you would use a 40-degree nozzle to clean windows and other fragile surfaces. The low pressure is great for fragile surfaces like windows and blinds

65° Black Tip – Soap Nozzle

The soaping tip nozzle is special because it has the widest degree (~65°) and a larger orifice. It needs a larger orifice to decrease velocity, thus increasing pressure in the hose. This increase in pressure pulls detergent into the line so you can apply soap to the surface for an easier clean

Other nozzle categories;

Turbo/Rotary Nozzle

One of the most useful nozzles is because it combines the force of the 0-degree nozzle with the spray area of a 25-degree nozzle and adds in a pulsing action by rotating the water jet at 1800 – 3000 rpm.

When the rotating nozzle hits the surface, it creates a round cone shape. This is because it rotates the jet so quickly it appears as a cone-like orange safety cone coming from the nozzle tip.

Adjustable/Variable Nozzle

This nozzle can change to multiple patterns such as; 0-degree, 15-degree, 25-degree, 40-degree. It also has built-in settings for soap and rinsing. The pressure washer soap injector makes it time-efficient for every day cleanings like household cleaning, removing grime and mildew from decks, concrete cleaning, and siding cleaning.

Foam Cannon Nozzle

It is used for washing cars, boats, windows, siding, and more. Most foam cannon nozzles are stainless steel, plastic, and brass. The nozzle is also adjustable to control the amount of foam coming from a pressure washer.

How do you use a pressure washer?

Screw the water hose onto the water connector at the base of the power washing unit. Turn the water on and then open the water valve on the power washer. If you have an electric power washer, this is when you will plug it in. If you use a gas-powered washing unit, fill the gas tank with gas.

For best results when pressure washing ANY surface:

  • Select the correct nozzle for the job
  • Start with a wider angle nozzle
  • Keep your distance to start. Start long-range and slowly move closer
  • Always test on a small area of the surface.

Nozzle Care

Use a pin to clear the nozzle before each use.

To change the nozzle;

  • Lift the retainer upward to release the old nozzle is still in place
  • Install the new nozzle by lifting the retainer.
  • Insert the new nozzle and release the retainer to secure.
  • Once installed, confirm that the new nozzle works properly.

What detergent can you use in a pressure washer?

While there are plenty of detergents, some can be too harsh to your pressure washer machine and the environment. Dawn dish soap is one of the best formulas to use in your pressure cleaner. Other than having great grease-cutting power, Dawn will not damage your pressure washer or harm plants.

You can also use the pine sol in a pressure washer. It is ideal for taking out dirt, grime, grease—and finally deodorizes the surface you are trying to clean. Usually, for general cleaning, use ¼ cup per gallon of water with this product.

How do I choose a pressure washer nozzle?

Determine the proper nozzle size by the pressure washer’s GPM (Gallons Per Minute) at a specific PSI. If the nozzle size is too small, your equipment can be damaged. If the nozzle size is too large, your cleaning ability will be reduced.

Most pressure washers come with 4-5 color-coded nozzle tips;

  • Red Spray Tip (0-Degrees) The red spray tip creates a 0-degree spray pattern and is the most powerful nozzle.
  • Yellow Spray Tip (15-Degrees) Typically used for surface preparation, such as removing dirt, mildew, or paint, and can be used on most surfaces.
  • Green Spray Tip (25-Degrees)
  • White Spray Tip (40-Degrees)
  • Black Spray Tip (65-Degrees).

Can you use a regular hose as a pressure washer?

Yes. The Turbo Jet is the amazing all-new spray nozzle attachment that turns your ordinary water hose into a high-pressure power washer. Bulky pressure washers are expensive, heavy, and use gas or electricity. The Turbo Jet’s clever design uses a controlled flow to build a powerful jet stream right from your garden hose.

Note: It should be noted that backing away from the surface with a certain degree nozzle further reduces its pressure. As a rule of thumb;- doubling distance is a halving of force.

Why isn’t my pressure washer soap dispenser working?

If your pressure washer isn’t dispensing soap, it’s most likely because the water pressure is too high. This prevents proper suction and mixing of soap and water. To remedy the issue, use a low-angle nozzle. You should also check the hose and tube for kinks and blockages.

Do I need to dilute pressure washer detergent?

Yes, most detergents for pressure washers are concentrated. The typical dilution is 20 parts water to 1-part pressure washer soap concentrate, and be sure to mix it outside the soap tank first, then fill the soap tank. Other pressure washers require a mixing ratio of 1:7 detergent solution to water.

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For instance, the Ryobi pressure washing setting is 20:1, which usually allows 1-gallon pressure washer detergent without further dilution. To prevent streaking, do not allow detergent to dry on the surface. Before shutting off the motor, fill the soap tank with clean water.