Do you have a Pressure Washer? Not everyone is an Expert to do it!

Operate a pressure washer safely or risk serious to catastrophic injury.

Seriously, pressure washer safety is no joke. The sad thing is most pressure washer injuries are 100% avoidable. Don’t be stupid. Just because you are around the house doesn’t mean you should wear flip flops and treat the pressure washer like a super soaker…


Because high pressure injection injuries should not be underestimated 

A pressure washer may not have the same high pressure as a grease or paint gun but the PSI is enough to cause serious harm.

Let’s look in detail why you need to be careful and the 7 pressure washer safety tips to stay safe.

Why You Need To Be Careful When Operating a Pressure Washer 

Pressure Washing Safety Tip #1 – Take 5 minutes before the job to think through the task, identify the hazards and how to decrease the risks.

During this 5 minute’s walk around the area where you will be cleaning and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel ready and up to the task today? Did you lift weights at the gym yesterday and feel particularly weak. Did you have a late night and feel drowsy.
  • Is the weather today good for pressure washing? Power washing in the rain or heavy wind is not the safest.
  • Is the area clear of hazards? When you’re focusing on the job toys, bikes, pets and even trees can come out of nowhere.
  • Am I spraying near electrical, open windows or house vents? Be sure to wrap electrical in plastic, close windows and cover vents to prevent damage from the water spraying.
  • Do I know what to do if the pressure washer starts making weird noises, pops a leak or starts smoking? Be sure to have a clear method in your mind what to do if the unthinkable happens.
  • Am I adequately protecting myself? Be sure to wear the proper personal protective gear.
  • How can I get hurt? Write down all the ways you can get hurt pressure washing today. Everything from tripping to falling down stairs and a car running you over.
  • What can I do to prevent getting hurt? Look at the hazards you came up with and think of controls to prevent them from happening.

Safety Tip #2 – Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

It’s simply ridiculous how many injuries can be prevented with proper PPE. Just because there are no enforced rules at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear steel toe boots and other equipment.

Here’s what’s recommended:

  • Safety glasses or goggles. Such a no brainer. Proper safety glasses will prevent flying projectiles entering your eye. And when dealing with high pressure water spraying dirt and debris off surfaces this is simple risk reduction that you need to do.
  • Enclosed shoes. Another easy implementation. At best you want to be wearing proper steel toe gumboots or work boots. At worst wear enclosed running shoes.
  • Gloves. The most common point of injection injuries is the hand. Wear proper safety gloves.
  • Ear protection. Especially needed if you plan on using a gas powered pressure washer for extended duration. Not necessary with electric pressure cleaners.
  • Pants. There is going to be debris flying everywhere. Wear pants to protect your legs even if it is hot outside.

Safety Tip #3 – Read the User Manual front to back before operating the pressure washer.

Each pressure washer is slightly different. There are not only gas and electric types but belt drive, direct drive, hot water and cold water.

Your User Manual will explain everything you need to know about operating your machine and will give you troubleshooting tips and machine specific safety tips..

Safety Tip #4 – Never use a gas pressure washer in an enclosed space.

There are two reasons to not use a gas power washer in enclosed structures:

  1. Poisonous exhaust fumes. Your gas power washer engine emits carbon monoxide, which can cause all sorts of problems if you breathe it in in excess: nausea, dizziness and headache. To avoid the issue make sure you pressure wash only in well ventilated areas.
  2. Louder noise. A petrol pressure cleaner uses a similar small engine as a lawn mower and is as loud. It will be even louder in an enclosed space due to the sound being amplified by the small space. Wear ear protection to avoid hearing loss or damage.

Safety Tip #5 – While cleaning be aware of your surroundings.

Be aware of playing children, pets, passing cars, slippery surfaces, electrical wires and power lines.

You should know about these risks from your 5 minute pre job analysis (Pressure Washer Safety Tip #1) but things change and new hazards can be introduced.

Safety Tip #6 – Start washing with the widest angle spray tip 2-feet from a test surface and adjust nozzle and distance as needed.

Pressure washers come out-of-the-box with 4-5 different types of spray nozzles:

To not damage the surface start off your pressure washing spraying a test surface holding the spray a few feet from the surface. If it cleans then all good. If not, start moving the spray a little closer. Never go closer than 6 inches. If you get to 6 inches and the force isn’t enough to properly clean the surface. Repeat the process with the relevant nozzle.

Safety Tip #7 – Avoid ladders and working at height.

Nothing is more dangerous than working at height when pressure washing. Why create a hazard? A fall from 3-feet can be fatal if you fall the wrong way and hit your head. Use an extension wand and keep your feet planted firmly on the ground.

Wrap Up

Don’t be stupid and risk injuring yourself or damaging the surface you’re cleaning.

These 7 simple but effective safety tips should keep you out of harms way. There is just no need to put yourself at risk on a Sunday while pressure washing your house siding.