Fall cleanup can be a breeze with a pressure washer. But Consumer Reports says before you start pressure washing with abandon, you should think before you spray.
It's really easy to over do it with a pressure washer, but you have to remember they can chip paint, dent wood and even etch stone.
To keep it safe, Consumer Reports says get rid of the zero-degree nozzle. CR thinks zero-degree nozzles pose a totally unnecessary risk, so if you buy a pressure washer that comes with one we suggest throwing it out.
And you might be tempted, but Consumer Reports says never pressure wash your roof, because it's dangerous. The kickback could cause a ladder to fall backwards. Plus, you end up doing more harm than good to the roofing shingles. Instead, spray the roof down with a 50-50 mix of bleach and water and let any moss die on its own.
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Here's what you can clean with a pressure washer: wood, siding made of vinyl, and fiber cement can typically hold up with pressure washing.
But you should use caution with aluminum siding. Aluminum siding can actually be easily dented, so if you're going to try to pressure wash it, start on the gentlest setting then work your way up.
Cement and asphalt walkways and driveways can stand up to the power. For moldy mildew, use lower pressure and some suds. To tackle grease stains, you'll need a finer, more targeted stream.
You can pressure wash most decks, too. Start with a lower pressure nozzle to make sure you don't etch or mark the wood, but you might not even need to. Newer composite decking actually resists staining and mildew, so you probably don't even need to clean them with a pressure washer. Generally a light scrubbing will do.