Pressure Washing Safety 101: A Beginner’s Guide


A pressure washing machine (also known as a power washer) is an amazing tool for anyone cleaning the exterior of their home or business. It can cut the time needed to clean your building exponentially and save you money compared to other cleaning methods. Though these machines can be very convenient, they can also carry unexpected consequences if used improperly. 

As the famous superhero Spider Man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” When working with a power washer, it’s important to follow all safety protocols to ensure you and your property remain unharmed. If this is your first time pressure washing, it may be smart to hire a professional or ask an experienced friend to show you the ropes. However, if you do want to tackle pressure washing on your own, you’re in luck! Below, we’ve outlined a list of the biggest risks to look out for and what precautions to take so you can power wash like a pro – safely!

Risks To Avoid

  1. Direct Contact with High Pressure Water: This one may seem self-explanatory but you’d be surprised how often this issue comes up. As the name “pressure wash” implies, water from these machines comes out very fast and has the potential to do a lot of harm. If any part of your body is hit by the high-pressure stream of water, you may receive a few scratches or develop a rash and not think much of it. However, the real danger is what happens internally. With so much pressure being exerted on your body at once, damage can be done to arteries, blood vessels, and potentially vital organs. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a pressure washing machine, seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY. Your injury may not be bad now, but letting it go untreated could turn it into a much bigger problem down the road.

  2. Flying Debris: Another issue often overlooked is flying debris. Since the pressure washing machine is shooting out water at such a high velocity, any rocks, sticks, or other debris it comes in contact with will also travel at the same speed. This is why it’s important to wear proper eye protection and clothing to ensure you and anyone else in the area is safe.

  3. Electric Shock: Electric pressure washing machines are becoming more and more popular every year, and for good reason. They’re usually lighter and more portable than a traditional gas powered machine, though less powerful. Because this is an electric machine and there is water involved, there is always the possibility of electrocution. Though these machines are designed to be safe, conduct regular maintenance checks to ensure your power washer has no exposed wires or crack on the body. If you do see a maintenance issue, get the machine serviced before using.

  4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: If you decide to use a gas powered machine, it’s important to remember that the machine will produce exhaust. If you are to pressure wash the interior of a building, parking garage, barn, or any enclosed space, it’s vital to leave the machine in a well ventilated area, using extension hoses to move around.

How to Avoid the Risks

Here’s a list of safety precautions to get you pressure washing safely like a pro!

  1. Never point a pressure washer at yourself or others

  2. Never attempt to push or move objects with the spray from the washer

  3. Never use a gas powered machine in an enclosed area (indoors)

  4. Always plug a properly grounded pressure washer into a properly grounded receptacle

  5. If an extension cord is needed, keep the connection between the two power cords as far away from water as possible. Also, only use heavy duty extension cords with components rated for use in wet locations

  6. Wear rubber-soled shoes that provide insulation when pressure washing

  7. Never remove the grounding prong from the pressure washer’s power cord plug or the extension cord

  8. Always have a qualified electrician check the pressure washer for electrical problems after it has tripped a circuit breaker

  9. Never let children operate a pressure washer and keep kids at a safe distance when the machine is in use

Pressure washing your property can be a very satisfying experience. It can be almost magical to see your building transform from looking old to brand new in just a couple hours. If you are just starting out on your pressure washing journey, we wish you the best and hope this safety guide has been helpful! 

However, with so much potential to cause injury and damage to your property, we understand not everyone wants to power wash DIY and would prefer to hire a professional. If you fall into this second category, Bayside is here for you! 

Our number one goal is to save you time, money, and stress when it comes to exterior cleaning. The Bayside team is full of professionals that have years of experience on how to keep your family and property safe. We start every job with a free estimate so you know exactly what you’re getting into – no obligations, no hidden fees, 100% transparency. Click the button below to start your journey to stress free maintenance!

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