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What Is Power Washing?

Patio power washing
Patio power washing

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The appearance of our homes and properties speaks volumes. In the realm of exterior maintenance, power washing emerges as a top choice for rejuvenating surfaces. Yet, with terms like "pressure washing" and "power washing" often mingling, confusion arises. What sets power washing apart? This guide aims to demystify power washing, spotlighting its unique benefits and how it differentiates from other cleaning techniques.

What is Power Washing

Power washing, at its core, is a cleaning method that employs the use of hot water and high pressure to effectively remove dirt, grime, and other unwanted materials from various surfaces. This technique is not just about cleaning; it's about restoration. Over time, outdoor elements can take a toll on our properties, leading to the accumulation of dirt, algae, and mould. Power washing acts as a remedy, breathing new life into these surfaces.

The secret weapon of power washing is the heated water. Unlike regular pressure washing a.k.a jet washing, which uses cold or ambient temperature water, power washing utilises very hot water to break down stubborn dirt and grease stains. This heated element makes power washing particularly effective against challenges like stains on driveways or grease on patios.

For those curious about the science behind it, the heat in the water helps to loosen and dissolve substances that would otherwise be difficult to remove. When combined with the high pressure, it ensures a thorough and deep clean. This method is especially beneficial for larger areas like driveways, patios, and even commercial properties.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is another popular method of cleaning exterior surfaces, and while it shares similarities with power washing, there are key distinctions. Pressure washing relies on the force of the water jet, without the added element of heat. This high pressure water stream is powerful enough to dislodge dirt, dust, mould, and other contaminants from surfaces.

One of the primary applications of pressure washing is on surfaces that are tough and can withstand the force of the water, such as concrete surfaces, outdoor patios and driveways. The sheer force of the water can do an amazing job at removing stubborn dirt.

However, it's essential to note that while pressure washing is powerful, it doesn't have the added advantage of heated water. This means that for some particularly stubborn stains or grease marks, pressure washing might not be as effective as power washing.

Pressure Washers vs. Power Washers

The terms "pressure washer" and "power washer" are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two distinct pieces of equipment, each with its unique features and applications.

Pressure Washer: A pressure washer uses cold or ambient temperature water and relies primarily on the brute force to clean surfaces. It's versatile and can be used on a variety of surfaces, from concrete driveways, patios, wooden decks to brickwork. The main advantage of a pressure washer is its ability to deliver a powerful stream of water that can dislodge dirt, grime, and other contaminants. Given its force, it's essential to be cautious when using a pressure washer on softer surfaces to avoid damage such as wood decks.

Power Washer: On the other hand hot water power washers possess the ability to set and manipulate the temperature of the water used. Power washing machines incorporate a heating element that heats the water, making it very hot. The heated water, combined with high pressure, is especially effective against stubborn stains and grease. The heat helps break down these substances, making them easier to power wash away. Power washers are often the preferred choice for commercial spaces or areas with tough, ground-in stains.

Understanding the difference between these two is crucial, especially when deciding on the right equipment for a cleaning task. For instance, if you're looking to clean a driveway stained with oil, a power washer with its heated water might be more effective. Conversely, for general cleaning tasks, a pressure washer might suffice.

Soft Washing: A Gentle Alternative

In the world of exterior cleaning, while power and pressure washing have made their mark, there's another method that's gaining traction, especially for delicate surfaces and that's 'Soft Washing'.

Soft washing is a cleaning method that combines the use of low pressure and specialised cleaning solutions to safely remove dirt, algae, mould, and other contaminants from surfaces. Unlike the high-pressure methods, soft washing relies more on the cleaning solution than the force of the water, making it a gentler option.

Why Choose Soft Washing?

  1. Delicate Surfaces: Soft washing is ideal for surfaces that might be damaged by high pressure, such as natural stone, render, asphalt roofing, vinyl siding, and aged wood. The gentle approach ensures that these surfaces are cleaned without causing any harm.

  2. Effective Cleaning: The cleaning solutions used in soft washing are designed to tackle specific contaminants. For instance, certain solutions can target mould or algae, ensuring a thorough clean without the need for forceful water.

  3. Long-Lasting Results: Soft washing not only cleans but also treats surfaces, helping to prevent the rapid return of algae or mould. This means surfaces stay cleaner for longer.

Applications of Soft Washing: Soft washing is versatile and can be used on a range of surfaces, including render, roofs, wooden decks, fences, and even outdoor furniture. It's particularly beneficial for areas prone to mould or algae growth, as the cleaning solutions can effectively target and eliminate these contaminants.

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Benefits of Power Washing

Power washing has carved a niche in the realm of exterior cleaning, and for good reasons. It offers a plethora of benefits that go beyond just a clean surface. Here's a closer look at why this method is favoured by homeowners and business owners:

  1. Deep Cleaning: The combination of high pressure and hot water, ensures that even the most stubborn dirt, grime, and stains can be effectively removed. From stains on driveways to mould on patios, this method is great especially when a deeper clean is required.

  2. Enhanced Property Value: A clean and well-maintained exterior can significantly boost the kerb appeal and value of a property. Regular maintenance using this method ensures that your property always looks its best.

  3. Preventative Maintenance: Regular power washing can prevent the build-up of contaminants like mould, algae, and dirt. This not only keeps the property looking fresh but also prevents potential damage in the long run.

  4. Eco-Friendly: With the right equipment and techniques, power washing can be environmentally friendly. Power washing with hot water reduces the need for harsh chemicals, and the cleaning process itself uses less water than traditional methods.

  5. Versatility: From concrete driveways, brick walls and roof tiles to commercial building exteriors, power washing can be used on a wide range of surfaces. It's versatility makes it a go-to choice for various cleaning needs.

  6. Time-Saving: Compared to manual scrubbing or other cleaning methods, power washing is efficient and time-saving. Large areas can be cleaned in a fraction of the time, delivering instant results.

  7. Hygienic Clean: The hot water power washing incorporates provides a more hygienic clean compared to surfaces that are pressure washed.

Common Misconceptions and Setting the Record Straight

In the realm of exterior cleaning, misconceptions abound, especially when it comes to power and pressure washing. These myths can lead to improper cleaning techniques, potential damage, or even missed opportunities for effective maintenance. Let's debunk some of these myths and set the record straight:

"Power Washing and Pressure Washing are the Same": While they share similarities, the key difference lies in the use of heated water in power washing. This heat makes power washing more effective against certain stubborn stains.

"Any Surface Can Handle High Pressure": Not all surfaces are capable of withstanding cleaning via the use of highly pressurised water. While concrete or brick might withstand high pressure, softer surfaces like natural stone, wood or certain types of siding can be damaged if the pressure is too high.

"More Pressure Means Better Cleaning": It's a common belief that cranking up the pressure will lead to better results. However, too much pressure can damage surfaces. It's essential to use the right amount of pressure for the task at hand.

"DIY Power Washing is Just as Effective as Professional Services": While DIY can be a cost-effective solution, professionals bring expertise, experience, and specialised equipment to the table. For certain tasks, hiring a professional can ensure optimal results and safety. Check out this comparison for a deeper insight.

"Cold Water is Just as Effective as Hot Water": While cold water under high pressure can clean many surfaces, the heated water in power washing can break down and remove dirt, grime, grease and organic growth more effectively.

"Chemicals Aren't Necessary": While the force of water does a lot of the cleaning, certain contaminants, like mould or algae, might require specialised cleaning solutions to be effectively removed.


The world of exterior cleaning offers a myriad of options, but power and pressure washing stand out as two of the most effective and efficient methods. Whether you're a homeowner looking to boost curb appeal, a business owner aiming to present a clean and welcoming façade, or a DIY enthusiast keen on maintaining your property, understanding the nuances of these methods is crucial.

Power and pressure washing go beyond mere cleaning. They rejuvenate, restore, and add value to properties. The use of high pressure, and in the case of power washing, heated water, ensures that surfaces are not just clean but are also free from potentially damaging contaminants like moss, mould, algae, and grime.

For those still on the fence about which method to choose, remember that the right choice often depends on the specific cleaning task at hand. Delicate surfaces might benefit from the gentler approach of soft washing, while tougher stains on hard surfaces might require the heated power of a power washer.

In the end, the goal is a clean, well-maintained property that stands the test of time. With the right knowledge, tools, and approach, power and pressure washing can be invaluable allies in achieving this goal.

For further reading and to dive deeper into the world of exterior cleaning, Elite Jetting offers a wealth of resources, guides, and professional insights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use power or pressure washing on any surface?

While these methods are versatile, not all surfaces can handle the force or heat. Always assess the surface and choose the method accordingly. For instance, softer surfaces might benefit from soft washing or lower pressure settings.

How often should I power or pressure wash my property?

The frequency depends on the location, usage, and type of surface. Typically, driveways and patios might benefit from annual cleaning, while home exteriors could be washed every 1-2 years. However, if you notice rapid dirt accumulation or mould growth, it might be time for a wash.

Is it safe to power or pressure wash around plants?

Yes, but with caution. It's advisable to wet the plants before and after the washing process to ensure any cleaning solution residue is diluted. Also, avoid direct high-pressure streams on plants.

What's the difference between cold water and hot water pressure washers?

Cold water pressure washing is standard pressure washing. In contrast, hot water pressure washing, often referred to as power washing, uses heated water, making it more effective against grease, and stubborn stains.

Are the cleaning solutions used in soft washing harmful?

Most soft washing solutions are eco-friendly and biodegradable. However, it's always good to check the product details or consult with professionals.

Thank you for journeying through this comprehensive guide on power washing. We hope it has shed light on these effective cleaning methods and empowered you to make informed decisions for your property's upkeep.

Elite Jetting: Power Washing Pros

Considering professional power washing for your property? Look no further than Elite Jetting. With expertise and top-tier equipment, we ensure impeccable results every time. Give your property the care it deserves, reach out to Elite Jetting today!


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