Car Advice

How to wash a car with a pressure washer

A pressure washer can cut down time when washing your car and leave it looking like a million bucks. Here’s how to wash a car with a pressure washer.

The days of using a bucket and sponge to clean your car are long gone. For those serious about cleaning their car like a pro then a pressure washer is the best way to go. Not only does a pressure washer use, on average, less water than a bucket and garden hose, it will cut down the time taken and reduce the risk of damaging your car’s paint work.

See, using a soapy sponge to clean your car can, instead of cleaning dirt away from the surface, trap it against the sponge and the vehicle causing it to almost act like sandpaper.

A pressure washer on the other hand, rinses the grit and muck away from the surface of your vehicle without you having to touch it.

Over the coming months, we’ll explain how to clean the various parts of your vehicle with a pressure washer to get the best results. Remember, though, this is general advice only.

Setting Up

Like washing your car with a bucket and sponge, it’s best to avoid washing your car in the middle of a hot summer’s day. Early morning or evening is best. But, if you absolutely must wash your car in the middle of the day and it’s boiling hot, then try and move your car into the shade for at least an hour before you start washing to allow time for the surface of the car to cool.

Get out your pressure washer and check that you’ve got everything you need. Unwind the electrical cord and connect it to power making sure that it won’t sit in water. Don’t turn the unit it on yet. Connect your garden hose making sure there are no kinks in the hose. Don’t turn it on yet either. For the sake of this article we’re going to assume your hose is connected to main’s water rather than via a water tank; not all pressure washers are capable of drawing water from a tank, even if the tank has a pump connected.

Unwind the pressure washer hose making sure there are no kinks or twists in it. Connect the hose to the lance. Depending on the make and model of your pressure washer it’ll likely have an adjustable lance that allows the water to achieve a spray fan (some brands like Gerni refer to them as an Auto Nozzle); this is the one you want to use.

The fastest car wash ever…

So, you’ve got everything you need to wash your car ready to go. Once everything is turned on and working you can approach your vehicle with the lance. Until you get the hang of using your pressure washer make sure you stand around 5-10ft from your vehicle.

Using sweeping motions up and down and side to side you can rinse off your car. Always start at the top of your vehicle and work your way down towards the bottom of the vehicle. This will ensure that any grit and muck is washed off your car and not just pushed to another part of it.

Once your car is rinsed then you can go ahead and connect a foam spraying lance if your pressure washer has one. Some, like Karcher have an inbuilt hose that can be inserted into a bottle of carwash and will draw up the liquid and spray onto your vehicle via a lance first. Using your wash and wax of choice begin spraying your car. Again, start by working your way from the top of the vehicle down.

Once you’ve applied foam to the whole of the car let it sit for a few minutes allowing it to loosen the dirt. Once this is done you can then disconnect the car wash bottle from the pressure washer and rinse your vehicle.

Once you’ve rinsed off the foam from your car you’ll be able to see if there’s any road grime, mud or bugs still clinging onto the surface. If there are, then attach your pressure washer’s ‘Auto Brush’ and begin cleaning the car, the soft bristles will agitate and loosen any muck still on your car without damaging the paint work.

Once you’ve cleaned off any remaining muck with the Auto Brush you’ll need to reconnect the spray lance and give your car one last rinse. Now, you can chamois your car to remove any water from the surface and stop it from spotting.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober