Cleaning Car With Pressure Washer Guide And Tips

My husband is thinking to buy a pressure washer , main reason is to wash his car, but also to use it around the house, drive way etc…but we have no idea which one to buy, which PSI is strong enought to clean the car without damaging the car. He baby his car very much! Does anyone know what is the best PSI pressure washer for car wash?? is there any pressure washer that has adjustible pressure?  Thank you!

I use a 2400psi Karcher and make it a rule to use the 15* tip (yellow) and to stay at least 20″ from the surface. Any closer and you do chance blowing paint off; maybe not on a new car, but anything with older paint it’s way too easy to do. I’ve seen it happen before! Or just use a lower pressure electric, or a standard hose. Is it safe to use pressure washer to wash car?


Pressure Washing Your Car Tips

Now a day’s pressure washing your vehicle is becoming ever so popular. We find pressure washing units at almost any self-car wash and almost every house hold has made the jump to buy one. They are great around the house and you can pretty much find substantial use for it with whatever you are doing that involves both water and cleaning. Things like washing your windows, cleaning the driveway and the chore that made the pressure washer most popular, washing the deck. When it comes to your vehicle, you never settle for less. You want the safest and easiest way to remove dirt from it. The benefit with using a power washer is that it is fast and effective at removing soap and suds from the vehicles body. Not to mention it is simply the best for cleaning wheel wheels, rims and tires. One tip that I recommend doing before you use the pressure washer on your vehicle is to first rinse the dirt of with just the hose, no attachment. The free flowing action of the water lifts and carries contaminants down and off your vehicle. This is the safest way to avoid pushing dirt, sand and grime into your vehicles finish. Now there are many ways to go about washing your vehicle. Below I am going to outline a few quick and easy steps to help you along your journey and possibly save you some time.

  1. Use the proper attachment for soaping. If your unit doesn’t come with a soap dispenser then buying one is probably your best bet.
  2. Rinse the already rinsed vehicle with your water and soap mixture. Be sure to get under the vehicle as well as the wheel wells and wheels.
  3. If there are really dirty spots or the wheels are caked on with break dust, use a wash mit or brush to scrub it out.
  4. Once the soap process is complete and you feel happy with your progress continue by turning of the soap or detaching the soap attachment. You can now begin to mix and rinse of all the soap of your vehicle.
  5. Once you are done doing that you can either leave your vehicle to dry in the sun but it is recommended to use a microfiber/chamois to dry your vehicle.

Using a pressure washer can be very beneficial and an effective alternative to help you save loads of time and energy. If you are really into your vehicle then you might be in the market for a mini water filtration device. This device can be attached to your unit through the garden house by connecting it after the hose and before the pressure washer. This filtration device filters out sediments that can cause water spots on your vehicle which can be intensified by leaving your vehicle to dry in the sun over long periods of time.

Every pressure washer is different and there are specified pressure washers that I think are much better than others. When thinking about making a purchase, consider factors such as price, reliability, durability, power, consumer reports, and quality.

I hope you enjoyed the tips I shared with you, please feel free to leave your comment.

How to clean car interior infographic


How much psi do you need to clean car?

Choose a pressure washer with a setting of 1200 – 1900 PSI. It’s safe to use for cars, so you won’t need to worry about damaging the paint on your car. Experts recommend using a pressure washer with 1.4 – 1.6 GPM. There are several different sizes of nozzles that can be used with a pressure washer.

How do you wash a car with a pressure washer?

  1. Start by using the pressure washer to rinse the car with plain water.
  2. Use the pressure washer to apply detergent to the car (usually the black nozzle tip).
  3. Let the detergent remain on the car for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Use a car brush to remove any dirt or grime.
  5. Use the green pressure washer nozzle to rinse off the detergent, working from top to bottom.


  • Set the pressure washer on the delicate setting (about 2,000 PSI).
  • Use a nozzle with a wide spray pattern (usually the green nozzle tip) to avoid damaging the paint.
  • Wash the car on a hard (concrete or asphalt) surface.
  • Never spray inside the engine.
  • Keep the nozzle further away when cleaning windows, lights, and other fragile parts of the car.

9 Steps Wash Your Car Like a Pro

If you care about your car’s exterior, you’ll avoid those quickie car washes with the big brushes that can do more harm than good and do a DIY car wash that will achieve the best results.

#1. Evaluate the Condition of Your Vehicle

Evaluating the condition of your vehicle will steer you towards how it should be cleaned. A new car or one that already has a good coat of wax on it, may only need a wash and wax to maintain it, but a car with an average to neglected exterior may need to be clean and polished as well.

#2. Read the Label

Before using any type of car cleaning chemical, it is important to read the label. The application for soap, wax, or detailer can vary from brand to brand and vehicle to vehicle. For example, using a chrome wheel cleaner which is extremely acidic on an aluminum wheel can ruin it. Also invest in premium microfiber clothes and keep separate piles for those used on your paint, wheels, and windows. Wash your towels and cleaning mitts after every use.

#3. Washing Your Car

Washing your car will remove loose contaminants such as dust, dirt, and mud from the exterior of your vehicle. Always use a car washing soap and not a liquid detergent or dish cleaner, which can damage the paint and strip away wax. Rinse your car first to remove larger pieces of dirt which can scratch your car when washing, and use clean mitts and drying cloths.

#4. Prepare the Surface

After washing you can easily see scratches, swirls, and oxidation in your paint and feel for bonded contaminants such as overspray or tree sap that washing doesn’t remove. Just run your hand over a washed vehicle, and if you can feel little bumps, then you need to go a step further with cleaning your car.

A clay bar can be used to remove stubborn bonded contaminants. It will remove everything off the surface of your vehicle including wax and will restore smoothness to the paint. Start by kneading it into a flat wafer and use a detailer as a lubricant. Hold it in the palm of one hand and run it across the surface of your car.

To remove scratches and etching that are below the surface, you’ll need to use a compound. They can be applied by hand using applicator pads or by using a dual-action polisher, and wiped away soon after applying. A compound paint cleaner needs to be worked into the finish and can sometimes require a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th application. Some scratches are too deep and only a paint touch-up will repair them.

#5. Polishing for Extra Gloss

This step is optional and can be compared to applying lotion on your skin. Polish can be applied by hand or with a dual-action polisher, and the conditioning oils add depth of color and maximum gloss prior to waxing, especially on dark colored vehicles.

#6. Wax to Protect

Waxing is like sunscreen for your car. It adds a layer of protection from UV rays to prevent fading, as well as anything that may land on the paint. It preserves your high gloss finish and is available in a carnauba or polymer form. Both types of wax perform the same, but a polymer wax won’t haze as it dries and can usually be wiped off soon after applying. The choice between using carnauba or polymer wax is similar to choosing synthetic or regular engine oil. Polymer is a bit more expensive but is easier to apply and some say performs better.

#7. Maintain a Shine and Protection

After you’ve done the hard work of washing, cleaning, and protecting your car, you’ll need to take steps to maintain it’s appearance. Keep a spray detailer and clean microfiber cloth in your trunk, which can come in handy for quickly removing dust, overspray, and bird droppings.

If your car is relatively clean and all of these steps seem daunting and time-consuming, a one-step cleaner wax may be the best choice for you. After washing your car, use it to clean, polishing, and protect your car in one product. It can be applied by hand or with a polisher and you’ll achieve much better results using a product like this instead of just going straight to wax after washing.

#8. Wash the Windows

Stay away from Windex and other household glass cleaners as they contain ammonia which can damage a car’s window tint. Use an auto window cleaner for best results and wipe down twice to ensure the cleaner is removed.

#9. Wash the Wheels

The most important wheel cleaning tip is to use the product that has been specifically formulated for your type of wheel. If you don’t know what type of wheels you have, then go with the least powerful version which is an acid-free pH balanced aluminum wheel cleaner as these can be used on all type of wheels.

Consumer reviews cleaning car with pressure washer include comments such as:

I have used my business’ 4000 PSI 4gpm industrial hot water pressure washer on my car.. it’s great, especially for brake dust on my rims.The pencil jet should not be touched by anyone, it doenst have any applications for a car. for a car, you could use a small electric washer and get a good result.. it will just take longer.

Tips when you clean car when I use 2000 psi electric pressure washer:

Don’t hold the pressure washer too close (< 1 foot) to the paint

Don’t pressure wash your engine bay (except from a distance)

Don’t Pressure wash over paint chips

Don’t pressure wash directly against tires.

Those are things you should not do, but aside from that you’re fine. Also common sense.

Neither had I, until I blew up the tire on a ford escape when I was detailing it for delivery. If you hold the washer too close, it will eat a hole in the tire. I was trying to get some greasy shit off the side of a tire, so I just pressure washed it. The nozzle was probably about 4 inches away (“It’s a tire” I thought, “what could even happen” I thought.) and then “BOOM!” the tire blew up. I got off the hook by saying I saw a nail in the tire and we called it a warranty claim. But it was not that. It was the pressure washer.

I think 1800psi is a good enough pressure to wash your car with, you do t need anymore than that before it starts causing any problems.

If you don’t want to do damage to your car then only use the pressure washer for wheels, wheel wells, engine compartment and under carriage. I don’t recommend ever using pressure washers on the paint. I don’t use the car wash wands either. Water from a hose is all the pressure you want, if you want to keep the paint in good shape.

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