Constant exposure to the outdoors often leaves the decks and siding of houses damp with moisture and crusted with dirt and debris, creating an ideal environment for mold and mildew formation. Just as the pressure washer helped us rejuvenate our driveway, it can also help return our home's exterior to its former glory. Here's how:
Prepare: Pick up the right cleaner. Pressure wash formulas are specific to surfaces (for example, acids are good for penetrating and cleaning wood, but they can damage concrete). So first determine what kind of pressure wash formula you need—or use a general purpose cleaner, such as Zep Commercial's All-in-1 Pressure Washing Concentrate, which works on any surface.
Saturate: Remove any nearby furniture and spray the siding, deck and any surrounding plants with water using a low pressure nozzle on the pressure washer. This will protect plants from the cleaning solution, knock off loose sediment and help the solution to clean more effectively.
Apply: If your pressure washer works with chemicals, connect the concentrate to the injector. Start spraying from the bottom of the siding and slowly work your way up—then move to the deck. If spraying doesn't loosen tough dirt spots, attach a rotating or utility brush to the end of the pressure washer's wand to scrub them off.
If you are using a pressure washer that doesn't accept chemicals, apply the diluted concentrate manually with a chemical-resistant sprayer. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions for the exact water-to-chemical ratio.
Relax: Take a break and grab a cold drink and let concentrate sit on your siding and deck for 10 minutes (or the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer). Just don't let it dry or you might end up with streaks.
Re-Saturate: Remove the concentrate bottle from the pressure washer's injector and spray the siding and deck down with water—this time starting from the top. To prevent any future mold, mildew and algae growth, spray the area with an inhibitor and/or protectant, like Zep Commercial Clear Shell Mold & Mildew Inhibitor.
Follow these 5 steps and the neighborhood will know that you can Clean Like a Pro. Be sure to come back next week for the third installment in our pressure washing series: cleaning patio furniture.