A pressure washer is often all you need to clean some outdoor items, and it is often much quicker to do than a lengthy scrub with soap and water. While pressure washing has many benefits, it can do more harm than good when it comes to some materials – especially those used for garden furniture sets and flooring. Here are the three outdoor surfaces you should never clean with a pressure washer and exactly what to use instead.
What can’t be cleaned with a pressure washer?
There’s no denying that pressure washing is the most efficient way to clean the exterior of your home, but not all materials are made to withstand the force of the water.
In fact, experts have warned that it could cause irreversible damage to some painted, paved and wooden items.
Even if you have blitzed these items with the powerful jets of a pressure washer before, it is best to take a more gentle approach to prevent further damage to your garden items.
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There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the colour of decking change colour as you jet wash the surface, but it isn’t always as effective as you may think.
According to Alan Jeffrey from Ultra Decking, this rapid cleaning technique is safe for most hardwood decking styles, though it should be avoided if you have a composite deck.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “While they can be used, too much pressure close to the surface can cause damage, meaning it’s better to avoid using them altogether.
“If you do, spraying in the direction of the board is the best option for avoiding any issues.”
Patios and paving slabs are a common feature in British gardens and are one of the most obvious areas to deep-clean with a pressure washer.
However, Cass Heaphy from Paving Direct claimed that this should be avoided where possible.
He told Express.co.uk: “The frequent use of pressure washers should be avoided as they can damage the face of the paving if concentrated on an area, or if the water jet is too strongly pressured.
“Always test on an unobtrusive area prior to starting the cleaning process.”
In addition to doing a quick patch test on your garden paving slabs, it is best to do some research into what type of stone your patio is made of before getting started.
Mr Heaphy explained that pressure washing natural stone is not recommended as it may damage the joint pointing.
He added: “Pressure washing may also damage the face of reconstituted stone and concrete paving so make sure you check the materials of your patio before purchasing.”
To keep paving clean, a little bit of elbow grease is best. Just fill a bucket with water and dish soap and get scrubbing with a hard-bristled brush.
Teak is loved for its attractive colour and grain as well as its strong resistance to weathering, splits and cracks.
This highly durable material makes it easy to keep in good condition and requires little in the way of a deep clean, so a harsh jet wash simply isn’t necessary.
While teak furniture is able to withstand the force of the weather, the intensity of a pressure washer can be too much for the wood.
Teak furniture retailer, Atlanta Teak said: “As teak ages, it will turn silver, but it won’t get
bumpy or rough as the natural oils throughout the wood protect it.
“However, the force of the pressure washer will create splinters, pits and bumps.”
If you have pressure-washed teak unknowingly, the best solution is to lightly sand the surface back until the smooth texture is restored.
Wiping the furniture down with a soapy water and vinegar solution is best for cleaning, just be sure to finish it with a little bit of teak oil.