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What Surfaces & Items Shouldn’t Be Pressure Cleaned?

Pressure cleaning is an incredibly effective way to remove dirt, grime, mold, and various other substances from all kinds of surfaces. It can restore the look of driveways, siding, decks, and countless other areas around your home or business. However, just as a surgeon would not use a scalpel on every ailment, not every surface or item should be exposed to the high-intensity nature of pressure cleaning. Today, we will take a closer look at the “do-not-pressure-clean” list, highlighting surfaces and items that could be damaged by this approach and offering alternative solutions to keep them looking their best.

1. Softwood Surfaces

Wood is a material that can benefit greatly from pressure cleaning when it’s hard enough to withstand the force. However, softwoods like pine or cedar can be easily damaged by high-pressure cleaning. These woods are soft and can be gouged, leading to an uneven surface that may require sanding or replacement. Instead, we recommend a gentle wash with a soft bristle brush and a specialized wood cleaner that can remove contaminants without damaging the surface.

2. Asphalt Roofing

When it comes to cleaning your roof, it is important to exercise caution at all times. Asphalt shingles can be stripped of their protective granules under the force of a pressure washer, leading to premature aging and the need for roof repair or replacement. The high pressure can also force water up under the shingles, creating potential for leaks and mold growth. We suggest consulting with a professional who specializes in non-pressure or soft-wash roof cleaning techniques.

3. Old Mortar

Brick buildings and structures can stand up to pressure cleaning in specific situations, but if you’re dealing with historical or particularly old masonry where the mortar is crumbling or missing, steer clear of using high pressure. The force can blast the mortar completely out, leading to weakened structural integrity. We advise using a gentle method that combines a soft brush and appropriate brick-cleaning detergents.

4. Vehicles (Especially Classic Cars)

While a commercial car wash often employs low-pressure sprays for washing cars, using a high-powered pressure washer on your vehicle, especially classic cars with paint that isn’t as resilient as modern cars, can result in scratched paint and dented bodywork. Water can also force its way into seals and crevices, causing interior water damage or possible electrical issues. A hand wash using car-friendly soaps and sponges or soft cloths is usually a safer bet for keeping your vehicle clean.

5. Stained Wood

Stained wood can be impacted by harsh pressure cleaning, stripping away the finish along with any dirt or mildew that’s being targeted. When the goal is to clean without removing the stain, opt for a gentler approach. Use a mild cleaner and a non-abrasive tool like a cloth or soft-bristled brush. If you decide the stain needs refreshing, then removing the old stain with a pressure washer, followed by repairs and a new stain application, could be an effective use of the tool.

6. Windows

Windows are vulnerable to cracks or shattering under the concentrated force of a pressure washer. Additionally, water can seep into the window frames, leading to water damage or mold growth within. A hose set to a gentle flow or a bucket of soapy water and a squeegee are safer and effective ways to get your windows sparkling again.

7. Lead Paint

If your surface is painted and you suspect it might be lead-based paint (common in homes built before 1978), it’s essential to steer clear of pressure cleaning. Disturbing lead paint can release harmful lead dust into the air, which is a serious health hazard, especially for children and pregnant women. Professional lead removal services can conduct safe lead paint remediation following environmental regulations.

8. Living Plants

Plants might seem resilient, but the sheer force of a pressure washer can strip them of their bark, break their stems, and severely damage or kill them. It’s best to cover plants or use alternative cleaning methods around your landscaping to ensure their survival.

9. Air Conditioners

The fins on air conditioner units are delicate and can be easily bent or damaged by pressure cleaning, affecting their efficiency. Moreover, forcing water into the unit can damage the internal components. Using a garden hose on a gentle setting and a commercial coil cleaner is recommended for maintenance rather than the brute force of a pressure washer. 

10. Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Outdoor lighting fixtures aren’t designed to withstand pressure cleaning. Water can short the circuit, and the pressure can break delicate parts or remove finishes. Cleaning should be done with a damp cloth, and possibly a gentle cleaner, to ensure the longevity and functionality of your fixtures.

Is Soft washing Safe For Items That Can’t Be Pressure Cleaned?

At Perfect Pressure Cleaning, we understand that not all surfaces can handle the intense force that comes with traditional pressure cleaning. This is precisely why we offer soft washing as an alternative service ideal for items that can’t withstand high pressure but still require thorough cleaning.

Soft washing utilizes low-pressure water combined with specialized cleaning solutions designed to effectively remove dirt, algae, mold, and other organic stains without the risk of damage associated with high-pressure washing. Our eco-friendly detergents are meticulously selected to ensure they are gentle on surfaces while being tough on grime.

When it comes to delicate features of your home or property like roof shingles, wood siding, or even outdoor fabrics, soft washing is not only safe but recommended. The process prevents the wear and deterioration that can result from high-pressure methods. Moreover, soft washing does more than just clean; it sanitizes surfaces, killing spores and preventing growth for longer periods.

As a dedicated pressure cleaning company that values the integrity of your property, Perfect Pressure Cleaning is committed to delivering the right cleaning solution tailored to the needs of your items. Our experienced technicians assess each situation to apply the safest and most effective cleaning technique. So, rest assured that with our soft washing service, your property is in gentle and capable hands.

At Perfect Pressure Cleaning, we’re advocates for doing the job right, which not only includes knowing when and how to pressure wash but also knowing when not to. Pressure cleaning is a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can work wonders. However, recognizing when a softer touch is needed is a crucial part of maintaining your property in an effective and responsible way. If you’re ever uncertain about whether a surface can withstand pressure cleaning or not, don’t hesitate to reach out to us: our professionals are here to offer advice or provide alternative cleaning solutions tailored to your needs. We can ensure that all the surfaces and items around your property are treated with the care and consideration they deserve. To get started with your personalized services, contact us today.

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