Green Detergent for Your Pressure Washer

Power washing an exposed aggregate gravel driveway.
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30-50
What You'll Need
Pressure washer
White vinegar
1/3 cup of phosphate-free laundry soap
2/3 cup of powdered household cleanser
1 Gallon of water
1 Large bucket
Rubber gloves
Eye protection
Face shield

Choosing the best detergent to use in a pressure washer is a very important thing to consider when using one for cleaning, and the best kind is an environmentally friendly variety. Green detergents are good for the planet and prove to be effective cleaners as well. They are made up of mild soap and chemical agents that turn into a biodegradable material when mixed with water, and they do not leave harmful chemical residue on any surface.

Detergent allows the washer to easily lift dirt, stains, and other contaminants such as molds and mildew. Stains and molds are very difficult to remove even when using a power washer. However, if an effective detergent is used, then the cleaning process will be easier.

Liquid and Powder Pressure Washer Detergent

Power washer detergents come in two forms: liquid and powder. Liquid detergents are usually packed in concentrated forms and are placed inside ready-to-use bottles. Powder detergent, on the other hand, needs to be dissolved in water before use. Both pressure washer detergents can be applied directly on the surface to be cleaned or can be used in the washer itself, mixing with water from the tank as it sprays. It can be also be applied before using the pressure washer as well as during the cleaning process. Manufacturers provide the proper dilution proportions, so make sure to follow instructions before proceeding.

Most green detergents only come in liquid forms and will advertise that they are eco-friendly. If you're unsure of which brand to buy, consult your local gardening or home improvement professional.

Where to Use Pressure Washer Detergents

The detergent can be applied to many different surfaces such as windows, bricks, vinyl siding, garage doors, and concrete walls. Pressure washer detergents can also be used to clean fences and gates made of metal as well as vehicles, driveways, and walkways as long as you have the right attachments for your machine.

Making a Homemade Green Detergent

An eco-friendly detergent can also be made easily using a few simple ingredients. Mix 1/3 cup of phosphate-free laundry soap, 2/3 cup of powdered household cleanser, and 1 gallon of water in a large bucket. Stir the mixture slowly to avoid making it sudsy, and mix it up well. Pour the solution into the tank of your pressure washer and clean all of your appropriate surfaces regularly.

Frequently washing with a general cleanser such as this one should prevent more severe buildup on any of your household surfaces. However, if you're not careful and diligent in your cleaning, mold, and mildew can become a problem. To remove it more naturally, the best solution is white vinegar. An undiluted solution can be sprayed directly onto the affected areas and be left to dry to kill mildew and mold. This way, there is no need to damage your plants and your soil with chemicals like bleach.

Preparation for Cleaning

Before you use the natural detergents, make sure you pre-wash the surface with hot water. That will loosen hardened stains and debris from whatever you're aiming to clean.

If you using the detergent before the pressure washer, rather than in the machine, spray the detergent and allow it to sit for a few minutes first. Add more detergent if necessary depending on the state of the mess you're cleaning after the first dose.

Opting for a green pressure washing detergent will not only prevent damage to your surrounding plants, but it will ensure that the runoff from your cleaning endeavors doesn't do any harm to the rest of the environment. Green solutions can be less powerful than their chemical counterparts and require more work to ensure that things stay clean, but it's well worth the effort in the end.