How to Pressure Wash Your Car? (Easy Tips and Tricks)

A pressure washer is a powerful tool that can make cleaning your car easier and faster. You can use one to blast away grime, mud, and road salt quickly. But before you start hosing down your car, it’s important to understand how to pressure wash your car correctly. 

How To Pressure Wash You Car

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps of washing your car with a pressure washer. We’ll also offer some tips on getting the best results.

Here’s how to pressure wash your car like a pro:

Step 1: Gather all The Necessary Supplies

Before starting to clean your car with a pressure washer, it is essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials needed for the job. You will need:

Step 2: Find a Good Spot to Wash Your Car.

You’ll need a place where you can easily reach all sides of your car. Most importantly, choose a concrete or black-top surface area to park your car. Avoid gravelled surfaces as it may lead to kicking up stones while pressure washing, which could damage your car paint or crack your car’s window. 

Step 3: Choose the Appropriate Pressure Level in Your Pressure Washer.

You should use a pressure washer that is powerful enough to wash your car (PSI: pounds per square inch) and delivers enough water (GPM: Gallons Per Minute). The higher the PSI, the more forceful the water will be when released from the tip. The higher the GPM, the more water the washer will release.

It is recommended to choose a pressure washer with a setting of 1200-1900 PSI. It is a safe PSI to use on cars, as it ensures no damage to your car’s paintwork.

Step 4: Choose the Correct Nozzle.

Every pressure washer comes with a number of tips or nozzles that help in shaping the spray pattern. Choosing the right tip or nozzle is just as important as selecting the right pressure level to prevent damage to your car paint. Using the correct nozzle ensures that water is evenly distributed across your car for thorough washing. 

For car washing, using a 25-degree and 40-degree nozzle will work great. A 25-degree spray pattern works best for the wheels and wheel wells. On the other hand, a 40-degree tip is good to use on the rest of the car’s exterior. As a plus point, the latest pressure washers ensure easy switching of the nozzles in between the car washing process; thus saving you from any hassle.

Step 5: Start with a Pre-washing.

Pre-washing means rinsing off the top layer of dirt and grime or mud stuck on your car’s surface before applying any soap or detergent to your car. To start pre-washing, set your pressure washer to “water output” and use a 40-degree nozzle tip.

Start with the roof. Hold the pressure washer wand about 4-5 feet away from the surface of the car, and move it back and forth as you work your way down the roof. Make sure to close all the windows, car doors, and trunks to avoid wetting the car interiors. 

Continue to spray downward and remove any mud or debris stuck on the side panels, wheels, and hubcaps. Clean the wheel wells too. It is recommended not to spray directly into the front gill as it can cause damage to the car’s radiator. Spraying downward at a 45-degree angle would be the best practice here.

Step 6: Apply Soap or Detergent.

Most pressure washers come with a soap tank or special compartments for cleaning detergents. Make sure to use a detergent that is compatible with your car pressure washer

Never use domestic washing detergent for the cleaning process, as it may remove the wax finish of the paint. 

Now, fill the soap tank with the diluted soap solution (make sure to check the water-to-soap concentrate ratio). Then, set your pressure washer to the Soap setting and start cleaning from the top of your vehicle; work your way down, applying detergent all over your vehicle. 

Let the detergent stay on your vehicle for at least 5-10 minutes (don’t let it dry). It helps in breaking down the soil.

In case your pressure washer lacks a soap tank, you can apply the detergent by hand using a rag, sponge, or clean microfiber car wash mitt.  

Pro Tip

  • Pressure Washer compatible detergents are sold as concentrates and need to be diluted with water before they are applied to a vehicle.
  • Be sure to follow the detergent manufacturer’s recommendation for the water-to-concentrate ratio.

Step 7: Rinse it Off.

To rinse off the detergent from your vehicle, start by setting your pressure washer to “Water Output.” Here, you will use a 40-degree tip. Now, hold the pressure washer at a 45-degree angle and start from the roof and work your way to the hood, trunk, and sides, rinsing off all the detergent thoroughly. Repeat the process two or three times until the vehicle gets completely cleaned.

Pro Tip

If you are washing your car in direct sunlight, wash one side at a time, rinsing off the soap before it dries. 

Step 8: Dry It Out.

This final step of drying out your vehicle is very important. To dry your car, you can use a thick, high-quality microfiber cloth or towel and gently wipe it across the finish to ensure no water spots are left behind. Then, again start from the top and work your way down. 

To get the best drying results, you can also use the best car blow dryer. It works in a jiffy, especially if your car has been waxed or coated.

And Done!

Remember These Important Points While Using a Pressure Washer to Wash Your Car

  • When you turn on your pressure washer, aim the nozzle at the ground first to start the initial burst of water.
  • Do not spray inside the engine.
  • The nozzle should be kept further away from the car’s windows, lights, and other fragile parts when cleaning them.
  • Do not spray directly at the panel gaps for too long.
  • Use only appropriate detergent compatible with your pressure washer and car both. 

Following these steps and smart tips while using a pressure washer on your car, you will surely get the best cleaning results.

Read Next: Is Pressure Washer Good For Cleaning Cars?


  1. I agree with you. Washing cars with a pressure washer nozzle is not the most harmless but quickest way to bring a spotless car back. The water pressure can damage the car paint if you choose the wrong degrees. Thanks for your article.

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