What Equipment Is Needed To Start A Pressure Washing Business

What Equipment Is Needed To Start A Pressure Washing Business

, by Kelly Nielsen, 17 min reading time

Professional exterior cleaning companies use much more than just a pressure washing machine and a few attachments. If you’re going to offer a quality service at competitive rates in the pressure washing and soft washing industry, you’re going to need to invest in professional grade equipment that will allow you to complete exterior cleaning projects safely and efficiently. When choosing equipment for your pressure washing & soft washing business, you’re going to want to use the highest quality tools and equipment in the industry. 

As a professional exterior cleaner, it’s important to know the difference between soft washing and pressure washing and when to use each method. 



What Is Soft Washing?

Soft Washing is the safer alternative to pressure washing used by exterior cleaning professionals. Rather than using harmful water pressure, professional grade chemicals are used in the soft washing process to emulsify dirt and grime, break down bug nests/webs, remove orange rust/irrigation stains, remove oxidation and remove black and green organic stains caused by mold, mildew, algae and bacteria. Soft washing is safe for almost all exterior surfaces and completely sanitizes the surface without causing damage like pressure washing can. Chemicals are typically applied at 100 PSI or less and exterior surfaces are rinsed at 500 PSI or less (depending on the surface). 

Chemical Application Methods For Soft Washing

There are a few different ways to apply chemicals to exterior surfaces. Exterior cleaning professionals draw chemicals with attachments using a pressure washing machine and also use dedicated soft washing pump set ups that allow full strength chemical applications. 

Attachments For A Pressure Washing Machine

Soft washing can be done with a pressure washing machine by using larger orifice tips and a down stream injector or x-jet application system. Using this method allows the exterior cleaning professional to spray 3+ stories from the ground. However, using these attachments with your pressure washing machine won’t allow you to apply chemicals at a strong enough ratio to do some roofs and treat heavily soiled flatwork. A down stream injector draws no more than a 10:1 chemical to water ratio (unless force fed) and an x-jet draws no more than a 50/50 chemical to water ratio. 

Dedicated Soft Washing Pumps

To apply chemicals at a stronger ratio, a dedicated soft washing pump is needed. Unlike a pressure washing machine, these pumps are designed so that chemicals can run directly through the pump without causing damage. 

12 Volt Soft Washing Pumps

12v soft washing pumps are powered by a 12v deep cycle marine battery and are the most popular soft washing pumps because they are affordable, take up very little space, are quiet and don’t require fuel to operate. 12v soft washing pumps are typically capable of 5-11GPM and as much as 150 PSI depending on the pump.


Gas Powered Soft Washing Pumps

Some exterior cleaning professionals prefer to use gas powered soft washing pumps due to the fact that they are able to produce more PSI than 12v or air diaphragm pumps. This allows them to rinse with the same pump using a remote system. Most gas powered soft washing pumps can achieve between 200-500 PSI. The biggest downside to using a gas powered soft washing pump is that they have to be run with a bypass line to keep from overheating the pump. If a chemical metering manifold is being used, a minimum of 25ft bypass line is required and this will still give the operator only 10 minutes of time off the trigger before the pump overheats.


Metering Valves For Proportioning Chemicals

Metering valves are used by exterior cleaning professionals so that they don’t have to batch mix their chemicals when using dedicated soft washing pumps. These valves are metered incrementally to really fine-tune the strength of  the chemical mixture. Most exterior cleaning professionals have a manifold with 4 metering valves drawing from a water tank, bleach tank, surfactant tank, and a “stinger” line for other miscellaneous chemicals. The perfect mix for each exterior surface is dialed in and blended through the manifold. 

When Pressure Washing Is Needed

Pressure washing utilizes high PSI from a pressure washing machine ranging from 2000-4000 PSI. Pressure washing is also referred to as “power washing” or “pressure cleaning”. Exterior cleaning professionals use the mechanical energy of high-pressure water for organic stain removal, paint/graffiti removal, chewing gum removal, and tar removal from hard surfaces such as concrete, sidewalks, and pavers. High pressure is also used to strip failed sealer from pavers and remove sand and debris from paver joints prior to re-sanding and sealing. When removing gum, tar, sealer and caked up grease, high pressure is often paired with high heat from a diesel fired burner. 

A walk behind surface cleaner tool with a rotating spray arm is often used for pressure washing flatwork (concrete and pavers) to provide an efficient, even cleaning. A “turbo tip” attachment  is often used in tight spots that a surface cleaner can’t fit in, for removing growth from paver joints, and for removing graffiti/paint from vertical surfaces. A surface cleaner or turbo tip should NEVER be used to clean wood or painted surfaces. There is a safer method to clean delicate surfaces called soft washing. 


Blog posts

© 2024 Outdoor Cleaning Store, Powered by Shopify

    • American Express
    • Discover
    • Mastercard
    • Shop Pay
    • Visa


    Forgot your password?

    Don't have an account yet?
    Create account