Can You Use a Pressure Washer on a Car?

Can you use a pressure/power washer on a car? The simple answer to this question is “YES”. Though some people discourage to use it, their points are weak. But, using a power washer for your car needs watchfulness. You cannot just get a washer and start washing right away. So, you need to follow the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

You can wash your car with either a gas or an electric power washer. All you need is to know the appropriate way. Even for a newbie, it takes time to learn how to start a power washer. So, it is no wonder that you have to learn how to use the power washer for your car cleaning.

In this article, we will be discussing every point that you need to know to become a pro! Read on the article to learn things properly.

can you use a pressure washer on a car

Steps of Using a Pressure Washer on a Car

We have discussed so many aspects that a power washer owner or a car owner who wants to wash his/her car should know. To keep things simpler and convenient for you, we have laid down the process step by step. We recommend you to read carefully to implement these steps.

When & How Often You Should Wash Your Car

Thre is no hard and fast rule for washing your car. Moreover, washing several times won’t harm your car if you know the way. But, you should maintain a schedule that keeps your car clean and fit at the same time.

Generally, experts recommend that you clean your car every after 2 to 3 weeks. But, you shouldn’t stick to this time frame. For example, if you ride your car in hot weather, you should wash it just after the ride. Because there are some pressure washer parts and compartments in your car that can’t tolerate the excess heat. All of these sections do not have a self-cooling facility!

In the same way, if you ride your car during rain or on a muddy road, you should wash it. The rain has the purest form of water but the dirt and rubbles on the road don’t.  As a result, the spinning of the wheels makes the whole vehicle dirty! So, you need to wash your car.

Another important issue comes up if your home is near to the sea-shore. Or, if you visit any sea-beach regularly riding your car. The salty air of the sea will have a devastating impact on most parts of your car. The salt corrodes almost every metal of the car. So, you need to wash the car to save it from damage.

Are you getting that the attractive looking of your car is not the only outcome from the washing? It saves your pocket at the same time!

Selecting the Right Pressure Washer & Nozzles

Failing to pick the right pressure washer or nozzle for your car washing may distort the paint job. Moreover, any uncontrolled water spike may damage the sophisticated parts of your car. So, one of the major steps for your car washing with a pressure washer is picking the right washer.

The job can be done with either a gas power washer or an electric one. But, we recommend you to use an electric power washer. But, if you already have a gas pressure washer, no need to buy another. All you need is to ensure that you know how to regulate the pressure of your power washer. But, if you don’t have a pressure washer and want to buy one, you should go for the electric one.

Any power washer that has rated pressure from 1200 to 2000 PSI will do the job. But, if your pressure washer has higher pressure, don’t forget to set it within the range. The standard car washing pressure is 1400-1600 PSI. You cannot set the pressure beyond 2000 PSI. That will certainly damage the car.

Typically, a pressure washer has 4 different types of nozzles, i.e. 0, 15, 25, 40 degrees. The higher the degree the more the water and the lesser the pressure. For car washing, you have to use 25 and 40-degree nozzles. We will discuss that further on the rinsing step. Don’t use a turbo nozzle for your car washing!! It will break down the windshield and window glasses in no time!

Park Your Car in a Good Spot

Before you head on to washing your car, you have to place your car in a good spot. By “good spot” we are referring to a clean and hard (rocky/concrete) ground that has a safe distance from your home.

If the ground is not cleaned, you have to clean it to remove dust and dirt. You may use an air blower to clean the ground. A dirty ground can become an obstacle in your washing job.

If the ground is grassy or muddy, it will be distorted by the water spike. Moreover, the clay/mud may reduce the cleanliness of your car. So, the hard ground is the desired spot.

The ground/surface has to be distant from your home. Otherwise, the water flow of your pressure washer may break the window glasses. furthermore, you may end up damaging the paint job of your house wall. Keep an eye if the surface is closer to your garden. The water spike from the pressure washer has the power to tear off the flower plants!

Prepare Your Pressure Washer and Garden Hose

Now, bring your pressure washer to the cleaning spot. Check the power washer and make sure that it is operational. Place the power washer at least 1o feet away from the car. Now, connect the garden hose and power hose to the washer.

If you use the driveway/sidewalk for cleaning the car, make sure that you place your washer on an even surface. It would be great if you place it on a wooden/rocky surface other than the cleaning ground.

Any loose fitting of the garden hose or power hose isn’t acceptable at all. This may cause serious injury to you or end up damaging your car. All connections should be reliably tight.

Rinse Your Car Using 25-Degree Nozzle

Before you start rinsing, make sure that your power washer has not the power setting beyond 2000 PSI. We recommend you to set it to 1400-1600 PSI. Failing to ensure this setting for a higher rated pressure washer might cause unbearable damage to your car! You should close all the windows of your car before washing it.

Well, you are all set to washing your car. Set the 25-degree nozzle with the wand. The nozzle is green colored for almost every power washer. We are using a 25-degree nozzle to remove the dust and dirt off of the car.

During your washing keep an eye for the water spike of the washer. Never let the nozzle to spray water into the engine bay. There are dozens of parts and electrical wirings that cannot tolerate water. Spraying the engine bay may produce short-circuit and corrode several parts! These short-circuit and corrosion are the safety threats for you and your car.

Now, rinse your car using the green nozzle. Use the nozzle several times for the hard portions of your car like chassis and wheels. Rinse it softly and carefully.

Apply the Right Detergent to Your Car

Now, it is time to apply the soap or detergent to remove the dirt/dust. There are two effective ways to apply the cleaner.

Foam Cannon

The smarter and satisfying way of applying the soap to your car is using a foam cannon. The foam cannon is designed to spray the foam evenly. The layers of soap will have perfect thickness when you use the foam cannon. Moreover, the foam cannon is cost-effective and well-made. It works great for cars and other vulnerable surfaces.MATCC Adjustable Foam Cannon for car washing We recommend you to use MATCC adjustable foam cannon as it is the best solution on the market. You will have the freedom to use any soap/detergent solution with this foam cannon.

Detergent Soap Tank

Another way of applying the soap with the pressure washer is by using the detergent tank. The detergent tank does the job but cannot produce enough foam as the cannon does. Some power washer has the detergent tank attached to them. If your washer doesn’t have the provision, you may buy a tank. Moreover, you can use any handmade tank to do the job.

Whatever way you are willing to follow, do that. Now, wait for 5-10 minutes. During this period, the soap/detergent solution will react with the dirt/dust and weaken its bondage.

Brush Your Car Using a Car Brush

Before the soapy water gets dried up, you have to brush the hard surfaces using a car brush. If it gets dried, the dust and dirt will leave stain and spot on your car. Usually, the car brush is designed to brush most portions of the car. Yet, be careful during using that on vulnerable surfaces like window glasses. Apply soft and gentle force. No hurry in brushing up!

Rinse off of Detergent/Foam

Well, it is time to rinse off of the detergent/soapy water or foam. To do that, remove the soap spraying nozzle from the wand. After removing that, attach the 40-degree spraying nozzle. Generally, the 40-degree nozzle is marked as white color.

During rinsing off of the detergent from your car, make sure that the water spike reaches every nook and corner. If required, spray water multiple times. Any spot/debris of soap/detergent is unwanted and should be cleaned. Remember, the soap solution or detergent may harm the paint job if not cleaned timely!

Do not point the spray nozzle towards the engine bay. Do not set the pressure too high to get the job done faster. The 40-degree nozzle is for producing less pressure while supplying more water.

Dry out Using Soft & Clean Rug

Use a cotton fabric rug to dry out the car. The rug should be soft and clean to get the optimum result. Dry out all the portions including glass doors and panels. This job should be done before the spraying water gets dried up itself.

If the surfaces dried up itself without using the rug, the water/soap/detergent may leave a dark or shadow spot on the surfaces. In that case, you may have to rinse off that portions one more time. Do you want to do that? No? Well, then consider using a soft and clean rug.

 You need to assemble and maintain your car’s tires from time to time, right? Buy the most powerful air impact wrench and save your hands from unnecessary stress.  

Long Story Short – Car Pressure Washing

Below are some tips you should follow:

  • Prepare the washer and cleaning spot before starting the cleaning
  • The electric washer is better but you can use a gas washer with the appropriate setting
  • Don’t forget to set the pressure within 2000 PSI
  • Don’t forget to pick the right nozzle for the right job
  • You should NEVER spray water/soap into the ENGINE bay
  • Wash your car more frequently if you stay near to SEA
  • Wait more than 5 minutes and less than 15 minutes after spraying soapy water
  • Take extra care if your car is old, fragile, or severely dirty

Best Pressure Washer for Your Car Detailing

As we said earlier, the electric pressure washer is the “go-to” tool for a car detailing. But, it is not mandatory to use the electric power washer. You can do it just using your gas one. But, in case you want to buy a power washer for your car detailing, you may buy one from the following.

best pressure washer for your car detailingFor car detailing, Sun Joe SPX 3001 is the best pick. It is an electric power washer that has rated pressure 2030 PSI Max. The unit comes with a 14.5 amp induction motor. The motor can pull the working pressure 1800 PSI and a maximum of 2030. So, the pressure is more than ideal for any car detailing. Moreover, the unit has all the necessary nozzles for car washing! Moreover, the unit fits with the pressure washer surface cleaners.


AR Blue Clean power washer for car washingThe second-best option for car detailing is AR Blue Clean AR383. The unit’s maximum pressure raising capability is 1900 PSI. So, you don’t need to worry about the pressure setting. Like the Sun Joe, it has all the required nozzles and features. The unit comes with a 13 Amp motor that generates a water flow rate of 1.5 GPM. It can be used for other homeowner jobs as well.



Ignorant use of power washer may produce unbearable loss to you and your property! So, don’t hesitate to invest a few minutes in learning things. Whether you operate the smallest pressure washer or the power giant 3000 PSI electric pressure washer, you can use it for car washing. You just need to set the pressure before you start washing. We hope that our in-depth article “can use a pressure washer on a car” was helpful for you. Feel free to drop a line if you have any queries.

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