The Dos and Don’ts of DIY Pressure Washing in Northern Virginia

James O'leary  /  June 26, 2024

For many homeowners in Northern Virginia, DIY pressure washing can seem like a quick fix to improve their home’s curb appeal. However, without the proper knowledge and precautions, it can quickly turn into a costly or dangerous endeavor. Here’s a comprehensive guide on the dos and don’ts of DIY pressure washing, featuring essential tips, common mistakes to avoid, and advice on when it might be best to call in professionals like NOVA Exterior Cleaning.

Do: Prepare Properly Before Starting

Do: Inspect your equipment. Before you begin pressure washing, ensure your equipment is in good working order. Check hoses for any cracks or leaks and make sure all connections are secure.

Do: Choose the right nozzle and pressure settings. Different surfaces require different pressure settings and nozzles to avoid damage. Use a wider angle nozzle for softer surfaces like wood to disperse water pressure and avoid etching.

Do: Protect your landscaping. Water runoff containing detergents can harm plants, so cover sensitive vegetation with tarps or water them thoroughly before and after pressure washing to dilute chemicals.

Don’t: Underestimate the Power of a Pressure Washer

Don’t: Use high pressure on fragile surfaces. Pressure washers can easily damage wood, old mortar, and other delicate surfaces. Always start with the lowest effective pressure setting.

Don’t: Rush through the job. Taking your time not only ensures a thorough clean but also helps prevent accidents that could occur from hurriedly handling powerful equipment.

Don’t: Forget personal safety gear. Always wear goggles, gloves, and ear protection to safeguard against flying debris and the loud noise of the washer.

Do: Know When to Use Detergents

Do: Select appropriate cleaning solutions. Some tasks might require additional cleaning agents. Ensure any detergent used is safe for pressure washers and suitable for the surface you’re cleaning.

Do: Apply detergents properly. Use a low-pressure setting to apply cleaning solutions and allow them to sit for a while to break down dirt and grime before rinsing.

Don’t: Disregard Environmental Regulations

Don’t: Ignore local water disposal regulations. Be aware of where your water runoff is going, especially if it contains detergents or debris that might contaminate local waterways.

Don’t: Use harmful chemicals without checking local guidelines. Some areas in Northern Virginia may have restrictions on certain chemicals due to their potential environmental impact.

Do: Recognize When to Call Professionals

Do: Understand the limits of DIY. Complex projects like cleaning high roofs, multi-story buildings, or heavily soiled areas might require professional equipment and expertise.

Do: Consider safety and cost-effectiveness. Professional pressure washing services like NOVA Exterior Cleaning in Manassas can often save you time and ensure safety, especially when dealing with high or hard-to-reach areas.


While DIY pressure washing can be effective for small jobs, understanding the dos and don’ts is crucial to prevent damage to your property and ensure your safety. For larger or more complex jobs, professional pressure washing services from NOVA Exterior Cleaning offer the expertise and equipment needed to get the job done right, with less risk to you or your property. If you’re in Northern Virginia and considering a pressure washing project, contact us to see how we can help you achieve the best results with maximum safety and efficiency.

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