Pressure Washing Detergent - Making the Right Choice

December 29, 2020

Pressure washers are used to clean a variety of objects and places within your home or business premises. There are many reasons pressure washing is necessary, including to remove mold or mildew, and to clean cement.

Pressure washers are among the best ways of cleaning surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, decks and other outdoor structures as they’re capable of removing grime from these surfaces with ease. However, when it comes to choosing pressure washer detergents for use with these machines, it can be challenging.

The wrong detergent can cause damage to the cement or surface being cleaned. The right detergent will do the job with less effort and save time.

Do you really need to use detergents when pressure washing?

Whether you’re cleaning the current stain or just planning ahead to protect your property from future stains, pressure washing is an excellent and inexpensive method for removing dirt and grime.

In theory, using a detergent when pressure washing makes sense because you’re literally trying to clean and disinfect the structure. To ensure a good and efficient job, a detergent becomes necessary.

When you hire a professional residential or commercial pressure washing company, ask them if using detergent is really necessary to use when pressure washing. They would tell you that yes it is a good idea to do so. Add to this the fact that there are a variety of detergent choices made for specific jobs and one can easily see the value of using pressure washer detergents.

Types of Detergents

It goes without saying that one of the most important aspects of cleaning with a pressure washer is choosing the right detergent to use. However, there are many choices out there so the best approach is to get to know what is available.

There are many different types of detergents on the market, and they all have different properties. In general, there are two main types of detergents you can choose from: oil-based or water-based.

Before we proceed with discussing in detail about the different types of detergents, it’s worth noting that you should always opt for pressure washer detergents over soap as they’re more effective at removing dirt and grime from surfaces.

Now, on to the different types of pressure washing detergents.


There are a number of different types of detergents available that can be used with pressure washers, particularly ones designed to tackle caked on grime like grease and oil.

One type of detergent is a degreaser which will loosen and remove the previous greasy layer that is left behind by general detergents. The degreaser does this by attacking the surface tension and any films present on the surface of the item you are cleaning.

Degreasers are also generally quite strong so it is best to use them in combination with other solutions to avoid damaging surfaces.

General-purpose detergents

The other major type of detergent is a general purpose detergent which is designed to work on a variety of surfaces and in a wide range of environments. Additionally, some pressure washer detergents will come with other components that help tackle some of the more difficult cleaning situations.

Detergents for pressure washing vehicles

While general-purpose detergents can be used to pressure clean your vehicles, it is recommended to opt for products that are especially suitable for this type of washing job. You can find detergents that are specially formulated for cars and boats.

Those made for cars, for example, will take into consideration your ride’s paint and detailing. If you just use any heavy-duty detergent, that has the possibility of ruining your car’s exterior so it’s best to be extra careful. As for those made specially for boats, they are formulated to effectively wash off salt water deposits and algae. Hence, they are the better choice than other types of detergents.


Aside from all of the above, there are also pressure washer detergents that are specifically for house cleaning use. You can make full use of these to clean various places in the house, including the walls, without having to worry about the paint fading or other deterioration.

Detergents for fences and decks

These detergents are especially made to clean decks and fences without being harsh to wooden materials, which are what fences and decks are often made of. Note that there are quite harsh detergents out there meant for harder and tougher to clean surfaces. Since wood can be damaged more easily compared to denser materials, it makes sense to go for detergents made for fences and decks.


The best treatment for cleaning cement with a pressure washer is a water-based solvent mixed with a rheology modifier and an anti-static agent. This will allow you to easily remove oil based stains, but will also break down stubborn grease and other soils.

What to keep in mind

A variety of detergents can be used in the pressure washer and the most important thing to keep in mind is to use a detergent designed specifically for this task. If you try out a detergent that is not designed to be used in a pressure washer, it will most likely cause damage to the pump.

Pressure washers are designed to deliver an extremely powerful stream of water at high pressure, so a chemical that works well on brushes won’t necessarily work well with a pressure washer because the cleaning solution needs to be able to withstand the force of high pressure water.

All detergents used for pressure washers and drain cleaners have different properties. In fact, you might be surprised to find out these chemicals are so different from one another. So, keep in mind that different detergents will be better at some jobs than others. Some detergents might require more rinsing, while others may not contain any bleach, etc.

PSI Systems fulfill your pressure washer detergent needs

For your pressure washing detergent needs, we here at PSI Systems are more than happy to help.

We can supply you with the right type of detergent for a large array of pressure washer applications.

From mild auto detailing to heavy duty degreasing, we have a cleaning product that is perfect for you and the job!

We offer a complete line of biodegradable pressure washer detergents at cost-effective prices. Each is specially formulated for use with hot and cold water pressure washers.

Send us a message now to know more about our detergents and degreasers.