How to Wash a Car with a Pressure Washer

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Washing your car yourself can be a fun weekend activity. Not only does it help you save some money, but you can actually do a better job of thoroughly cleaning your car as compared to driving it through an auto car washer. For your car’s exterior, employing a pressure washer is an efficient and effective way to clean it, helping you to save time and achieve better spotless results. In this step-by-step guide, we will be instructing you on how to wash a car with a pressure washer as well as add in some additional useful tips and recommendations relating to the subject.


Learn How to Wash Your Car Using Your Pressure Washer


Step 1: Choose the Right Pressure Washer

There are many household pressure washers currently on the market. However, not every one of them is designed to be used for car washing. The pressure and nozzle design of a pressure washer are two of the most important factors when choosing one for car cleaning.



There are differently designed nozzles available for pressure washers. The nozzle regulates the amount of flow and PSI of the water coming out of the pressure washer. For car washing, you would want a 40-tip degree nozzle, which ensures a large and even distribution of the water flow, and at pressures that are low enough for safely washing your car.



Pressure washers with a PSI of around 1300 to 2000 are recommended for car washing. At such pressure levels, you can effectively clean off the most demanding of dirt and grime stuck to your car, but the pressure still isn’t high enough to damage the car’s paint job or be a safety hazard if in unsupervised hands.


Our Favorite Car Pressure Washers

For your ease, we did the research for you and here is our listing of the best car pressure washers currently on the market.


AR Blue Clean, AR383

With a max PSI of 1900, the AR Blue Clean will do quick work of even the toughest of dirt patches stuck to your car. The pressure washer is also very environmentally friendly, using 80% less water compared to a regular garden hose. The 35-foot long power cord and 20-foot cleaning hose is a welcoming convenience, allowing you more versatility in choosing the spot for washing your car. Assembling the pressure washer is easy, and with a very durable built, you can expect the pressure washer to last a long while.



  • Compact and lightweight
  • Great value for money
  • Efficient
  • Extra-long power cord and hose for greater reach
  • Durable and rugged design
  • Easy to Assemble


  • Hose vulnerable to tangling
  • May leak


Sun Joe SPX3000

The Sun Joe SPX3000 is another excellent pressure washer with a long reach and exceptional cleaning performance. Like the AR Blue Clean, the Sun Joe also boasts a long 20-foot hose and 35-foot power cord. The pressure it provides is ample for getting rid of extremely stubborn dirt, gunk, and grime off your car.


One feature worth mentioning includes the total stop system, which automatically shuts off the pump when the trigger is disengaged to save energy and prolong the pump lifespan. Two 0.9 L onboard removable detergent tanks, 5 different sized quick-connect tips, and among other accessories, add to the versatility of this pressure washer.



  • Extra-long power cord and hose for greater reach
  • Great value for money
  • Auto total stop system
  • Plenty of additional extra features
  • 2-year warranty



  • Not the most durable


Karcher K5 Premium

Provided you can afford, the Karcher K5 Premium would undoubtedly be a worthy investment. This pressure washer is among the best when it comes to cleaning performance. The overall design is also very high-grade. The non-corrosive motor pump is water-cooled, helping reduce noise, lower energy consumption, and increase its service life by five-folds. The pressure washer also features an onboard detergent tank and adjustable spray.



  • Long-lasting, durable design
  • Powerful Cleaning
  • Extra-long power cord and hose for greater reach
  • Relatively Quiet
  • Easy to maintain
  • 2-year warranty


  • Pricey


Step 2: Park the Car in the Right Spot

After having chosen your desired pressure washer, it is now time to set the car up for a wash. Park your car in an open space, making sure it’s far away from other people’s cars and other objects. After all, you wouldn’t want to dirty their cars while washing your own. Also, in case of hot weather, make sure the car isn’t being directly exposed to harsh sunlight.


Additionally, when choosing the parking spot, make sure that the pressure washer has access to an electric and water outlet. This shouldn’t be a problem with any one of the pressure washers we mentioned previously as they all feature an extra-long power cord.


Step 3: Rinse the Car Off

Before applying detergent, do a pre-clean of the car with the pressure washer to rinse off mud and other accumulated debris from the car. Make sure that all the doors are closed, and the windows rolled up before you start using the pressure washer.


Step 4: Apply the Detergent

Many pressure washers, including all three we mentioned, feature a special tank for storing detergent. Make sure to purchase a cleaning agent that is compatible with a pressure washer. Additionally, since most car cleaning detergents are sold as concentrates, it is important to dilute them with water before filling them inside the pressure washer.


Once that is dealt with, switch the setting on the pressure washer, and start spraying the detergent over your car. Start from the top and work your way down the car. Allow it to stay on your car for 3-5 minutes.



Step 5: Wash Away!

Now, switch the setting back to water spraying and start washing away the detergent. Hold the washer wand at a 45-degree angle and rinse the car starting from the top-up. Make sure to keep the entire car wet as you wash to prevent any water spots from arising.


Once all the detergent is washed off, use a towel or a soft cloth to dry the car and scrub off any remaining residue of soap or dirt. Use a separate brush or sponge for the car’s bottom and wheels as they are dirtiest, grittiest sections. Wax the car once fully dry.


Congratulations, you have successfully washed off your car using a pressure washer!


Our Final Thoughts

Cleaning your car with a pressure washer is not only efficient in helping you achieve neat, spotless results but can also be in itself a fun, therapeutic activity. We hope you found this guide on how to wash a car with a pressure washer to be helpful. Share it with others who you think may also find it useful.

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