What is the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2020
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While power washing and pressure washing are both very effective means of cleaning a wide range of surfaces and objects, there are a few distinctive qualities about each method. Because of these differences, there are a few applications that are better suited for specific situations.

Power washing typically makes use of a steady and somewhat powerful stream of hot water. The temperature of the water is key to allowing the power washing equipment to work properly. By setting the temperature gauge to a specific setting, it is possible to dislodge items such as chewing gum from sidewalks and decks with ease. At the same time, the stream of hot water also comes in handy in killing moss and weeds, and ridding the surface of any mold or mildew that has built up. If there is a lot of gunk and other matter to cut through, a power wash is the way to go.

By contrast, pressure washing relies on the force of the water stream rather than the temperature. A pressure wash works very well for cleaning surface dirt from walkways, walls, patios and decks. Pressure washing masonry cleaning is especially common, as the technique does an excellent job with any type of concrete, brick, or cinder block construction. When there is no ground-in dirt or mold to contend with, pressure washing provides a quick and easy cleaning solution.


It is not unusual for people to confuse the two washing methods, since both of them utilize a high-pressure stream of water as part of the cleaning process. For the most part, the easiest way to remember the difference is that power washing does not tend to involve cold water, while pressure washing may use water of any temperature.

Power and pressure washing supplies are normally available at any home store, as well as most hardware stores. In comes cases, equipment and supplies can also be found at lawn and garden shops. Prices vary, depending on the size of the machine purchased. Models that are ideal for use around a small home are generally affordable, while larger models designed for industrial use then to cost considerably more.

Before attempting to operate any type of power or pressure washing equipment, it is a good idea to read the instruction manual thoroughly. The manuals usually have excellent advice on how to adjust the water pressure for different types of surfaces, temperature settings that will effectively melt or remove hardened substances from walkways and patios, and suggestions for any type of additional cleaning compounds that are safe for use with the equipment.


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