Power washing, also known as pressure washing, removes mildew, dirt and debris that dull the appearance on your home's siding. Power washing your house at least once every two years brings out its best appearance. The strong stream of water blasts away the residue without the need for scrubbing, and it's a great way to prepare for a new coat of paint. If you have a two-story home, you'll need to use a ladder to reach the upper areas, or an extension wand. Working with a pressure washer requires a special technique to avoid stripping paint, gouging siding or even causing injury.

Power washing

Photo courtesy of © Susan Leggett

Power washing your home on a clear day without heavy winds for the best results. If you own a pressure washer, you are in luck when it comes to cleaning the siding on your two-story house. In the past, you had to rent and then erect scaffolding so you could reach the upper levels. This took a lot of time to complete. With a pressure washer, you can clean the entire house while you remain safely on the ground.

How to Power Wash Two-Story Homes

To execute this safely, just follow the steps below.

  1. Close all of the windows and doors. Turn off the power to any external electrical outlets or hardware. Remove any furniture from the area while washing the house.
  2. Spray any surrounding plants or shrubs with a garden hose to help protect them from the dripping, cleaning solution. Cover plants with a plastic tarp.
  3. Fill a garden sprayer with 3-parts water to 1-part bleach. Spray the siding with the bleach solution to coat it thoroughly from the top downward. Use a ladder to reach the second story. Affix an extension wand to the power washer, if necessary. Work your way across and around the house. Note: Skip this step if you have painted siding or if it's not excessively dirty.
  4. Attach a maximum pressure spray pattern nozzle onto the end of the wand. In most cases, you simply pull back on the coupler at the end of the wand and then snap the attachment into the coupler.
  5. To reach areas of your home 12 feet and higher, you'll need to use a maximum pressure spray-pattern. Start at the top of the siding and work your way down. Be sure to stand off to the side to avoid getting wet.
  6. Work from left to right starting at the top of the house; overlap each stroke by 50 percent to ensure you remove all of the dirt.
  7. Stand at a safe distance from the home and off to the side so you do not get hit by deflecting water. Pull the trigger on the wand and then move closer to the wall so the water reaches the top-left corner of the house, just below the soffits.
  8. Move back away from the house as you work your way down. This will reduce the spray pressure as you move down and the wand gets closer to the wall. Do this to avoid damaging any fixtures or glass because the high pressure can damage siding.

Tips

Telescoping Wand

If some upper level spots are a little stubborn, consider getting a telescoping wand. These fiberglass or aluminum extension poles can extend your spray gun from 12 to 24 feet. Without the telescoping wand, pressure diminishes as it climbs. The telescoping wand maintains the pressure much longer, resulting in a stronger, more concentrated spray.