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How To Use A Pressure Washer With Detergent

How To Use A Pressure Washer With Detergent

Car washing always a tedious job for me and also very time consuming. Just a few months ago, I bought a Sun Joe pressure washer for cleaning my car to save my time. Unfortunately, I could not use it as I did not know how to use detergent in the Sun Joe pressure washer?

As I did not want to ruin my machine, started to search here and there to know how to use a pressure washer with detergent?

Sadly, I randomly started to use dish soap, laundry detergents, and many more without getting any satisfactory answer. Suddenly realized my pressure washer did not function properly, and my car’s paintwork started to blemish.

Coming to the main point, one day, one of my friends appears as a savior here; he gives me a quick solution to my problem. Now cleaning my car becomes my favorite weekend stuff.

So do you want to know how do I use my pressure washer now? Then stick with me.

Which Type of Cleaning Agent to Use or Not to Use?

With so many options, you can easily get lost just like me to choose which type of cleaning agent to use or not to use for car cleaning.

1. Can You Use Dish Soap in a Pressure Washer?

According to my views, I will definitely not suggest anyone to use dish soaps.  Want to know why I do not recommend dish soap?

However, dish soap is safe and non-toxic, but it will leave a residue on the surface. Remember, it will also damage the pipe of the washer if improperly used. Don’t forget dish soap is not great for cars.

But for the DIY lovers who really love to make their own homemade pressure washer detergent, just only for them, I’ll explain how to use soap with a pressure washer shortly?

You guys can take it as a tip, take 3 ounces of your dish soap and mix it properly with one gallon of water; otherwise, it will harm your pipe. Remember that never use too much dish soap.

2. Can You Use Laundry Detergent in a Pressure Washer?

NO! But want to know the reason?

As I also made this mistake before, laundry detergent is not appropriate for pressure washers. Besides, laundry detergent contains phosphates that not suitable for the washer pump and also for the environment.

3. Can You Use Detergent?

Do not use detergents with bleaching agents in your pressure washer because it can harm the washer pump.

Whenever you go to buy a detergent for washing your car, do not forget to choose a biodegradable car washer detergent and also need to check its concentration level.

But if you need to use less detergent, then you can choose the pressure washer for the foam cannon as it can create the foam without having little cleaning agents.

How to Use a Car Washer Detergent in a Pressure Washer?

Being a car owner or lover, you must be looking for an easy and effective way to clean your car. But there are few essential facts, need to bear in bear in mind before entering the process. Want to know the facts? Let’s dive in.

Select the right pressure washer and nozzle size

However, various types of nozzles are available but choosing the right size is very crucial. If you select an inappropriate nozzle, it may damage your car as its effectiveness depends on the pressure washer soap nozzle how it works.

Now moving to the pressure level, for an electric pressure washer, the suitable range is 1200-1300 PSI. But if you have a gas pressure washer, it sprays more powerfully than an electric one, so it is not better to use for car cleaning. But you can use it for your outdoor or lawn cleaning.

Useful pressure washer features for car washing

  • Long hose (at least five meters long)
  • Wheels (helps to move the pressure washer quickly)
  • Variable nozzle settings (ensures the safety of your car during cleaning)
  • Nozzle attachments (helps in changing the spray’s direction if needed)
  • Attachable foam bottle (easy to carry)

Now let’s check out how to use a car washer detergent in a pressure washer.

Step-1. Rinse Your Car

At first, you need to park your car at the cleaning spot.  Before applying the cleaning agent, you should rinse your car correctly and clear all the debris.

Step-2. Apply Detergent


  • Detergent
  • Water
  • Bucket

Most of the pressure washers come with special compartments for detergents. Do not forget to use only the detergent that is only ideal for the machine as it does not cause any further damage. To apply detergent onto your car, follow the steps –

  • First off, you need to dilute the detergent concentration, so mix it with water in a bucket properly.
  • Now pour this diluted detergent into the pressure washer’s tank and fill it.
  • You have to plug the soap nozzle properly; otherwise, the pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work correctly.
  • Then you need to start spraying the diluted detergent about 2 feet from your car, then gradually get closer to remove dirt and get closer to tires nearly 6 inches to clean the mud, dirt, and bugs.
  • After you have done then need to wait for five minutes.

Step-3: Time to Wash Out the Detergent


  • 40-degree nozzle
  • Cloth/towel (if needed)

Now you need to wash out all the detergent by using a 40-degree nozzle. To clean out all the diluted detergent, follow the steps mention below –

  • At first, you need to disconnect the detergent tank nozzle. Now you have to replace it with the 40-degree tip.
  • Time to spray the car and put the wand 3 feet from the surface.
  • Based on your preference, you can use a cloth to dry out your car.

Some Dos and Don’ts for Using Pressure Washer!


  • Observe the first burst out of water that comes through the pipe of pressure washer and according to it set the nozzle
  • Ensure all the car windows are closed properly
  • Check out the interior portion of the car after spraying


  • Never let detergent dry; it will damage your car
  • Never start to spray too close to your car
  • Do not spray the interior or engine bay
  • It is better not to use a rotary nozzle while car washing

Pressure Washer Using Tips!

  • As a pressure washer is loud and produces high-pressure water, so it is better to wear eye and hearing protection while using a pressure washer.
  • Hold the wand with your both hands; otherwise, it can fly or slip out of your grip.
  • You need to maintain a minimum distance and keep the nozzle about 18 inches from the surface to reduce the risk.

Final Thoughts

Only using water is not enough for car washing; you also need to add detergent as it quickly breaks down the dirt and mud. Hopefully, I able to explain you how to use a pressure washer with detergent? You can follow the guidelines that I mentioned above to make your car cleaning effective and less time-consuming.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you need to use detergent with pressure washer?

If you choose the appropriate detergent and use it properly, it will give you the best and most effective result. But avoid to use bleaching agents containing detergents; it will cause damage to the internal part of your machine as well as spoil the painting of the car.

What kind of soap do you use in a pressure washer?

I usually use soap, which is designed for pressure washers and readily biodegradable, but I never use it for car washing.

Can you use any detergent in a Karcher pressure washer?

No, I do not use any random detergent in my Karcher pressure washer. I only use the detergent, which is specifically suitable for pressure washer. As Karcher’s specialty detergents are available in the store and they are environment friendly.

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