Pressure Washer Safety

If you need to clean your deck, there are a couple of options. You can use a stiff brush and some bleach or you can use a pressure washer.


A pressure washer used to be a tool used mostly by professionals but with the cost of these machines dropping more and more homeowners are buying them.

The problem is that most people don’t read the warnings that come with the pressure washer. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “an estimated 6,057 people in 2014 alone went to an emergency room with injuries related to pressure washer use…”

A regular garden hose generates around 50 psi. A pressure washer on the other hand generates anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 psi (and up to 30,000 psi for industrial, high-end pressure washers) and that much pressure can cause serious injuries.

Part of the problem is that the injury isn’t always apparent. If you accidentally get your hand in the spray, you might not think you’ve done that much harm but the problem is that a pressure washer is actually “injecting” water deep into the skin tissue and this can cause serious infections. Because the damage isn’t evident, most people delay treatment and increase the risk.

Here are some safety tips when using a pressure washer:

  1. NEVER use a zero-degree nozzle. Most of the newer models don’t allow anything lower than 15 degrees to keep users safe but many of the older models still have the zero-degree nozzle. If you still have one of these discard it.
  2. Always wear goggles, long pants (never shorts) and long sleeve shirts, as well as proper shoes or boots (no flip-flops or sandals).
  3. Always wear gloves.
  4. Always be aware of where the water stream is pointing and turn it off if your attention needs to be elsewhere.
  5. Be aware that, especially when using an electric pressure washer, there are electrical shock issues involved. Keep extension cords and outlets away from the pressure washer.
  6. Wear rubber sole boots or shoes.


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