Pressure Washing Car

The Dos and Don’ts of Pressure Washing Your Car: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pressure washing your car is the best way to get it clean and shiny again. However, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts to avoid damaging your vehicle’s paintwork or causing any scratches. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover the essential tips for pressure washing your car, ensuring you do it safely and effectively.


1) Choose the Right Pressure Washer

Any task starts with the right equipment. For car washing, choose a 90 to 130 bar pressure washer with a high flow rate to remove stubborn dirt. You should also consider the length of hose. You’ll want at least a 5 metre cable to allow you to get all the way around the car without having to move the pressure washer. We recommend the Karcher HD 6/13 C Plus Commercial Cold Water Pressure Washer, it’s powerful with 130 bar and equipped with a 10-metre hose. 

2) Use The Correct Nozzle

Most pressure washers come with a variety of spray nozzles. For car washing, use a nozzle with a 25 to 40-degree spray pattern, this will provide a wider, gentler spray that’s less likely to damage your car’s paintwork. The Karcher pressure washer has a triple nozzle which allows you to choose from 0, 25 and 40 degrees. 

3) Use a Mild Detergent

Water alone wouldn’t wash your car thoroughly, so you will need to use a mild detergent suitable for removing traffic film, grease and oil from your car.  Avoid harsh or abrasive chemicals as they can cause more harm to your car than good.

  1. Pre-Rinse & Scrub

Start with a 25 degree spray setting and pre-rinse the wheels with plain water, before switching to 40 degree and pre-rinse the car exterior to remove loose dirt and debris. Cover the car with a generous layer of detergent, starting from the top of your car and working your way down. If your car has stubborn dirt, especially the wheels, use a car wash mitt or a microfibre cloth to scrub those areas. 

4) Rinse From Top To Bottom  

Next, rinse the car again thoroughly, following the same pattern. This ensures that all the dirt and grime is washed downward and it won’t undo the cleaned areas. Ensure all the soap residue is removed before leaving your car to air dry.


1) Avoid High Bar Pressure Washers And Narrow Spray Patterns

Avoid using any pressure washer with a bar rating of over 130 as this can cause damage and strip your car’s paintwork. Additionally, avoid using nozzles with a narrow spray pattern less than 25 degrees. This is also too intense for your car’s paintwork.

2) Don’t Stand Too Close

When using the pressure washer, make sure to always maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres from your car to prevent paint damage. Getting too close can also push water into areas where it shouldn’t go, potentially causing electrical problems or corrosion. 

3) Don’t Use Hot Water

You may think hot water from a pressure washer will clean your car better than cold water. However, cold water is recommended for most pressure washers because hot water can cause skin burns on users and strip a car’s paintwork, which we don’t want to happen. Cold water is more than enough to knock away caked on mud and debris. Plus, using cold water saves energy and you don’t have to rely on heating elements. 

Car-Friendly Pressure Washers From Britclean

By following these dos and don’ts, you should have no problem with using a pressure washer to clean your car. Choosing the right pressure washer and detergent is crucial. Luckily, we have a wide range of car-friendly pressure washers from our own Britclean range and leading brands such as Karcher, Ehrle and Nilfisk available for hire as well as traffic film removers and car care products. To hire one of our pressure washers or if you have any questions on a certain pressure washer, please speak to our team who will be happy to help.