Two years ago I bought a pressure washer. In 2011 we paid $475 to have the house cleaned. Mike Richards, a local contractor, did a great job. He used warm water and it was pretty quick. We did not wash the house in 2012. In 2013 we hired Mike again and paid $325.
In 2015 I bought a washer for about $250 and washed the house myself. Steve helped with the initial set up and some of the washing. It took a long time and I found that just using the washer and with the soap that came with the washer didn’t remove much of anything.
The next day, while Steve was at the airport, I tried again with similar, poor results. I walked up to a section I had just cleaned and lightly ran my finger over it to see what was stuck on my siding. With my finger I removed everything. I decided that it would be faster to apply the soap, run a soft brush over the siding, and rinse than to use the pressure washer only. The only problem is my brush wouldn’t reach to the top.
At the end of the season, Steve had the washer “winterized” by a local shop. I don’t know what they did, but know they added stabilizer to the fuel. We stored it in the basement over the winter.
When we tried to start it in June, it wouldn’t start. Steve brought home some starting fluid and with one quick spray, it started right up.
This year there was more mold on the house than we’ve ever seen before. Steve’s concerned that the soap may actually be part of the problem. I decided to use a weak bleach solution to see if that worked.
I researched using bleach in a pressure washer and found that everyone has an opinion. Our solution feeds after the pump, so I dismissed any warnings about bleach in the pump. After using bleach, I let water run through the washer’s hose to ensure it was rinsed out.
I also tried using water only on part of the house to see if it was just as effective. It was not. On the part of the house that I couldn’t reach with a brush, the siding looked better where I used bleach. It did not remove any more dirt than plain water.
I used regular household bleach that was unscented, concentrated (8.25% rather than 5.25%), and wasn’t “no splash” or advertised as safe for septic systems.
On the first day I washed the garage side and back of the house. The following day I did the front, including the alcove at the front porch. At one point the system stopped drawing bleach out of the reservoir. I’m not sure why.
A few additional comments. According to my research, the washer shouldn’t run for more than 5 minutes without spraying water as the pump may get hot. This means restarting more frequently.
These sites were particularly helpful: