Power-washing is an important step for preparing your home for exterior painting, as well as for removing harmful materials such as dirt, mildew, and bacteria from its surface. If you want to keep your home looking fresh and extend the lifespan of your current paint job, you should power-wash your home at least once or twice a year. 

However, this process requires more than just the right equipment. You must also know the potential risks involved with power-washing your home. For instance, many homeowners will want to know whether or not power-washing is safe for their plants and pets. Here are some things to consider.

The Pressure Itself

Power-washing works by pressurizing and heating a mixture of water and cleaning solution into a powerful stream that can strip away old paint and other materials. This pressure output will vary depending on the machine and nozzle you use. Naturally, the higher the pressure, the more aggressive the blast. When power-washing your home, this pressurized stream can do serious damage to weaker objects, including plants and wildlife. If you were to directly aim the nozzle at your garden, for instance, you would easily tear it up. Of course, if you know what you’re doing, you wouldn’t aim your nozzle at your plants or animals, so the pressure itself doesn’t pose much of a threat to these things.

Heating Things Up

Power-washing differentiates itself from pressure washing by adding a heating element. This extra heat allows for a deeper clean before home painting begins, but it also creates another hazard. The residual vapor given off by the blast can still affect the objects around it. In most cases, this steam won’t do serious damage to your plants unless you directly aim the stream at them. But if you happen to have your pets nearby during power-washing, the steam can certainly hurt them.

The Cleaning Solution You Use

Many different kinds of soaps, detergents, and solutions may be used for power-washing. Believe it or not, the cleaning solution you use when power-washing poses more of a threat to your plants and animals than anything else. This is because certain chemicals, while effective for cleaning your surfaces and preparing them for residential painting, are toxic. Bleach-based solutions, for instance, can do a number on your plants if directly hit and can harm your pets if ingested. For the most part, stores carry pet- and plant-safe detergents for power-washing. Still, it’s worth double-checking with a professional before using these products.

Maintaining Awareness

In the end, the best way to ensure the safety of your pets and plants when power-washing is to maintain awareness of where they’re located. If possible, remove plants from the cleaning area, or cover them with plastic or fabric to protect them from falling water and chemicals. Keep your pets indoors, making sure they stay away from your home’s exterior and affected plants for a few days or longer, as directed. 

And, if you’re going to power-wash on your own, make sure you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, hire professionals to handle this process for you. In some cases, your exterior house painters will also take care of power-washing. The professional painters at All American Painting Plus, for example, always power-wash our clients’ homes before painting them, as this will extend the beauty and life of the paint job. To learn more about all that we can do for our clients in Northern Virginia, give us a call at (703)-620-5563!