What is the Difference Between Pressure Washing and Power Washing


What is the Difference Between Pressure Washing and Power Washing


When it comes to cleaning exterior surfaces, two common methods are often mentioned: pressure washing and power washing. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are key differences between the two techniques. In this article, we’ll explore what sets pressure washing and power washing apart and help you choose the right method for your cleaning needs.

Pressure Washing: The Basics

Pressure washing is a highly effective method for cleaning various exterior surfaces using a high-pressure water stream. 


High Pressure Water: Pressure washers use water at high pressure, usually 1,300 to 2,800 pounds per square inch (PSI) or more.

Water Only: Pressure washing relies entirely on the power of pressurized water to remove dirt, grime and pollution. It does not use hot water or additional cleaning agents.

Versatile Use: Pressure washing is suitable for cleaning a variety of surfaces, including driveways, sidewalks, decks and some types of siding, provided it can withstand the pressure without damage.

Power Washing: A step beyond pressure washing

Power washing is an advanced cleaning method that involves the use of hot water, providing extra cleaning power. Here’s how power washing differs from pressure washing:

Hot water: Power washers, in addition to using high pressure, heat the water to a specific temperature (usually between 180°F and 200°F). Hot water can effectively dissolve and remove stubborn contaminants such as grease and oil.

Cleaning Agents: Power washing often involves the use of special cleaning agents or detergents, which are applied to the surface before using high-pressure, hot water to clean.

Best for tough stains: Power washing is particularly effective at removing heavy grease, oil, and mildew stains, making it a great choice for stubbornly soiled surfaces.

Key differences

Temperature: The main difference between the two methods is the use of hot water in power washing. Heat speeds up the cleaning process and is especially useful for breaking up and removing tough, stuck-on substances.


Cleaning Agents: While pressure washing relies only on water pressure, power washing can add detergents and cleaning agents, which increase its effectiveness in dealing with stubborn stains.

Surface Suitability: Pressure washing is generally safe for most surfaces, as long as the pressure is adjusted to avoid damage. Power washing, with hot water and soap, may not be suitable for all surfaces and caution is required on delicate materials.

Choosing the right method

The choice between pressure washing and power washing depends on the specific cleaning task:

Pressure Washing: It is suitable for routine cleaning of driveways, sidewalks, decks and other common outdoor surfaces.

Power washing: When you have to tackle more difficult jobs, such as removing deep-seated grease or oil stains from driveways, cleaning heavy-duty commercial surfaces, or dealing with stubborn mold and mildew growth, this is the method of choice.


What is the main difference between pressure washing and power washing?

The main difference between pressure washing and power washing is in the source of water power. In pressure washing, high-pressure water is used to remove dirt and grime. On the other hand, power washing involves the use of hot water in addition to high pressure. The heat in power washing can be more effective at removing stubborn stains such as grease or oil, while pressure washing is suitable for most general cleaning tasks.

Is there a specific application where power washing is preferred over pressure washing, and vice versa?

Answer: Yes, there are specific applications where each method is preferred. Power washing is more effective for jobs that involve removing stubborn stains, such as on driveways or heavily greased or greasy surfaces. Pressure washing is suitable for other cleaning tasks, such as siding, decks, or washing cars, where hot water is unnecessary and can cause damage.


Pressure washing and power washing are both effective cleaning methods, but they serve different purposes. Pressure washing is the standard choice for exterior cleaning, while power washing provides a higher level of cleaning power thanks to the use of hot water and cleaning agents. Choosing the right method depends on the specific cleaning needs and the nature of the surfaces you need to clean. Whether you choose pressure washing or power washing, both methods can help maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your outdoor spaces.


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