How To Winterize Pressure Washer

How To Winterize Pressure Washer – Step by Step Guide

We all like to get comfortable and cozy for the winter, and so do pressure washing machines.

Okay, that’s not totally true, but if you want your pressure washer to last at least 8-10 winters, you will want to know how to winterize your unit.

But first things first, why even bother to winterize a pressure washer? Do you think throwing them under the shed or storing them in your basement will be enough? Well, think again. You might break your pressure washer and void the warranty even if you just bought it last season. Read ahead to find out why you need to winterize your pressure washer and how to do it properly.

Why Even Bother With Winterizing Your Pressure Washer?

Two of the nastiest things that can cause devastating damage to your pressure washer are freezing temperatures and stale gas. Garages and storage sheds rarely have any insulation or heating. So, if you’re storing your pressure washer at these locations, the water inside will freeze. And we don’t need to refer to Chemistry 101 to know what happens when water freezes – it expands, which causes expansion pressure that can crack tubes, sealings, or any other pressure washer component.

Furthermore, the leftover pressure washer fuel gas, particularly Ethanol, loses its combustible prowess within 30 days of inactivity. It then becomes reactive and combines with the water and moisture in the air, which then causes corrosion at the pressure washer surfaces (piping, tubing, etc.). Here are some other problems that require you to winterize your pressure washer:

  • Residual water in the pressure washer will expand in freezing temperatures, causing damage to pressure washer tubes, seals, water hoses, etc.
  • Stale gas reacts with water or moisture in the environment and becomes an acid that corrodes the pressure washer.
  • Rust caused by water or stale gas
  • Nasty buildups that can clog tubes and fuel lines
  • In worst cases, mold and mildew can even grow up and eat away at your seals and clog lines

And the next thing you know, you have a leaky pressure washer damaged due to a lack of maintenance. It’s going to cause you a lot of time, effort, and headache to find replacement parts and skilled expertise that don’t cost you the price of a new pressure washer. And you already know warranties won’t cover the damaged pressure washer because of a lack of maintenance. Well, now you will have to go away and throw the pressure washer in the garbage bin.

How To Winterize Any Pressure Washer?

Unless you don’t like to throw away your hard-earned several hundred dollars in the trash, you need to know how to winterize a pressure washer. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long. The parts will take you less than 20 minutes if you have the parts. Here’s how to winterize Generac pressure washers, Simpson pressure washers, or pressure washers from any brand. These are some common steps you can follow to prepare almost every pressure washer for winter storage.

1.    Purge The Pressure Washer From Detergent

This is one of the steps you should follow after every usage of the pressure washer. This is because leftover detergent can dry and make hard deposits which will clog up the pressure washer. And if left for long, it will cause even nastier problems.

So, to purge the pressure washer from detergent or any cleaning solution:

  • Hook up the pressure washer to the water supply/garden hose as you normally would
  • Now, put the detergent feed tube in clean water instead of soap solution
  • Pull the spray gun trigger and let it run for at least a couple of minutes
  • Use a low-pressure nozzle when purging the system from detergent

2.    Remove All Water From The Pressure Washer

After purging the system of any leftover detergent, unhook the water supply and pull the trigger again. This is necessary to rid the pressure washer of water because water can also cause rust and corrosion that will destroy your pressure washer. Use dry clean rags as well if you have to.

3.    Add Pump Saver To The Pressure Washer

Knowing how to winterize a Simpson pressure washer or pressure washer from any brand is incomplete without using a pump saver. The method to add the pressure washer pump saver might vary depending on whether it is an electric pressure washer or gas pressure washer, but they are similar overall. We will discuss these changes, but here’s how you use a pressure washer pump saver.

How To Use Pump Saver?

  • Start by unhooking your water supply and running the pressure washer to remove the excess water from the system.
  • Now, attach the pump saver to the water inlet (where you attach the garden hose)
  • Press the trigger on the pump saver or squeeze the bottle and turn on your pressure washer (this will be different for electric and gas pressure washers, which will be discussed later)
  • Keep the pump saver flowing through your pressure washer until you see it flowing through the outlet.
  • Now, go ahead and unscrew the pump saver.

Why Use Pressure Water Pump Saver?

Using a pump saver is important in preparing your pressure washer for winter. This is because it:

  • Removes excess water from the pressure washer
  • Prevents moisture from forming in the pump
  • Prevents the freezing of water particles inside the pressure washer
  • Prevents mineral deposits from developing
  • Pump saver plays the role of antifreeze and protects your pressure washer
  • Allows easy starting after the winter storage period

Now that you know how to winterize a pressure washer with antifreeze by using a pressure washer pump saver, it is imperative to follow specific directions according to the brand you use. Look at the user manual before application, whether it’s a pump saver or the pressure washer itself.

4.    Disconnect and Dry

The final steps of winterizing your pressure washer are disconnecting all attachments, including hoses, water spray, detergent gun, extensions, etc. There may still be some leftover water in the pump, so you might have to rock the machine a little to remove it.

Finally, wipe all attachments and get them as dry as possible. The pressure washer is now ready for storage.

5.    How To Store A Pressure Washer For The Winter?

The best place to store your pressure washer is inside, preferably in a warm, dry spot. The pressure washers aren’t as bulky, so you can easily store them inside your house in a basement or attached garage. This will further protect it against any freeze damage.

If you must store it outside, at least place it under a cover to protect against sunlight, precipitations, and not to mention bird poops. You should also use covers made of cloth (canvas or polyester) to provide extra protection against dust, spider webs, bugs, mice, rust, moisture, and whatnot. Polyethylene covers, which have a water-resistant coating, work best as they allow covered contents to breathe while protecting against dust and moisture.

How To Winterize A Gas Pressure Washer (Steps 1 & 4 Are UNIQUE)

A couple of extra steps are involved when preparing your gas pressure washer for winter. This is particularly due to the fuel involved. Additionally, the method of injecting the pump saver is slightly different. Here’s how to winterize a gas pressure washer (the steps previously mentioned won’t be discussed in detail):

1.    Add Fuel Stabilizer

The primary thing unique about winterizing a gas pressure washer is adding a fuel stabilizer to deal with stale gas problems. This is because gasoline, commonly used as fuel, loses its potency within 30 days of inactivity. It then becomes reactive and reacts with water and moisture to become an acid that corrodes the pressure washer. Using a fuel stabilizer will get you around six months of protection, which is more than enough for a typical storage season.

So, in the first step to winterizing your gas pressure washer, add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank and let the engine run for around 2 minutes to circulate the fuel stabilizer across the fuel system.

2.    Purge The Cleaning Solution From The Pressure Washer

This is discussed above, and the process is similar to a gas pressure washer. Ensure the pressure washer detergent feed tube is immersed adequately in clean water so the pressure washer doesn’t run empty.

3.    Remove Water From The Pressure Washer

Before moving on to the next step, remove excess water from the pressure washer by disconnecting the water inlet. You might want to pull the cord on your gas pressure washer a few times, so water is expelled.

4.    Add Pump Saver; Pull The Cord 6 Times To Circulate It Inside

Adding a pump saver is also similar to as discussed above. The only difference in the case of a gas pressure washer is you will have to pull the cord a few times to circulate the pump saver across the system.

Screw your pump saver or antifreeze bottle at the water inlet and pull the cord at least six times or until the pump saver expels out the outlet. At first, some leftover water will be expelled, and then the foamy pump saver. When the foamy pump saver appears at the outlet, you can stop pulling the cord now and unscrew the pump saver.

5.    Disconnect, Dry, and Store

Finally, disconnect all attachments from your gas pressure washer, including hoses, tubes, water guns, etc. Dry them with a cloth and store everything, preferably indoors and under some cover.

How To Winterize An Electric Pressure Washer

Winterizing an electric pressure washer is easier and much faster since there’s no gasoline engine. So, the only thing different about winterizing an electric pressure washer is how you add your pump saver.

Screw in the pump saver at the water inlet and let the electric pressure washer run until you see it flowing from the outlet.

Here’s how to winterize an electric pressure washer in 6 quick & simple steps:

  1. The first step is always the same – remove detergent, soap, or cleaning solution from the pressure washer. Let the pressure washer run for around 2 minutes to remove any detergent from the system.
  2. Now, disconnect the water inlet and pull the trigger again to remove the remaining water from the pressure washer.
  3. Remove the high-pressure hose, disconnect the trigger gun, wand, and other attachments and let them drain.
  4. Connect the pump saver at the inlet and let it run until you see the foamy liquid expel from the outlet.
  5. Disconnect the pump saver and wipe the pressure washer dry with the help of a dry cloth.
  6. Store the electric pressure washer in a warm spot and under some cover to prevent dust, dirt, freezing, and other undesirables.


What do you use to winterize a pressure washer?

Winterizing a pressure washer is a multi-step process that involves purging the pressure washer from detergent and water and storing the pressure washer at an appropriate location. However, that‘s not all. You will also have to use a pump saver, which acts as an antifreeze and protects your pressure washer from nasty problems. You will also have to use a fuel stabilizer for gas pressure washers.

How do you keep a pressure washer from freezing in the winter?

You can begin by ridding the pressure washer of any leftover water. However, there’s always some leftover water and moisture that can cause damage at freezing temperatures. You can prevent this by using a pump saver. Also, it goes without mentioning that store your pressure washer indoors in a storage shed or basement to protect against freezing.

Can you winterize a pressure washer with air?

Using an antifreeze to winterize the pressure washer is always recommended. However, if you don’t have access to a pump saver, you can also run the system on empty, essentially flushing out any water or moisture. In any case, you should always use antifreeze for the best results.


Pressure washers are durable tools that can easily last 8-10 years, provided they are kept properly maintained. Believe it or not, the topmost reason for their failing is improper storage during winter seasons.

Like most people, pressure washers are usually stored in an unheated location like a garage or a storage shed. Therefore, the pressure washer must be properly winterized to prevent any winter damage.

Most of the preparation process for pressure washers for winter storage involves ridding the leftover water and detergent system. However, removing all water is nearly impossible, which is why we use pump savers.

For gas pressures, there’s an extra step involved – using a fuel stabilizer to prevent the nastier effects of stale gas. This is as simple as pouring a fuel stabilizer across the pressure washer’s fuel tank and letting the engine run for around 2 minutes for circulation.

Finally, you can dry off the pressure washer and store it at an appropriate location, preferably inside and under an appropriate cover.  

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