how to use pressure washer with detergent

How To Use A Pressure Washer With Detergent?[Ultimate Guide]

A pressure washer is a versatile tool that cuts down significantly our effort to clean our cars, porches, home siding, or whatever it is you name it. Finally, something that works opposite to the cliché: to apply elbow grease. Perhaps we can stop postponing our cleaning chores to every next weekend (wait, is that just me?).

Pressure washing is the easiest method of cleaning away dirt, oil, grease, or any accumulated muck you can come off. However, it alone will only help you so much. And if left unmodified, you’ll only be wasting a lot of water. Not to mention, you’d be back to square one and overworking to clean anything!

This is where cleaning detergents come in. With the suitable detergent, your cleaning jobs would be easier than a walk in the park (you would be standing at a place and the pressure washer will do the cleaning for you!).

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use a pressure washer with detergent. To learn more about the best detergent for different surfaces, click here. Now, let’s get started!

How To Put Detergent In Pressure Washer?

If you’re questioning how to use soap with a pressure washer, no matter the brand, such as Ryobi, Sun Joe, or Karcher, there are typically three methods to incorporate detergent. First, you must know how to put it into the pressure washer.

Detergent Tank

Most pressure washers today come equipped with a detergent tank. Locate it and fill it with soap. Ensure the shutoff valve or dial is in the “on” position to use the soap dispenser. Ensure the feed tube is pushed down to draw the maximum amount of soap before running empty.

Wand Attachment

If your power washer doesn’t have a detergent tank, you can also use a wand attachment that connects directly to the end of the nozzle. The detergent tank for the wand attachment might come in various shapes and sizes.

It can be a simple tube that you might have to submerge in a bucket. Or it can also be a tank that can plug into the pressure washer. However, investing in a quality and versatile pressure washer is always a good idea, so you don’t have to drag the bucket with you all the time!

Detergent Bottle

Many pressure washers, such as Qualcast or Spear & Jackson, come with detergent bottles that attach to the end of the pressure washer gun. First-time users may wonder how to use the detergent bottle with a pressure washer, but it is intuitive.

Simply prepare your cleaning solution and unscrew the detergent bottle cap to fill it up. Now, you have to fit the detergent bottle into the trigger gun, and you’re ready to go. So, now you have to pull the trigger, and the detergent will automatically mix with water and be dispensed through the nozzle.

Choosing The Right Nozzle For The Pressure Washer Detergent

While a few pressure washers will let you control the water pressure, many pressure washers don’t have this ability. But first things first, why would you need to control water pressure anyways?

Choosing The Right Nozzle For The Pressure Washer Detergent

While high pressure is suitable for washing, you need a lower pressure when using detergent. This is because you need to let the soap ‘suds dwell on the surface so the ingredients of the detergent can better fight the stains you are trying to clean. The high-pressure washes the soap away, and there will be too many untreated gaps.

This is why you need the proper nozzle when applying pressure washer detergent. Besides, most detergents with pre-equipped tanks won’t even dispel detergent unless the pressure is in a low setting.

In addition to reducing the spray pressure, the right nozzle will help increase the detergent spread. This will speed up the cleaning process by allowing you to cover more area with soap faster. The pressure washer soap nozzle reduces pressure while also improving the spread.

You must wonder what the proper nozzle for pressure washer detergent is. Well, the 65-degree Nozzle works best. Here’s some info on 65-degree nozzles as well as some other nozzles.

  • 65-Degree Nozzle
    • Has the widest angle for spray
    • Has a low pressure
    • Recommended for applying soaps and detergents

  • 40-Degree Nozzle
    • Works well on a variety of surfaces
    • Has a moderate spread
    • Cleans large areas fast

  • 25-Degree Nozzle
    • Good for cleaning off detergents and prewashing
    • Works best for washing many surfaces, including car beds, truck wheels, etc.

  • 15-Degree Nozzle
    • Delivers concentrated stream of water
    • Good for heavy-duty applications like washing driveways, concrete, patios, etc.
    • Can chip off paint from cars

  • 0-Degree Nozzle
    • Not recommended to use under normal circumstances
    • Delivers a very highly concentrated stream of water
    • Can remove stains from cement
    • It can remove paint, stubborn dirt, and grime from surfaces

How To Apply Pressure Washer Detergent?

Now that you know the pressure washer soap nozzle and how it works, spraying is fun! But there’s also a helpful trick about using the pressure washer with detergent to improve your cleaning.

How To Apply Pressure Washer Detergent

You will want to spray the detergent with the pressure washer in an upward motion for two reasons.

  1. To prevent streaking, which is just as bothersome to clean as any other thing and
  2. Prevent the running of the soap and allow for maximum dwell time.

You have to let the suds sit for a while so the ingredients in the detergent can break down nasty stains, dirt, bacteria, and whatnot. Do a few extra passes to cover every area with the cleaning detergent.

How Long Should You Allow For Dwell Time?

We have been going on about allowing for dwell time and letting your soap sit for a while. But for how long? You don’t want to do it for so long that the detergent dries, adheres to the surface, and becomes messier than intended.

How Long Should You Allow For Dwell Time

The usual practice is to wait 5-10 minutes for the detergent to dwell on the surface. While you patiently wait, the soap will work its magic and turn the stains into a docile mess that is as easy to clean as to wash away with your pressure washer.

However, remember that you might want to reapply the detergent on a sunny or windy day. To be safe, reapply the soap after 5-8 minutes to ensure you’re doing the optimal cleaning job.

The Final Step Of Using Pressure Washer With Detergent

We are in the endgame of cleaning with the pressure washer and detergent – without the detergent. Now, you must swap the low-pressure nozzle with the high-pressure one, remove the detergent bottle or unplug the detergent tank, and wash away with clean water.

Contrary to dwell time, now clean the detergent and grime from top to bottom. Use hot water to clean better, faster, and more accessible (yes, even easier than before).


Well, now you’re almost done with your cleaning job with the pressure washer and the detergent used, there are some extra considerations you need to consider before being completely done.

How you plan on drying the surface cleaned depends on the surface itself. While floors, sidings, etc., would dry off independently if you have a blow drier that works even better to speed things up. And for car surfaces, that’s even better. Cars especially need to be dried after washing. You can dry with a smooth towel or a cloth, but contactless cleaning is always preferred.

Additionally, consider soap runoff and where you’ll be draining the detergent. Properly drain them into a drainage area. Also, dilute them enough so there’s a minimum environmental impact.


Where do you put the detergent in a pressure washer?

Many pressure washers today have a detergent tank, usually at the back. Fill it with the detergent of your choice, or purchase a wand attachment that connects directly to the nozzle to discharge the detergent. Some pressure washers also have a detergent bottle that screws onto the pressure washer.

How do you use soap with a pressure washer?

To use soap with a pressure washer, set it to low pressure for optimum efficiency. A 65-degree nozzle is suggested for pressure washer detergent. Give the soap 5-10 minutes to loosen up stubborn stains before rinsing off.

How does soap dispenser work on pressure washer?

The soap dispenser draws soap from a detergent tank attached to the pressure washer. The shutoff valve must be opened and low-pressure settings enabled to make it work. If no variable pressure controller is available, a 65-degree nozzle can be used.

Can you use regular detergent in a pressure washer?

While you can use regular detergent, it isn’t recommended. Only use detergents with a label indicating their approved usage for pressure washers, as regular detergents can clog and damage the machine. Or better yet, make your detergent for pressure washers.


This guide briefly reviewed how to use a pressure washer with detergent. We learned that most pressure washers today come pre-equipped with detergent tanks. If not, you can also use a wand attachment, such as a detergent bottle.

We also saw that a 65-degree nozzle is suitable for soap application. Applying the detergent in an upward motion is also recommended, as doing several overpasses and leaving the soap on for 5-10 minutes.

After all, that is done, all you have to do is wash away with higher water pressure. You can also use a drier to dry the surfaces faster or leave them to air dry. It is recommended that you actively dry, especially when cleaning cars. If you want to learn how to safely wash your car with a pressure washer .

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *