Yes, it is possible to apply soap without a pressure washer. Today’s pressure washers are very powerful and can remove dirt and grime from even the roughest surfaces. They use a high pressure soap applicator, and water mixed with detergent is forced through a nozzle at high speed to clean surfaces quickly and effectively.
If you live in an apartment complex or rent your home, you may not be able to use a pressure washer to clean your house or driveways. There are several ways to apply soap without a pressure washer:
- Use a sponge mop on rough surfaces like concrete or brick, scrubbing with the mop head instead of using water pressure from the hose.
- Use a bucket of soapy water and a scrubbing brush to apply soap to smooth surfaces like vinyl siding on houses, decks, fences, and patios as well as cars, trucks, and RVs.
- Use an old-fashioned sponge dipped in a soapy water bucket to clean glass windows inside or out.
How to Use Soap When Pressure Washing
The best way to use soap when pressure washing is to not use soap.
The reason for this is that soaps are designed for use in water, and that’s all they do. They don’t clean things; they just make water wetter. The same can be said of detergents. Soap and detergent both work by lowering the surface tension of water so that it’s easier to flow over flat surfaces like glass or metal and into crevices.
Soap has a pH of about 8, which sounds pretty neutral but is actually quite basic compared with most cleaning chemicals and other industrial products. This means it will react with acidic substances such as rust and build-up from minerals in hard water. The reaction produces soap scum, which can clog up your spray nozzle and reduce your pressure washer’s effectiveness.
Using too much soap can also damage the surface you’re cleaning because it attracts dirt to itself like a magnet — even if the surface doesn’t appear greasy or dirty at first glance. The result is a lot more work for you later on when you have to clean up after yourself (or call in professionals).
However, if done proportionally, the use of soap when pressure washing is important because it helps loosen up the dirt in order for it to be cleaned off easier. Soap also helps break down oils and other substances that may be stuck on your driveway or patio.
How Much Soap Should You Use?
The amount of soap that you should use depends on what kind of surface you are cleaning. For example, if you are cleaning wood siding or other light-colored surfaces, then you will want to use about one cup per 1,000 square feet. For concrete or dark-colored surfaces, then use about two cups per 1,000 square feet. These measurements are based on a standard pressure washer that operates at a 1-3 gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate.
Visit the pressure washers at Giraffetools collections for more insight on soap and detergents usage in pressure washers.