Pressure cleaning is a great way to remove stubborn stains from virtually any surface, whether dealing with light layers of dirt, years of built-up grime, or plain old wear and tear. 


You can pressure clean everything from concrete patios to wooden decks and asphalt driveways. But not all surfaces are the same, and it’s important to know what works and what doesn’t when pressure cleaning. There are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind before turning on the pressure washer.

Let’s look at the best practices for each kind of stain and how to protect yourself and your property during the process.

What is pressure cleaning?

As the name implies, high-pressure cleaning uses high-pressure jets of water and air. But what exactly is pressure cleaning?

In a nutshell, pressure cleaning is the use of high-pressure water sprays to remove dirt, grime, dust, mud, mould, bird poo and other contaminants from surfaces such as concrete driveways, rooves, paved areas, shade sails, building facades and wooden decks, to name a few. 

Pressure washers come in all shapes and sizes, each with unique capabilities. The key is finding the right one for your needs. With some research, you can navigate the myriad options and find one to suit you.

Advantages and disadvantages of pressure cleaning

Before using a pressure cleaner for stain removal, it’s important to consider all the benefits and drawbacks. Knowing what works best for your situation will help ensure you get the best results possible while minimising any associated risks.

Advantages of pressure cleaning:

– Quick and efficient cleaning method.

– Can improve the appearance of your property.

– Removes tough stains and grime that regular cleaning can’t.

– May increase property value.

– Can prevent damage by removing harmful substances like mould.

– Less effort than other types of stain removal. 

– Can also be helpful for cleaning hard-to-reach areas.

– Pressure cleaning is particularly effective at removing tough stains, such as:

  • grease and oil
  • rust
  • algae
  • mould and mildew
  • graffiti.

Despite its benefits, there are some drawbacks to pressure cleaning. 

Disadvantages of pressure cleaning:

– Requires specialised equipment, which can be expensive to purchase or rent.

– If not done correctly, it can damage surfaces like brick or siding.

– High-powered machines can be dangerous without proper handling.

– Can lead to water wastage if not managed carefully.

– Incorrect use of chemicals can harm the environment.

– May require hiring professionals for safe and effective results.

What stains can pressure cleaning remove?

Pressure cleaning is a great way to remove tough stains from your home or business. Some of the most common stains that pressure cleaning can remove include paint, grease, oil, rust, gum, mould and graffiti.

Before and after shot of spilt paint on concrete wall. The before picture shows the spilt paint on the wall and the after shot shows the wall clean after a pressure clean.


Paint is one of the most challenging stains to remove from surfaces and can often require multiple applications of detergent and scrubbing. A pressure cleaner’s high-pressure water jets can make quick work of paint stains. The force of the water breaks up the paint, lifting it from the surface. For fresh spills, high-pressure water is usually enough. Older, dried paint may need a helping hand. Adding a detergent can soften the paint, making it easier to wash away. Remember, the type of surface and paint matters too. Delicate surfaces need a softer touch to prevent damage, and may not take kindly to chemical treatment. Always test a small area first to ensure the water pressure doesn’t harm the surface.

Grease and oil

Grease and oil are also notoriously hard to remove. High-pressure cleaning effectively removes these stains using high-velocity water jets. The pressure needed to cut through these stains will exceed 1500 PSI (pounds per square inch) to dislodge and emulsify the substances, making them easier to remove from concrete or asphalt.

For more stubborn or ingrained grease stains, a professional pressure cleaning contractor will often use specialised detergents or degreasers that comply with environmental standards. These break down oil and grease at a molecular level, enhancing the pressure-cleaning power.

Before and after shot of a grease stain on a concrete driveway. The after shot shows there is no longer a stain after being pressure cleaned


Rust can be another difficult stain to tackle; again, pressure cleaning is an efficient way to remove it. Sometimes, water alone does the trick, but a cleaning agent is often needed. These cleaners are made to target rust, helping to loosen and lift it from the surface.

A bit of advice, though —  it’s good to check the surface can handle the pressure. You don’t want to do more harm than good. It’s best to call in the pros for tough rust stains. They have the equipment and know-how to make your surface look sharp again without damaging it.

Gum and graffiti

Gum and graffiti can also be easily removed using a pressure washer’s powerful water stream. Used correctly, a pressure cleaner quickly cuts through the gum and graffiti without damaging the underlying surface. 

With graffiti, the high-pressure water works to break down and lift the paint from the surface. A special solvent might be required for really stubborn graffiti or delicate surfaces. This softens the paint, letting the pressure washer work its magic.

Chewing gum’s a different beast — it can be stubborn to eradicate.  Sometimes, hot water can melt the gum, making it easier to remove.

Both these jobs need a careful touch, though. The correct pressure, temperature, and cleaning solutions are key to avoid damaging the surface underneath the mess. That’s where experience is handy and why it’s often best to call in the specialists.

Algae, mould and mildew

A pressure washer uses high-velocity streams of water and air to remove algae, mould, and mildew from surfaces. The effectiveness comes from the pressure, which is sufficient to dislodge the filaments these microorganisms use to anchor to surfaces — like uprooting plants from the soil. It cleans the surface and prevents potential structural damage and health risks associated with mould.  

If you’re dealing with more than a thin layer, you might use special chemicals to target and break down the spores and root system. They make it easier for the pressure washer to remove the surface cover and ensure the organisms don’t keep growing under the surface.

Always use the right setting for the job to avoid any damage. If unsure about what to do, call the professionals. They’ll know how to handle it.

A picture of Roof to Floor Maintenance pressure cleaning trailer in the foreground and someone pressure cleaning graffiti from a commercial building.

Preparing the area for cleaning


Before using any pressure cleaning equipment, it’s important to ensure the area is properly prepared. 

This includes clearing all loose debris and dirt and moving any furniture and other items out of the way. It’s also a good idea to cover any nearby plants to protect them from overspray.

Finally, it’s essential that all the necessary safety gear is available for those operating the pressure cleaner.

Choosing the right pressure cleaning equipment

Choosing the right pressure-cleaning equipment is critical to achieving your desired results. Pressure washers come in various sizes, from small hand-held units to large industrial machines. If you plan on tackling stubborn stains, it’s important to select a pressure washer with enough power to clean the mess properly. You’ll also want to consider accessories such as spray nozzles and detergent dispensers.

Electric pressure washers are generally more affordable than petrol models and don’t require as much maintenance. However, they usually lack the higher PSI of petrol models, which makes them less suitable for tough stains. On the other hand, petrol-powered pressure washers can provide more force than electric models and be used for heavy-duty cleaning jobs.

Safety should always be your top priority, regardless of the type of equipment you choose. Be sure to read all instructions carefully and wear protective clothing and eyewear.

Applying the right amount of pressure

Applying the correct pressure is important to ensure a successful clean and avoid damage. Knowing how different surfaces react to varying pressure levels is crucial to doing this effectively.

A pressure cleaner’s power is measured in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI). You’ll find machines categorised from low to high pressure ranging from 1000 PSI to 10,000 PSI. 

 It’s crucial to apply the right amount of pressure when cleaning. Too much pressure can cause irreversible damage on certain surfaces, such as wood and soft stone. On the other hand, using too little pressure won’t be enough to remove stubborn stains effectively and will be a waste of time. 

 Understanding your surface type and using the correct amount of pressure is essential for successful stain removal with pressure cleaning. Saber Power Washers provide a quick visual guide on the pressure required for different surfaces. OEM Group also break down the suggested PSI depending on your job.

 The most effective way to ensure you’re using the right amount of pressure is by starting low and increasing until you find what works best for your surface and stain. This eliminates guesswork and minimises the risk of surface damage. 

 It’s also important to remember that higher settings may look like they’re working better than lower settings, but this isn’t always true. If in doubt, enlist the help of a professional.

Safety considerations when pressure cleaning

When you’re pressure cleaning, safety is of the utmost importance. Before starting any pressure-cleaning project, assess any potential risks and plan accordingly. 

This includes:

  • using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection and gloves, 
  • proper anchor points and harnesses when working at heights, 
  • ensuring all surfaces are properly covered.

Cleaning chemicals should always be used per the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should immediately clean any spills. All chemical containers should also be clearly labelled and stored away from children or pets.

In addition, take extra care when using a pressure washer on fragile surfaces such as wood or stone. It’s easy to damage these materials with too much pressure, so use caution and test a small area first. All in all, taking the proper safety precautions can help ensure that your next pressure-cleaning project goes smoothly and without incident.

Professional vs DIY pressure cleaning 

When tackling stubborn stains with pressure cleaning, DIY and professional contractors have their benefits and drawbacks. Doing it yourself can save money but requires familiarity with the tools and techniques. On the other hand, a pressure cleaning contractor may be more expensive but offer experience and specialised equipment to ensure the job is done right. Choosing the right option depends on the extent of the stains, the type of surface, and your budget. 

As mentioned above, you’ll need specific tools and supplies when DIY pressure cleaning. Pressure washers are available in various sizes and power levels and can make the job easier if used correctly. Other supplies such as detergents, degreasers, brushes, and protective eyewear may also be necessary, depending on the type of stain. And it’s important to understand that while DIY solutions can be effective, they may not work on every stain or surface.

Professional pressure cleaning contractors have specialised equipment that provides a deeper clean than what is typically available through DIY solutions. Additionally, experienced professionals know which types of products and techniques will provide optimal results without damaging surfaces or surrounding property. When selecting a professional, it pays to research their experience and read customer reviews.

At the end of the day, choosing between professional or DIY solutions comes down to:

  • type of stain and surface
  • personal preference
  • budget constraints
  • your physical capabilities
  • knowledge of pressure cleaning techniques.

Regardless of which choice, remember safety should always come first—no matter how confident you are in your skillset!

Aftercare tips

Once you’ve finished cleaning, taking specific steps to keep the area clean and stain-free is important. Aftercare involves several simple steps to help you maintain a clean space and prolong the surface life. 

First, apply a sealant or protective coating to the cleaned surface. This will create a barrier, helping to prevent future staining. Use an appropriate sealant for your specific material – some coatings may be too strong for certain materials, while others may not provide enough protection.

Second, regularly sweep or vacuum debris or dirt from the surface. This is particularly important for tennis courts and paved areas, as leaves, dirt and debris trap water, which encourages mould growth.

Finally, if you spot any stubborn stains on the surface after cleaning, don’t scrub too hard, as this could lead to damage. 

Following these simple tips will ensure your surfaces remain clean and stain-free for years to come.

Prefer a professional to help you with your pressure cleaning? Follow these simple steps for a quote:

  1. Request a quote here.
  2. Enter your contact details.
  3. Let us know how we can help – a brief outline of what you’d like cleaned with a size estimate is all we need.
  4. Photos would be a great help, but don’t worry if you can’t upload any. If you don’t have photos, we can sometimes get an idea of the job size from Google Street View if we have an address.

Or, call us on 0412 204 645 or email

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