You are here: Home > How to Remove Stubborn Stains with a Pressure Washer

How to Remove Stubborn Stains with a Pressure Washer

Stubborn stains can be a frustrating and unsightly nuisance, whether they're on your driveway, patio, or exterior walls. Fortunately, a pressure washer is a powerful tool that can help you effectively remove even the toughest stains. With the right technique and approach, you can restore the cleanliness and appearance of various surfaces in no time. In this guide from pwoutlet, an online pressure washer parts store, we'll explore how to remove stubborn stains with a pressure washer. And, if you need the best pressure washer parts and accessories, as well as pressure washers, browse our selection today.

Assessing the Stain

Before you begin, it's essential to assess the stain and understand its nature. Different stains, such as oil, grease, rust, or mold, may require specific cleaning techniques or products. In some cases, pre-treating the stain with a suitable cleaning solution can significantly enhance the cleaning process.

For oil or grease stains on driveways or garage floors, applying a commercial degreaser or a mixture of baking soda and water can help break down the oil. For rust stains on surfaces, there are specialized rust removal products available. For mold or mildew stains, a mixture of bleach and water or a mildew cleaner can effectively remove the growth.

Preparing the Area

Before you start pressure washing, it's essential to prepare the area to ensure the best results and to minimize any potential damage. Remove any loose debris, such as leaves, dirt, or trash, from the area you'll be cleaning. Clearing the area of any objects or furniture will also prevent them from getting damaged or obstructing the cleaning process.

Cover nearby plants or delicate structures with plastic or fabric to protect them from any potential damage caused by the high-pressure water stream. Wetting down the surrounding area before pressure washing can also help prevent debris from being kicked up and further soiling the cleaned surface.

Selecting the Appropriate Nozzle and Pressure Setting

Choosing the right pressure washer nozzle and pressure setting is crucial for effectively removing stubborn stains without causing damage to the surface. Most pressure washers come with a selection of nozzles that offer different spray patterns and pressure levels. Our pressure washer nozzle size guide can help, too.

For stubborn stains, a pinpoint or rotating turbo nozzle can provide a concentrated and more powerful stream. However, it's important to adjust the pressure setting according to the surface you're cleaning. For more delicate surfaces, like wood or painted areas, using a lower pressure setting is necessary to prevent damage.

Start with the nozzle and pressure setting that offers a lower pressure stream, and gradually increase the pressure if needed. It's always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure you're using the right pressure and nozzle combination.

Applying the Pressure Washer

Once you're prepared and have selected the appropriate pressure washer nozzle and pressure setting, it's time to start pressure washing. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you effectively remove stubborn stains:

  • Stand at a suitable distance from the stain, usually around 12 to 18 inches, and hold the pressure washer nozzle at a slight angle to the surface.

  • Begin by making sweeping passes over the stain, gradually bringing the nozzle closer while maintaining a consistent distance.

  • Use slow, overlapping motions to ensure thorough coverage and consistent cleaning.

  • Pay extra attention to the stained area, spending more time and applying more pressure if necessary.

  • For particularly stubborn stains, you may need to move in closer or switch to a pressure washer nozzle with a narrower spray pattern to concentrate the cleaning power.

  • Avoid staying in one spot for too long to prevent damaging the surface. Keep the pressure washer nozzle moving at a steady pace.

  • If pre-treating with a cleaning solution, apply it to the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes before pressure washing. This will help break down the stain and make it easier to remove.

Post-Cleaning Care and Maintenance

After successfully removing the stubborn stains, it's important to give the cleaned surface some post-cleaning care to maintain its appearance and prevent future staining. Here are a few tips:

  • Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water to remove any residual cleaning solution or debris.

  • Allow the surface to dry completely before using or replacing any objects or furniture.

  • Apply a suitable sealant or protective coating to enhance the surface's resistance to future staining or damage.

  • Regularly clean the surface with a pressure washer or appropriate cleaning methods to prevent the buildup of new stains.

  • Take necessary precautions to avoid future stains. For example, place a drip tray or mat under vehicles to catch any oil or grease drips.

  • Be sure you have spare pressure washer parts handy. This can ensure you're ready for the next stains!

What NOT to Pressure Wash

It's important to note that while pressure washing can effectively remove stubborn stains, there are some surfaces and materials that should not be pressure washed. Delicate surfaces, such as certain types of wood or painted areas, may be susceptible to damage from the high-pressure water stream. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and consider consulting a professional if you're uncertain about pressure washing a particular surface.


A pressure washer is an excellent tool for removing stubborn stains from a wide variety of surfaces. By assessing the stain, preparing the area, selecting the appropriate pressure wash nozzle and pressure setting, and using the right technique, you can effectively eliminate stubborn stains and restore the cleanliness and appearance of your outdoor spaces. Remember to take post-cleaning care and maintenance steps to prolong the results and prevent future staining and to have pressure washer parts on hand. With the right approach, your pressure washer can be a powerful ally in keeping your surfaces clean and stain-free.

Our washer parts store is proud to support you in your efforts to remove stains. We carry the best brands of pressure washers for your needs, as well as pressure washer parts and accessories, to make your job easier. From pressure washer pumps to pressure washer hoses, we've got your needs covered. Browse pwoutlet's selection of best pressure washer parts online today.