Every now and then, my husband, Scott, and I decide to host a dinner party. For us, it is the best way to get together with friends that allows us to eat some good food and let the kids run wild. Plus, it gives us a good excuse to clean up the house, inside and out.

Tidying up our house outside, we tackle the usual chores. We put away shoes and toys, wipe down the outdoor table and chairs, and sweep the lanai. In keeping with the spring-cleaning theme this month, I have started to consider ways we can take it a step further. Scott’s suggestion: power washing.


Scott spent much of his youth working summer jobs that entailed power washing sidewalks and water features. Now, he works in a position that allows him to put these honed skills into practice every so often as well. You might say he has become somewhat of an expert in power washing. Naturally, I consulted him for his top tips:

Think ahead

If you plan to power wash only occasionally, renting a machine may be a smarter option than buying. Aside from the cost, remember that owning a machine will also entail storing and maintaining it. There are electric, gas, diesel and mixed-gas options. Electric models will typically have lower strength than gas, which may add time to the job.

Power up

For home use, Scott recommends a pressure washer with 3,400 to 4,200 psi. The higher the psi, the stronger the spray. However, he notes that the nozzle and distance from which you spray will also affect the strength, so keep that in mind.

Switch it out


The nozzles that come with your power washer affect the spread of the spray. They are usually color-coordinated. Pay attention to the different functions of each, and switch them out for their intended uses. After you pick correct nozzle, test on a small, inconspicuous spot. This will allow you to establish the distance you need to spray before moving onto larger surface areas.

Be safe

Remember that power washers spray at a high strength and some can literally strip the skin off of your body. Wear the appropriate safety gear: closed or steel-toed shoes, goggles and pants. Remember that water creates slippery surfaces, so take that into consideration as you go. Test gun pressure by shooting into the air before you spray a surface.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.