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Can you use Dish Soap in a Pressure Washer?

A detergent or soap is very important when using a pressure washer to clean home exteriors. However, a blast of water alone will not help in getting rid of greasy dirt and grime. Additional of a detergent or soap will do the trick. Dawn detergent is commonly used for this purpose. Is it safe?

Can you use Dawn in a Pressure Washer?

Even with the best pressure washer in the world, you will need a detergent to make your surfaces cleaner. Using a detergent while cleaning comes with plenty of benefits. From fast grease cutting to a sparkling germs free surfaces.

A recommended detergent or soap can be used in a pressure washer in two ways. You can put it in a detergent reservoir on the machine or in an external tank connected with a hose to your pressure washer machine. 

While there are plenty of detergents out there, some can be too harsh to your pressure washer machine and to the environment. Dawn dish soap is one of the best formula to use in your pressure cleaner. Other than having great grease cutting power, Dawn will not damage your pressure washer or harm plants around.

To ensure that the soap does not clog your cleaning system, dilute the detergent with enough water so that it becomes less thick or sticky. Also run clean water in the machine after using so that any drops of the detergent does not gum up the pump. A lot of people have used Dawn in pressure washers without any problem.

Can I use Regular Soap in a Pressure Washer?

Detergent or soap is an effective additive for combating stains, dirt, mildew and algae on your patios, house siding, driveways and decks.

Having said that, some of these products may have detrimental effects environmentally, on your surfaces or on the cleaning machines.

Cleaning solutions comes with different types of ingredients ranging from chemical to natural. You should consider using biodegradable and Eco-friendly cleaners to prevent environmental damages. Also take necessary precautions when using chemical based cleaners. This include covering plants around and using away from kids and animals.

Using a regular soap in a pressure washer is not a great deal either. Unspecified products can damage landscaping or strip paint from your surfaces. Regardless of where you use the ordinary soap, it can damage the interior parts of your pressure washer if it contains harsh ingredients.

What kind of Soap can I use in my Pressure Washer?

The purpose for cleaning primarily determines the kind of product or cleaning method to use. To begin with, a pressure washer alone is pretty enough for tackling ordinary jobs. A soap or detergent will be needed for cleaning tough dirt and grime such as oil stains.

Secondly the nature of intended surface you are dealing with is critical factor. Don’t use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. They aren’t formulated for use on a cars and may strip off paint or the protective wax.

Last but not least, the cost of using a dish soap can be pretty higher when dealing with a large project. Using dawn in a pressure washer for example can be economical when handling small jobs and very expensive for commercial or large scale tasks.

Pressure washer detergents are formulated for specific use. Using unspecified pressure washer cleaner can end up damaging your surfaces. If you are not sure about the kind of soap to use in your pressure washer, simply use water.

A multipurpose cleaner will also be the next great option, the soap can be used on numerous surfaces such as concrete, siding, fences and deck among others. For vehicles, you may have go for a specified vehicle cleaner to avoid any damage to the paint work. Further, biodegradable and environment friendly products are safe to use around home.

How to use your Pressure washer Soap

Most soaps for pressure washers are concentrated thus need to be diluted. Using a detergent in full-strength form can be uneconomical and unhealthy to your pressure washer. When diluted, a detergent covers a large project and will not clog your machine.

Specified pressure washer soap will come with manufacturer’s instructions on how to dilute and use. However if you have to use a dish soap in your pressure washer, here is what to do:

  • Get a dish detergent that has a super degreaser properties like Dawn Dish Soap
  • Mix 1/3 cup of the dish detergent with 1 gallon of water, do not make the mixture too soapy
  • Pour your diluted soap mixture into your pressure washer detergent tank
  • Use low-pressure spray nozzle to apply solution to the surface that you are cleaning
  • Let the soap sit for 5-7 minutes to penetrate soils and don’t allowing it to dry before rinsing
  • Adjusting to a high-pressure setting, rinse the soap and any residue
  • Use a garden hose to saturate plants and grass after cleaning to rinse away any soap


A recommended dish soap like dawn can be used in a pressure washer for cleaning of driveways, walkways, patios and other surfaces. But it advisable to use specified detergents formulated for pressure washers. Remember to read and follow manufacturer’s label instructions before using any cleaning product in your pressure washer.

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