Two things you should never clean with a pressure washer, according to experts

A pressure washer is an amazing time saver for larger gardens – but there are some things it won't work as well on

How to clean a patio with a pressure washer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pressure washers are incredibly useful for blitzing the driveway after winter or freshening up garden furniture in preparation for when friends can come over again to socialise in our gardens. 

While they're an essential for any large outdoor space, especially when it comes to how to clean a patio quickly and efficiently to get it looking its best for spring, they don't work with everything. So if you're cleaning the following items, proceed with caution...

Teak furniture

garden furniture ideas: teak dining set from Barlow Tyrie

(Image credit: Barlow Tyrie)

It seems that teak and some other wood furniture are best to be avoided when using a pressure washer. 'You’ll find video after video on the internet of members of the public recommending the use of a jet washer to clean teak and other wooden furniture. We cannot stress enough that this is not recommended,' Peter Tyrie, Managing Director at teak outdoor furniture manufacturer Barlow Tyrie says.

'While power washing is very tempting to achieve quick results, aggressive spraying could destroy the cellulose fibers and structure of the wood, which could irretrievably damage your furniture. Should you choose to use a power washer, turn the power down and do not direct the jet into the joints,' Peter continues.

Cleaning experts Kärcher, also agree that when using a pressure washer to clean wooden decking and furniture, you need to go gently and start on a low pressure, always cleaning in the direction of the grain. If you want to control the power of the best pressure washer better, The Kärcher Smart Control app (available on the App Store and Google Play) can help with this. It allows users to not only control the pressure of the machine using their phone, but also gives feedback based on what they are cleaning.

It also includes a step-by-step guide on how to use a pressure washer and tips and tricks to achieve the best results - from how to remove stubborn dirt from your patio to the different areas the product can be used to clean, including wooden surfaces. .

pressure washer app karcher

(Image credit: Karcher)

Cars and motorhomes

While the car and motorhome world is divided on the topic, Shane Malpass, representative of We Buy Any Motorcaravan isn't sitting on the fence. ‘Pressure washers can be destructive when used on cars and motorhomes,’ warns Shane. ‘First, it’s very easy to make a mistake with a pressure washer. The high-pressure jet can force water to seep through crevices, getting inside. And cleaning with a pressure washer around the windows can damage the seals,' he continues.

‘Even more destructive is the pressure washer's ability to cause water ingress, whereby the force of the water causes the roof of a car or motorhome to "dip". These reasons and more are enough to shun the pressure washer and stick with the humble bucket and sponge.’

However Jasmine Copping, Product Manager at Kärcher disagrees. 'Our K 5 and K 4 Power Control Car & Home models are specifically designed for cleaning cars and motorhomes,' she says. 'They come with additional attachments including a wash brush and foam nozzle which we recommend using when washing away dirt from delicate paintwork on your car.'

pressure washer

(Image credit: Karcher)

While there are differing opinions, if you're cleaning a car or wooden furniture, it's definitely worth going a little more gently.

Need advice on the best patio cleaner to use with your pressure washer? You'll find the top picks in our buying guide to get your patio looking its best for spring.

Millie Hurst
News Writer

Millie Hurst has worked in digital journalism for five years, having previously worked as a Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team in early 2021, working across several brands, including Gardeningetc. Now, she is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles aimed at inspiring people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces.