Spring's here, which means it's time to get your patio and decking ready for entertaining outdoors, and your car and caravan dirt-free before hitting the road. A pressure washer can make quick work of it all, but how do you avoid causing damage?
Pressure washers work by blasting surfaces with a high-pressure jet of water and are a great way of removing ingrained grime from patios, decking, cars, caravans and garden furniture. It's important to use them correctly, though, as the jet is strong enough to damage car paintwork or delicate woodgrain in decking.
Our top tips on what not to do will help you use your pressure washer with confidence and make sure you get the cleaning results you want.
Basic pressure washers come with just one lance and nozzle. But more expensive models can come with several that have different strengths and shapes of jet spray. These include:
If your pressure washer only has a fixed jet, move it further away from the object you're cleaning to reduce the force of the spray and avoid damage.
A patio-cleaning attachment has a plastic hood with a brush around the bottom edge which helps reduce the amount of dirty water flying around. Inside the hood there are a pair of jets that rotate at high speed close to the ground to blast off the dirt.
If you're cleaning your patio, always try to use a cleaning attachment. It not only saves you time and makes the job easier, but we also found we stooped less when using one.
Some washers come with a patio-cleaning attachment included. But if it doesn't, you can usually buy one for around £50
No matter how carefully you use your pressure washer, you're more than likely going to get wet and dirty.
Avoid wearing open-toed shoes or flip-flops - instead invest in a good pair of wellies and some waterproof trousers to help keep your clothes clean.
Rather than just trying to spray off the dirt from your car and risk damaging the paintwork, tackle the job in several steps.
You'll risk removing the mortar between the slabs.
Instead pull them out by hand - an old blunt knife is perfect for prising out the roots from tight gaps. You could also try a long-handled patio brush, which has a narrow, wire brush that's ideal for getting into the cracks between slabs, or a patio knife