How to Use Soap With Pressure Washers

How to use soap with a pressure washer

Efficiency and effectiveness are two of the most sought-after traits in any commercial cleaning process. You want to clean well – and fast. When it comes to achieving both, few methods can rival the power of a pressure washer combined with the right detergent.

By learning how to use soap with a pressure washer, you can harness a cleaning force that penetrates deep into the surfaces, breaking down stubborn dirt, grime, and grease with ease. Not only does pressure washer detergent empower you to clean faster/more effectively. It also sanitizes surfaces, which is crucial in some applications.

Below, we’ll teach you how to use soap in pressure washers so you can harness the power of this dynamic duo yourself. You’ll learn about choosing the right soap, loading your detergent tank, soaking the surface in question, and more. 

First, let’s talk about why you should take the time to learn how to use a pressure washer with detergent.

Why Learn How to Use Detergent With a Pressure Washer?

The art of pressure washing is a testament to the power of water. But when combined with the right soap or detergent, the cleaning potential becomes even greater. 

Whether you use an electric vs gas pressure washer, you clean faster and more effectively while protecting the surface in question. We’ll explore these benefits and more in-depth below.

Enhancing Cleaning Efficiency and Effectiveness

There’s no denying the power of a commercial pressure washer. While water alone can remove dirt and grime to a certain extent, it struggles against oil, grease, and other tough substances. 

The addition of soap or detergent changes the game entirely. 

Soap molecules have a hydrophilic end (water-attracting) and a hydrophobic end (water-repellent). The hydrophobic end attaches to the grease, oil, or dirt, while the hydrophilic end remains in the water. 

When you rinse off the soap, the attached dirt comes off with it, leaving a clean surface. This action dramatically increases the efficiency and effectiveness of your cleaning efforts, making it easier to remove stubborn contaminants that water alone can’t handle.

Protecting Surfaces from Damage

Pressure washers are powerful tools, but sometimes they can be too powerful. Using high pressure on delicate surfaces can cause damage, especially when trying to remove tough stains or debris. 

Using soap allows you to reduce the pressure and yet achieve the same, if not better, cleaning results. This way, you can safely clean softer materials like wood, certain plastics, and painted surfaces without risking damage.

Expanding the Range of Cleaning Applications

Knowing how to use soap with a pressure washer opens up a wider range of cleaning possibilities. Each detergent is formulated for specific tasks – there are soaps for removing oil and grease, sanitizing, vehicle cleaning, and so on

By choosing the right soap for the job, you can target specific types of dirt or contaminants. This is particularly beneficial in commercial settings where various cleaning needs may arise. 

From degreasing industrial equipment to sanitizing public spaces, the appropriate soap can make a world of difference.


Whether you’re using a hot water or cold water pressure washer, the benefits of learning how to use soap with a pressure washer are vast. You can clean better – and faster – while protecting surfaces from excess pressure. And, you can sanitize surfaces all at the same time.

That being said, follow along below as we teach you how to use soap in pressure washers.

How to Use Soap With Pressure Washers

Ready to learn how to use detergent with pressure washers? It’s actually fairly straightforward and won’t add much time or effort to your cleaning process. As we said earlier, it may even speed things up for you! 

It all starts with choosing the right soap, though, so let’s talk about what you need to consider when selecting a pressure washer detergent.

Start By Choosing the Right Type of Soap

It’s important to understand that not all soaps are created equal. Selecting the appropriate detergent is crucial for the task at hand. 

For example, you should use a degreaser for oily or greasy surfaces in the food industry or manufacturing facilities, a sanitizing solution for areas that need disinfection like in restaurants or food processing plants, or a car wash detergent for your vehicle fleet. 

Whatever you do, avoid using bleach or chlorine-based cleaners as they can damage your pressure washer’s seals and o-rings. We don’t recommend trying to put random chemicals you have lying around in your pressure washer – it’s worth investing in a specially formulated solution. And that’s where we come in.

The best soap for pressure washers are just a click away at Hotsy of Houston. We have a wide array of specially formulated solutions to take your cleaning process to the next level. 

Not only do we have the perfect detergent for any use-case – but our solutions are ultra-concentrated. That means you get more bang for your buck when investing in your cleaning process with us. And, our detergents are eco-friendly so you don’t have to stress about your impact on the environment.

Preparing Your Pressure Washer for Detergent Use

Before you start up your pressure washer, make sure it is equipped for detergent use. Some models come with a built-in detergent tank, while others require an external container. 

Thoroughly read your pressure washer’s user manual for guidance on using detergents. Typically, you’ll need a low-pressure soap nozzle for applying detergents. 

Once you’ve set up your equipment, make sure you’re wearing appropriate protective gear including gloves and eye protection. Then, it’s time to get started.

Filling Your Detergent Tank

Make sure the detergent tank is clean from previous use before you start filling. Pour the soap into the detergent tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Be sure to use the recommended amount – using too much soap won’t necessarily make your cleaning more effective, and it can make rinsing more difficult

If your pressure washer doesn’t have a built-in detergent tank, you can use a siphon hose and a detergent container. There are also foam cannons you can purchase from our selection of pressure washer parts in Houston.

Apply the Soap and Let the Detergent Soak For a While

Connect the soap applicator nozzle, if your machine has one. Start the pressure washer, then apply the soap in a smooth, sweeping motion.

 Begin at the bottom of the area you’re cleaning and work your way up. This prevents streaks from soap running down areas you’ve already covered. 

Let the soap sit for 5-10 minutes but don’t allow it to dry on the surface. This soaking time is crucial for breaking down stubborn dirt, grease, and grime.

Rinse the Soap Off Top to Bottom Until Suds Are Gone

Swap out the soap applicator nozzle for a high-pressure nozzle. Start at the top of the area you’re cleaning and work your way down, rinsing away the soap and grime. 

Hold the nozzle at a 45-degree angle to the surface you’re cleaning for the best results. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the area to remove all soap suds. 

Repeat or Agitate Manually if Necessary

After you rinse the suds away, a seemingly brand-new surface should be underneath to greet you. The hard work is done – at least, if you followed our advice and used the best industrial pressure washer paired with the best detergent.

But sometimes, a single pass isn’t enough for heavily soiled areas. If the dirt or grease persists, you may need to reapply soap and scrub the area with a brush to agitate and break down the stubborn grime. Then rinse the area again with high pressure.

Maintenance and Storage

Flush out the detergent tank or siphon hose with clean water when you’re all done to prevent soap residue build-up. Proper maintenance will extend the life of your pressure washer and its accessories. 

Store the pressure washer, soap, and other tools properly to ensure they’re ready for your next cleaning project. That’s it – you now know how to use detergent with pressure washers!


Using soap with a pressure washer can significantly boost your cleaning power. The correct application and choice of soap can make challenging cleaning tasks easier and more efficient. 

By following these steps, you can maximize your cleaning results while ensuring the longevity of your equipment. That being said, it’s time to wrap up this guide on how to use soap in pressure washers.

Parting Thoughts on How to Use Soap in Pressure Washers

There you have it, all you need to know about how to use soap with pressure washers. In summary, utilizing soap with your pressure washer is a game-changer for your cleaning needs. 

The right detergent not only enhances the cleaning power but also makes the process more efficient, especially for those stubborn grime and grease stains. 

Remember to choose the right soap for your specific task, prepare your pressure washer, apply soap effectively, rinse thoroughly, and maintain your equipment properly. With these steps, you’ll achieve outstanding cleaning results, no matter the task.

As a trusted name in the industry, our Houston pressure washer store offers a wide range of quality detergents and top-of-the-line cold water pressure washers, hot water pressure washers, and even pressure washer trailers designed for commercial use. 

From pressure washer servicing in Houston or pressure washer rental in Houston, we do it all and are eager to help you elevate your company’s cleaning process. 

Experience the difference that a high-quality pressure washer and the right soap can make for your cleaning tasks. Put what you’ve learned in this guide on how to use soap with pressure washers to the test and see firsthand how it can elevate your process!