Pressure Washer Maintenance

by Clarence Santangelo

So before I teach you guys how to use a pressure washer, I want to make sure you can maintain it once you have it. This might sound a little backwards, but I think you’ll actually learn quite a bit about how they work and how to use them by learning about how to take care of them.

Once I get you started using your pressure washer I’m pretty sure you’re not going to care about maintaining them anymore because you’re just going to be out there firing away at everything, so let’s get this settled right now.

Maintaining your pressure washer

Okay, there are some other reasons you might want to learn about pressure washer maintenance beyond just learning how to use it. Maybe you already know! Either way, we’ll walk through it together and if you have any questions just get in touch!

How you maintain your pressure washer is going to depend on lot on which kind you have: gasoline-powered or electric. The gas-powered pressure washers tend to need a bit more TLC than their electric counterparts, and believe it or not the manual that came with your pressure washer (most likely available online because I’m sure you threw the thing out) has pretty good information in it.

Maintenance is an ongoing battle against mother nature (and father science), so just make sure to instill these habits from the start and you shouldn’t have any issues. If you keep up the habits, you won’t even have to get it serviced!

I’ll break this down into two parts, before using your power washer and after using your power washer.

Maintenance before using your pressure washer

  • Check your o-rings. You want to look at the O-rings to see if they’re leaking, you’re looking for tears or other external damage or sign of weakening. You can’t repair these you just have to replace them if you notice any problems and it’s a pretty good idea to. If you don’t they can cause leaking which causes damage to the machine or even to you, so be careful and check those rings!
  • Check your hose. Like the O-rings, you’re looking for external damage and for the same reasons. It is possible to repair a hose, but it’ll usually cost you the same price as getting a new one. Check in with your manufacturer and see if they’d be willing to ship out one to you for free.  It’s worth a shot.
  • Examine the spray gun & nozzle. You want to see if the spray trigger has normal action and full range of motion. For the nozzle you want to see if it’s clogged (make sure the machine isn’t connected, thank you very much). If it is, you can often get out the debris by soaking in some vinegar, but if it’s damaged, just replace it.
  • Check the oil and gas. The gas shouldn’t be sitting in there for a year, but if it is you can add some more gasoline and stabilizer to fix it up. The oil shouldn’t be dark, and if you aren’t sure, just give it a change. You typically want to change out the oil after 40 or so hours of operation.

Here’s a quick video that goes over some of the basics of pressure washer maintenance for visual learners:

Maintenance after using your pressure washer

  • Turn-off the pressure washer. Before you do anything else, make sure your machine is disconnected from power and water.
  • Clean the detergent injector. Just rinse this out with water and make sure there isn’t any scum forming.
  • Push all water out. Especially important in the winter, but you don’t want to store your machine with any water in it at all. It’s no fun spraying pressurized mold.
  • Add stabilizer. If you aren’t going to be using your gas machine for a while, add some stabilizer to the fuel now so you don’t need to later. I usually have some gaffer’s tape that I write the current date on so I know when I last used it and added stabilizer. If you don’t have stabilizer, drain that fuel out if you won’t be using it. The more fuel you have in the tank, the longer it can last in there because there’s less air volume. After adding stabilizer always run the engine for at least 10 minutes to make sure it’s run through completely.
  • Store in a safe place. Storing your pressure washer like it’s a beloved car (or pet, or anything else beloved) is going to go a long way in prolonging its life. Keep it dry, not too cold, basically just use common-sense. If you’re storing it with gasoline in the tank, make sure it’s well-ventilated away from any sources of heat. Also it’s nice to cover it to keep out dust, but keep in mind plastic sheets aren’t great because they can keep the engine moist, we want dry airflow.
  • Before cleaning the engine: always let the engine cool for at least half an hour. Clean the external surfaces, touch up paint if needed to prevent corrosion.


Hope this helps! If you guys have any other tips to add, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to add them.