what is pressure washing

Some actions work silently behind the scenes in your business, not demanding the spotlight yet dramatically impacting the entire stage. Pressure washing is one such unsung hero. 

At first glance, it may seem like just another cleaning method. But what is pressure washing – and what exactly can it do to elevate the appearance, profits, and productivity of your company? 

In this beginner’s guide, you’ll discover the profound value of investing in a commercial pressure washer regardless of what industry you’re in. 

The fact of the matter is this: your business probably has routine messes that need to be addressed for a combination of aesthetic, safety, and longevity reasons. And, nothing cleans as quickly and effectively as a pressure washer.

Further to that point, nothing cleans like a Hotsy. So if you’re in the Texas region and want to upgrade your company’s cleaning process, give us a call or stop by to invest in a commercial pressure washer in San Antonio. But first, let’s cover the basics. What is pressure washing?

What is Pressure Washing?

Pressure washing, often also referred to as power washing, is the art and science of utilizing water propelled at high pressures to clean surfaces and remove stubborn dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and even paint. 

Unlike the traditional hose you might have in your backyard, pressure washers amplify the force of water, turning it into a powerful tool that can cut through the toughest of buildups. 

The implications are vast for business. From the basic aesthetic appeal of a clean storefront or gleaming fleet of vehicles, to the more nuanced aspects like extending the life of equipment or ensuring health standards are met, pressure washing is a potent weapon in a business’s arsenal.

Types of Pressure Washers

There are different types of pressure washers, and gaining a thorough understanding of their nuances is critical to developing the optimal cleaning process. 

You’ll need to choose between a cold water pressure washer vs hot water unit, a gas vs electric power washer, and of course, you’ll need to choose the right pressure washer PSI and pressure washer GPM.

Our guide on choosing a pressure washer can help you navigate these uncertainties. Or, get in touch with us and the experts at Hotsy will help you locate the perfect cleaning solution. In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of how these units differ:

  • Electric Pressure Washers: These are perfect for indoor operations or places where exhaust emissions might be a concern as they’re typically lighter and quieter. But, they’re a bit weaker, so they’re used for lighter tasks, such as cleaning patios, sidewalks, or smaller equipment.
  • Gas-powered Pressure Washers: These are the beasts of the pressure washing world. With higher PSI (pounds per square inch) ratings, gas-powered washers can tackle more substantial tasks like heavy equipment cleaning, stripping paint, or cleaning vast parking lots.
  • Hot Water Pressure Washers: These combine the power of heated water with high pressure to break down stubborn grime and can cut through grease, oil, and other stubborn residues. As such, they’re essential for industries like auto repair shops or restaurants.
  • Cold Water Pressure Washers: These are more common and more affordable, but you lose a bit of performance. Nevertheless, they can handle the vast majority of cleaning tasks with aplomb. They’re perfect for regular maintenance and cleaning of buildings, vehicles, and outdoor areas.

You can learn more about choosing the best commercial pressure washer in our blog if you’d like – but the machine itself is just one piece of the puzzle. 

The Role of Detergents and Accessories

You’ll need to round out your pressure washing equipment list with pressure washer soap and the best pressure washer accessories to supercharge your cleaning process. We have all these for you at Hotsy as well.

Think of pressure washing detergents as the secret sauce in the pressure-washing recipe. Depending on the nature of the grime, different detergents can be used. 

For instance, a detergent that’s designed to break down organic material is perfect for a deck plagued by mold, while a degreasing agent might be chosen for a garage floor stained with oil. 

It’s crucial to choose the right detergent not only for efficiency but also to ensure the safety of the surface being cleaned. Our guide to figuring out what kind of soap for pressure washer is a great starting point, or get a personalized recommendation from our list of the best soaps for pressure washers.

You’ll also need certain accessories depending on what and how you clean. From different nozzle types, which control the water’s direction and angle, to brushes, extenders, and surface cleaners, the right accessory can make a job faster and more thorough. 

A turbo nozzle, for instance, can speed up the cleaning process by creating a powerful water jet in a circular motion, while a surface cleaner can evenly clean large flat areas like parking lots, shop floors, or factory floors.

What is Pressure Washing Good For? 

With all the different cleaning methods at your disposal, what is pressure washing good for – is it really that much better than a strong hose and some general-purpose cleaner?

We have a complete guide covering the benefits of pressure washing if you want the full scoop. Or, discover the key takeaways below.

  • Fast, Effective Cleaning to Make the Most of Resources: Time is money for your business. Pressure washing slashes cleaning times, allowing businesses to focus on what they do best. Its efficiency ensures that stubborn stains, which could take hours of scrubbing by hand, are dealt with in a fraction of the time. 
  • Prolong the Life of Buildings, Equipment, and More: Grime, dirt, and contaminants erode and damage surfaces over time. Regular pressure washing not only keeps these surfaces clean but also extends their lifespan, saving businesses potentially hefty repair or replacement costs in the long run.
  • Enhance Your Business’s Appearance: First impressions matter. A clean exterior can speak volumes about a company’s professionalism and attention to detail. Pressure washing helps businesses put their best foot forward, attracting more customers and instilling trust from the get-go.
  • The Safety Side of Things: Beyond aesthetics, cleanliness is a safety issue. Build-ups of mold, mildew, or grease can lead to slips and accidents and lower quality of life for those who have to breathe them in. Pressure washing regularly helps in minimizing these risks, ensuring that your workspace is not just clean, but safe too.
  • A Versatile Addition to Your Company’s Arsenal: From fleet maintenance to building facades, from machinery to sidewalks, pressure washing is versatile. It’s a solution that adapts to various business needs, making it an invaluable asset.

What Industry is Pressure Washing Used in?

Now, with a better understanding of how pressure washing works and why it’s such a boon for businesses focused on cleanliness and productivity, what industry is pressure washing used for? 

The short answer is this: any industry can benefit from elevating their cleaning possess with a pressure washer. 

From pressure washer car wash operations to power washing siding at your warehouse, pressure washing rust removal for heavy equipment, cleaning gym equipment, pressure washing restaurantsthe use cases are endless. Here are the most common, though:

  • Construction: Time is essential, and a clean worksite ensures safety. Pressure washers swiftly handle post-construction cleanup, prolong the life of heavy machinery by eliminating grime, and prepare sites by clearing previous residues.
  • Manufacturing: In an environment where by-products like oil and industrial residues are common, pressure washers maintain equipment, enhance safety by cleaning spills, and ensure that no contaminants affect the end product.
  • Food Service/Processing: Sanitation is paramount in this industry. Pressure washing eliminates pathogens with high-pressure hot water, removes organic food residues, and is an indispensable tool for adhering to health regulations.
  • Auto Detailing and Fleet Maintenance: Vehicles not only look good after a pressure wash, but they function better too. Deep cleaning removes grime from all parts of the vehicle, a clean fleet enhances branding, and regular washes can stave off rust, prolonging vehicle life.
  • Retail Use Cases: First impressions count in retail. Clean exteriors draw customers in, and maintaining interiors ensures they stay. Pressure washing keeps storefronts inviting, prevents accidents due to slippery residues, and in today’s health-conscious age, clean shopping areas can boost customer trust.
  • Hospitality: For businesses in the hospitality sector, clean outdoor areas like pools and patios are crucial. Similarly, ensuring hygienic conditions in dining and entertainment zones can significantly enhance the guest experience.
  • Agriculture: In an industry where equipment functionality and product quality are paramount, pressure washing efficiently cleans farming tools, removes residues from storage areas, and keeps livestock zones clean, promoting overall animal health.

Pressure washing isn’t just a way to clean your company’s assets. It’s a time-saver that reduces costs, enhances business image, ensures safety, and offers unmatched versatility. You know now that you need it – but should you rent, buy, or outsource pressure washing for your company?

Renting vs Buying vs Outsourcing a Pressure Washer for Your Business

There are three ways you can make pressure washing a regular part of your company’s cleaning process: renting, buying, or outsourcing the job altogether. Each has its pros and cons, but only one is right for you. Here’s what you need to consider:


Outsourcing might initially appear as the most straightforward choice. You assign the task to specialists who have the expertise. Yet, the simplicity can come with costs and complications. It often turns out to be the priciest option over the long haul. 

Coordinating with third-party services for scheduling can also introduce unforeseen challenges, making it less spontaneous and potentially interrupting business operations. 

Moreover, entrusting your cleaning needs to outsiders might lead to less control over the specifics of the job, from the cleaning agents used to the focus areas. 

And in considering the pressure washing prices per square foot commercial, it becomes a financial burden that’s hard to justify over renting or buying.


Opting to rent pressure washers is ideal for establishments with occasional cleaning who don’t want to commit to ownership – either for cost or storage reasons. Renting offers flexibility as you can select the model that fits your current need and switch it up as requirements evolve. 

Although you’ll avoid the large upfront costs of purchasing, frequent renting can accumulate costs over time. However, a significant plus is the absence of long-term maintenance concerns or the hassle of storage. 

You’ll need to weigh frequency against the pressure washer rental cost, and compare that to the cost of buying a pressure washer outright. If you’re wondering where can you rent a pressure washer, we have a guide to help you find a provider.


Investing in a pressure washer is a wise move for businesses with consistent cleaning demands. The initial expense is offset by the long-term benefits. 

Having a machine on-premises means spontaneous cleaning sessions are always an option, eliminating the need to align with external schedules or wait on rented equipment. 

The cumulative cost of owning often proves to be less than repeated rentals or outsourcing in the long run. Ownership also paves the way for a tailored cleaning approach, allowing you to pick specific detergents and train staff to adhere to your standards.


Just remember this – whether you ultimately choose to rent or buy a pressure washer, you can count on Hotsy as a trusted partner in the South Texas region. We offer pressure washer rentals and stock a full catalog of industrial machines for purchase.

Tips for Getting Started Pressure Washing

Before we bring this beginner’s guide to a close we want to leave you with some parting advice on how to use a pressure washer and more advanced pressure washing tips to set you up for success: 

  • Safety Gear You’ll Need: Before you even turn on the machine, ensure you’re equipped with the right safety gear. At a minimum, this should include goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris, gloves to ensure a firm grip and shield your hands, closed shoes (preferably water-resistant), and ear protection if you’re using a particularly loud model. Don’t forget protective pressure washing clothes to minimize water and chemical exposure, and thus, lower pressure washer injury risks.
  • The Basics of Using a Pressure Washer: Begin by reading the user manual as each model may have unique features. Always start with the lowest pressure setting to avoid surface damage. Hold the nozzle about two feet from the surface and adjust as necessary. Move the spray in a sweeping motion for even cleaning. Always aim the spray away from people, animals, and windows.
  • Using Detergent to Enhance the Clean: For stubborn stains, utilizing detergent can be a game-changer. Ensure you’re using a detergent compatible with your pressure washer and the surface you’re cleaning. Fill the detergent dispenser, then apply using a low-pressure setting. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes (but don’t let it dry) before rinsing under high pressure. Learn how to use soap with a pressure washer in our complete guide.

Wrapping Up Our Beginner’s Guide to Pressure Washing

That concludes our beginner’s guide on what is pressure washing. As you’ve traversed through this guide, you’ve gained insights into its nuances, benefits, and best practices, all underpinning its pivotal role across various industries,

Learn more about starting a pressure washing business, perfecting your pressure washer trailer setup, pressure washer troubleshooting, pressure washer oil requirements, how to start a pressure washer, and more in our blog. We are your trusted source for all things pressure washing.

And as we’ve said throughout this introductory guide, that includes the units themselves. We have standard units, pressure washer trailers in San Antonio, and even pressure washer service & repair in San Antonio.

Whether you’re just starting or looking to upgrade, remember that a clean business is a thriving business. Don’t hesitate to visit us or give us a call. Let’s make your business shine together!