Why Your Pressure Washer Soap Dispenser Doesn't Work

You invested in a pressure washer and an accompanying detergent because you were told it would make your life easier. And it’s true – using a pressure washer with soap is a great way to supercharge your cleaning process and get through jobs faster. And, the end result is far more impressive. There are other benefits to combining the power of hot water pressure washers and a quality detergent, like less risk of damaging surfaces and lower water usage.

But – if your pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work, it can leave you frustrated and unsure of your next steps. Sure, you can try and get by using just the water pressure itself. However, to help you get the most out of your investment, we’re going to answer the question you came here with today…why won’t my pressure washer dispense soap?

In the coming paragraphs, we’ll identify the most common causes for why your pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work and the related fixes. If what we discuss today doesn’t seem to remedy the problem, you can bring your unit to a Hotsy retailer in South Texas near you. Our expert repair and maintenance staff are on standby ready to get the unit back working as intended.

Before we get into all that, though, allow us to quickly explain how to dispense soap from a pressure washer. After all, there’s a slight chance you could just be missing a key step in the process. Let’s take a look:

How to Dispense Soap From a Pressure Washer: Quick Guide

Assuming you have a pressure washer with an operational soap dispenser, there are only a few steps standing between you and sudsy success. Here’s a quick guide on how to dispense soap from a pressure washer:

  1. Fill the pressure washer detergent tank with your desired cleaning solution – just make sure it’s compatible with your model
  2. Select the appropriate nozzle for applying soap. You can find this listed in your user manual
  3. Attach the hose from the pressure washer detergent tank to the unit. Again, consult your user manual if you’re unsure how to do this
  4. Turn on your pressure washer and select a low setting. This is important because using too much pressure can actually cause liquid to be forced back into the tank
  5. Pull the trigger on the pressure washer wand to allow the solution to flow. You should see suds immediately
  6. Apply the soap to your surface using an up and down or side to side motion
  7. Once you’re done, turn off your pressure washer and release any remaining pressure in the hose. This will help prevent detergent from leaking out later
  8. Finally, disconnect the hose from both the pressure washer and detergent tank. It’s always a good idea to give everything a quick rinse with water before storing it away.

There are additional steps in this process – many of which come before actually setting up your unit. We encourage you to read our article on the best soaps for pressure washing – along with our discussion on how much soap to put in your pressure washer. Our in-depth guide on how to use a pressure washer with detergent provides a far more detailed overview of how to dispense soap from a pressure washer if you’d like further clarification.

My Pressure washer Soap Dispenser Doesn’t Work…Now What?

Assuming you’ve followed all the advice above and your pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work still, now what? Even the best industrial pressure washer can experience issues here and there. And while you can certainly continue using the unit without soap in the meantime, you want to get the most out of your pressure washer. Eventually, you’ll need to address the issue and come up with a fix.

If you’re wondering why won’t my pressure washer dispense soap, keep reading. We’ll provide a few potential causes – and their accompanying fixes.

Why Won’t My Pressure Washer Dispense Soap? 5 Common Causes & Solutions

Sometimes, the cause for your pressure washer soap dispenser not working is as simple as a clog in the nozzle – or, perhaps you chose the wrong nozzle altogether. Or, it could be something more complex and convoluted – like a broken soap injection system. We’ll cover all this and more below.

You Have a Clogged Nozzle or Hose

Over time, it’s not uncommon for a nozzle or hose to become clogged with dirt and debris. This can be easily remedied by taking a quick look at the screen – if it’s caked with crud, simply remove it and give it (and the area around it) a good cleaning. 

You may also want to check the pressure washer pump inlet screens and filters while you’re at it. Eventually, you may need to replace the nozzle and hoses altogether. We always recommend running pure water through your lines and out the nozzle prior to breaking the unit down to prevent this issue from arising in the first place.

The Detergent Tank Has a Clog

If you don’t have a clog in your nozzle or your hoses, the next step should be to check your detergent tank. If you made the mistake of leaving soap in your detergent tank and failed to rinse it thoroughly after the previous use, it’s likely that soap scum has dried and clogged the exit point in the tank. 

The fix is simple – scrub it clean and remove the clog. And next time, clean your tank prior to unit breakdown!

You Chose the Wrong Nozzle for Soap

Another common reason your pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work is that you’re using the incorrect nozzle. Remember, different nozzles serve different purposes – some are designed for applying soap while others aren’t.

We have an in-depth resource on choosing the right soap nozzle for a pressure washer. There, you’ll learn that we typically recommend going with the black nozzle for soap – it has a larger orifice that decreases the water velocity. And thus, it increases the pressure in the hose, creating a better spray with soap.

If you still feel uncertain about which nozzle you should choose, check your user manual or contact Hotsy customer service for assistance.

The Detergent You Chose is Not Compatible

It’s also possible that the pressure washer soap you’re using simply isn’t compatible with your unit. This is why we always recommend checking with Hotsy (or another trusted source) before adding any new solution to your pressure washer. Using an incompatible product could cause serious damage to your machine. 

If the detergent is too thick, it won’t be able to adequately make its way from the tank, through the soap injection system, and out the spray nozzle. This can be the result of either improper dilution or improper soap selection altogether.

Fortunately, we’ve written a complete guide on what kind of soap to use for pressure washing. Not only will this help you understand the importance of using only certified Hotsy soaps – but it will also help you pick the right formulation for any sort of job. Whatever you do, avoid going with a homemade pressure washer detergent! Shop at Hotsy for the premier selection of pressure washer degreaser soap.

Broken Soap Injection System in Your Unit

The soap injection system is responsible for mixing your detergent and adding it into the high-pressure washer that shoots out your nozzle. There are a few components in this system, and if any of them fail, it could prevent the unit from dispensing soap altogether.

If your pressure washer has a broken soap injection system, it likely needs professional repair. We don’t recommend attempting to fix this on your own as you could end up causing more harm than good. Contact Hotsy customer service or bring your unit into a local servicing location for assistance.

Need Further Assistance? Visit a Hotsy Location in South Texas for Repair & Maintenance

Many times when your pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work, it’s a case of user error. Maybe you dropped the ball on routine pressure washer servicing and your emitter, nozzle, or hose has become clogged. Or perhaps you just need to brush up on some of our top pressure washing techniques – as you’re not adding enough soap or setting the pressure washer up correctly.

However, there is also a chance – albeit unlikely – that your Hotsy unit needs to be inspected and repaired by professionals. If you need further assistance, we encourage you to visit one of our Hotsy locations in South Texas. There, our team of pressure washing experts will be more than happy to help you troubleshoot the issue with your pressure washer soap dispenser – or perform any necessary pressure washer repair or maintenance. We service San Antonio, Houston, New Braunfels, Laredo, and everywhere else in South Texas.

One of the best parts about Hotsy pressure washer rental is that if you experience issues while on the job, we’ll bring you a new unit and fix the old one! You never have to worry about downtime when you put your trust in us.

Final Thoughts on Why Your Pressure Washer Soap Dispenser Doesn’t Work

Why won’t my pressure washer dispense soap? You now know a few of the most likely reasons your pressure washer soap dispenser doesn’t work. We’ve provided not just the potential causes, but accompanying solutions so you can get back to work quickly – with as little downtime and wasted time/resources as possible.

If you find that the remedies we’ve provided don’t work, don’t stress. Just visit a Hotsy retailer in South Texas near you. Or, give us a call. We’re so much more than a San Antonio pressure washer store – we’re your one-stop-shop for all things commercial cleaning.

Remember – many of the problems people experience with pressure washers is caused by user error. Be sure to read the user manual carefully during setup and prior to actually using the unit. When in doubt, reach out – Hotsy pressure washers are as good as it gets. But only if you use them correctly!