Pressure Washing Your House Before Painting

In order to get the smoothest paint coating possible you'll want to make sure to thoroughly wash the exterior of your home. Failing to do so can cause pockets of uneven layers to develop as the paint dries.

It's also important to remove any mold or mildew buildup before painting your home.

This video (source) will provide you with a quick walk through of the full process.

Here is a summary outlining the materials you will need to gather before power washing.

Materials Needed to Pressure Wash Your Home

  1. Gas powered, 2000-2500 psi model (rent or buy)
  2. Jomax house detergent or any other house detergent
  3. Bleach
  4. 5 gallon buckets for water
  5. Garden sprayer
  6. Clean rag
  7. Rain gear and safety goggles recommended

Full Transcript

Video source:

Hi, I'm John Burbidge, author of the book Watching Paint Dry. Today I'm going to go over step one in the painting process, and that's pressure washing. Far be it from me to tell you that your beautiful house is dirty, but it is, so you got to wash it if you're going to paint your house right. First I'm going to go over the equipment that you need, then I'll show you the basic technique.

Okay, first of all you're going to need about 50 feet of high quality garden hose to hook up to your pressure washer, and then you're going to need the pressure washer itself. I recommend you get gas powered model, not one of those electric ones that you carry around. It needs to be at least 2,000 PSI, pounds per square inch, preferably 2500.

Now, the materials that you're going to need to wash the house, are Jomax house detergent. There's other detergents out there but I like this one, and one reason I like this one is because you mix it with this, good old bleach, and between the bleach and the Jomax, that's where you really kill the mold spores and any mildew that is on the side of your house.

You mix one quart of the Jomax with three quarts of bleach, that's one of these containers, into four gallons of water in a couple of five gallon buckets, here. This is going to make a total of five gallons of solution. You take the solution and you dump it into one of these garden sprayers, and I've already done that. You pump it up, and you're ready to go.

There are a few other things you might want when you're power washing. You probably want a nice, clean rag. I like to wear full rain gear because I don't like getting the bleach and the chemicals on my skin. Sometimes I wear safety goggles, although it's tough to keep them clean because there's mist constantly going on them. If you're going to wear them, bring a clean rag around to keep wiping them off.

You might want some rubber gloves, and finally, you might want a stiff deck brush, not for the side of the house, because, really, the chemicals are doing the work on the side of the house, but if your deck is really bad with mildew or mold, you might want this deck brush. Spray the stuff on, scrub it hard, and power wash it off. You might even have to do that more than once to get a really bad deck.

You don't need to worry about writing down all this equipment. You can download the equipment list and materials list from my website,, and also, you'll find there a complete series of videos on how to paint your house right. Okay, I think we're ready to have some fun.

When you're done power washing and the bleach and detergent has dried on your windows, sometimes it can be hard to get off with a regular glass cleaner. Try this spray away stuff.

I'm done. That took about five hours, and I'm wet, and I'm tired, and I'm dirty, and I'm stinky, and I missed dinner, too, but that's kind of what power washing is, in a nutshell. It's not fun. You might be tempted to skip power washing if you don't think your house looks dirty, but that would be a mistake, because there's grease on there, pollutants and grime and chalking that you can't see, and washing your house is one of the most important steps that you can take if you want to paint your house right.

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