A pressure washer is an incredible machine. Many of them can blast dirt and grime without using any cleaners, chemicals or detergents at all. Obviously, it depends on what you are trying to clean. There are certain situations when water will not cut it, especially if you have lots of grease on a surface or the grime is hardened. At this point, you might ask yourself – can I use dish soap in pressure washer? Is it actually going to work or will I damage the pressure washer?

The truth is there are a few detergents for pressure washers out there. You may not necessarily have one handy as you start the cleaning procedure, so how about dish soap? Soapy water is excellent for your dishes, so it makes sense – it should work on your pressure washer too. There are a few things you should know upfront or you will end up with all kinds of unexpected situations like low pressure, loads of soap on the inside and so on.

Dish soap in pressure washer

What Contraindicates Dish Soap In Pressure Washer

pressure washer with soapDish soap in pressure washer is not really recommended by many manufacturers. In fact, there are more reasons where you can find specific detergents. They actually do work and they are not there to make some money only. After all, particular surfaces require particular soap to clear off the dirt. Dish soap is specifically for dishes.


The good news about dish soap is that it is not too toxic, as it is supposed to go on your dishes. At the same time, most of it is biodegradable. However, there are also a few reasons to stay away from it.


For instance, dish soap in pressure washer will never work as good as a specialized cleaner. Second, the situation might get a bit messy and tedious. The soap tends to get sudsy, so it must be cleaned straight away. Furthermore, it is pretty soapy. You risk turning your whole driveway or patio into a big soapy pool. Some surfaces may not clean perfectly, in fact, you might end up with a thin film.


Other than that, you should know that dish soap is not the best option for cars or houses. Finally, use it the wrong way and you might end up with a clogged or damaged pressure washer which will require more money being used. It is usually the tubing that might get affected.


How to use dish soap in pressure washer?

There are a few steps to follow and a few pressure washer soap recipes if you want to use dish soap in pressure washer, but you do not want to damage your stuff. Whether you need to clean something urgently or you do it on a Sunday and all shops are already closed, here are a few tips to reduce the risks and gain as much as possible from this experience.

First, make sure the dish soap has degreasing capabilities. Many dish soaps come with a degreaser. Its role is pretty obvious. After all, this is the main reason where you use dish soap in the first place. There is some grease that water alone cannot handle.


Second, never use plain dish soap in your pressure washer. If you do, your pressure washer will get sudsy and lose its efficiency, and no more pressure and potential damage too. It will also get very soapy. Instead, you need to mix the dish soap with water. Use about a third of a cup for a gallon of water. You can do things by eye, but too much dish soap can cause trouble, better to have too little than too much.

Stir, stir and stir. Then stir some more. You want to ensure the soap is perfectly mixed with the water. Otherwise, there will be some parts with a different consistency. At this point, your pump is under pressure and you risk damaging it.

Spray the mix on the surface you try to clean. Make sure everything is well covered in it. You will then have to give it a few minutes. You need the dish soap to actually degrease the surface. It is important to let it sit for a few minutes, but do not let it dry or it may stain surfaces. Ideally, you should not clean the surface on a hot summer day, as it will dry pretty fast. After a few minutes, give it a rinse. Everything must be rinsed – no soap or residue left behind.

There is a good option if you want to reduce the potential damage to the tubing or pump of your pressure washer. Come up with the same mix, but do it in a bucket or perhaps a sprayer. Apply it manually and brush it a little, then you can use the pressure washer to clean it.

Reasons Not To Use Dish Soap In Pressure Washer

Dish Soap In Pressure WasherThere are a few reasons wherefore you should use a specialized cleaner. For instance, a specialized cleaner will get the job done in a more efficient manner. You can find specialized cleaners for cars, wooden surfaces, concrete surfaces and so on. What soap to use in pressure washer for windows? How about metallic surfaces? Labels will give you all the details you need.

Then, pressure washer cleaners are not expensive. Just because they are particularly made for such appliances, it does not mean they cost a fortune. They are actually quite affordable.

Last, but not least, a specialized cleaner is less likely to damage your appliance.

Final words

As a short final conclusion, you can use dish soap in pressure washer, but it requires lots of care and attention. Use it in a diluted mix or you will damage the tubing and the pump. Even if they are alright, cleaning the soggy soap from the inside will be a tedious job.

While dish soap in pressure washer can get the job done, a specialized cleaner is the recommended option.

If you enjoy reading this, be sure to read up on pressure washer dies when trigger is released.