Everything outdoors is going to gather dirt, debris, and other pollutants over time. It can be tempting to power wash every surface, but not all surfaces can hold up the same to it. Today I will tell you what not to power wash because it could lead to damage.
Brittle plastic or damaged plastic
Power washing is a very effective way to clean plastic siding and automotive plastic. But, if the surface is damaged or too stiff, power washing can lead to damage. Plastic that flexes well like that of plastic siding can take a beating from power washing just fine, along with the strong polymers that car elements are made from. But damaged plastic that has grown brittle from sun damage or cracks will most certainly break under the pressure. In colder months, plastic grows stiff and brittle due to the freezing temperatures and tight bonds snow and ice form on the surfaces. Avoid power washing weak plastics or frozen plastics to prevent damage.
Cloth seating or canopies
Not all cloth is created equal. Many cloth seating or cover options today are made with a mix of materials to repel water and increase strength. However, over time these materials can break down and weaken. In this case, power washing would likely start tearing the seams and blasting away material rather than just clean. More traditional cloth material for outdoor furniture or tents should not be power washed at all, as it can easily rip through delicate or even stronger seams.
Single layer glass panes
Most windows nowadays can hold up great against power washing, and it’s often the best to get them cleaned. However, just like cloth and plastic, not all of it is meant to withstand that high a pressure. If you live in an older farmhouse or have a shed outback, it’s likely the glass is a single layer thick unless they’ve been replaced. This doesn’t mean the glass is certain to break, but it is more prone to crack or chip, and a weak place like that may only require pressure from a power washing job to finally break.
Power washing the wrong surface can cause irreparable damage to surfaces that cannot handle the force. Before you begin power washing every surface outside your home, make sure you know what not to power wash!