How to Make Effective Detergents and Soaps for Pressure Washers

Soaps for Pressure Washers

Pressure washers are incredibly effective tools for cleaning various surfaces, including concrete, siding, wood, cars, decks, and more. The right detergent can make the job even easier, breaking down grime, grease, and stubborn stains quickly and effectively. While there are countless commercial options available, many are looking for sustainable, cost-effective alternatives. Homemade pressure washer detergents and soaps can be just as effective as their store-bought counterparts, and they offer several advantages, including the ability to customize the solution to your specific needs, reduce plastic consumption, and save money.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to create your own pressure washer detergents and soaps that are not only effective but also environmentally friendly.

The Best Homemade Pressure Washing Solution

Homemade Pressure Washing Solution

The best homemade pressure washing solution depends on the type of surface you intend to clean. A versatile and widely recommended recipe involves using simple household ingredients. This general-purpose cleaner is perfect for a variety of surfaces:


  • 1 gallon of water
  • ½ cup of Borax
  • ½ cup of washing soda
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap (Dawn or a similar brand)


  1. In a large bucket, dissolve the Borax and washing soda in the water.
  2. Add the liquid dish soap and gently stir to combine, avoiding creating too many suds.
  3. Pour the solution into the detergent compartment of your pressure washer or apply using a spray bottle directly onto the surface before pressure washing.

This solution works great on concrete, siding, and decks as a general cleaner. For more specific needs, such as a specialized car wash detergent or a wood cleaner, adjustments may need to be made.

Making Your Own Pressure Washer Detergent

For Concrete and Hard Surfaces

Creating your own pressure washer detergent is not only possible but remarkably simple. The key is to understand the cleaning needs of your specific project and to tailor your homemade solution accordingly.

For Concrete and Hard Surfaces:

Mix a more potent solution to tackle tough stains on concrete and hard surfaces. Increase the washing soda and Borax quantities to ¾ cup each and add a cup of bleach to the mix for its disinfecting properties. Ensure you wear protective gear when handling and applying bleach-based solutions.

For Siding and Decks:

To target mold and mildew on siding and decks, include vinegar in your solution. Replace half of the water with white vinegar, maintaining the other ingredient ratios. This mixture will kill mold spores and prevent their return.

For Cars:

Cars require a gentler approach. Reduce the soap to just a teaspoon per gallon of water, and exclude the Borax and washing soda. This ensures the solution cleans without damaging the car’s paint or leaving residue.

Can You Put Dawn Dish Soap in a Pressure Washer?

Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap in a pressure washer, but with caution. Dawn is designed to cut through grease effectively, making it an excellent choice for homemade pressure washer soap, especially for vehicles and greasy surfaces. However, it’s essential to use a small amount to avoid damage to your pressure washer from excessive suds.

What Kind of Soap Can I Put in My Pressure Washer?

While Dawn dish soap is a popular choice for its grease-fighting properties, you can use any biodegradable liquid dish soap in your pressure washer. Opt for soaps without added moisturizers, scents, or antibacterial properties, as these can leave residues or harm plant life and outdoor surfaces.

Tips for Effective Pressure Washing

  1. Test the Solution: Before starting your cleaning project, test the homemade detergent on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage the surface.
  2. Pre-Treat Stains: For stubborn stains, pre-treat the area with the detergent by applying it directly and allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes before pressure washing.
  3. Use Proper Nozzles: Ensure you use the correct nozzle for your pressure washer to avoid damaging sensitive surfaces.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the surface thoroughly with plain water to remove any detergent residue.

Further Reading

For those looking to delve deeper into the world of homemade pressure washing solutions and related accessories, several resources are available:

Creating your own pressure washer detergent is not only easy but also an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to commercial products. By tailoring your homemade solutions to the specific cleaning requirements of different surfaces, you can achieve excellent results while ensuring the longevity and appearance of your outdoor spaces. Whether tackling a dirty driveway, freshening up your home’s siding, or giving your car a thorough wash, homemade detergents and soaps can be your go-to choice for effective and sustainable pressure washing.