Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Adjust Pressure on a Pressure Washer

water hose image by tomcat2170 from

Pressure washers have the ability to clean cars, buildings, homes, sheds or any durable area that needs treatment. The pressure washer itself can be altered to change the pressure of the water coming out of the machine. There are two common ways to achieve this.

Adjusting the Motor Valve of the Engine

Change the regulator knob to adjust water pressure. Often the knob is located on the outside of the machine.

Refer to the washer's customer service number or manual if the pressure washer does not have an external knob to change the pressure. This could be an internal feature.

Contact the store of purchase for further assistance. They may be able to provide advice on how to remedy the washer or service it themselves.

Adjusting the Angle and Distance of the Pressure Washer's Water Stream

Start washing an area from a distance (more than five feet) and at a wider angle (closer to 90 degrees.) Different surfaces require different amounts of water pressure.

Move closer to the surface and shorten the angle of the nozzle (less than 90 degrees) if more pressure is needed (dirtier areas.) This will also concentrate the water for smaller areas.

Switch between wide angles and distances and smaller angles/closer distances to thoroughly clean a wide area, depending on the varying surfaces.

Add Soap To A Pressure Washer

There are essentially two ways you can add soap to a pressure washer: upstream or downstream. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Knowing specifically how to add soap to a pressure washer, whether upstream (before the water pump) or downstream (after the water pump), saves time and labor, not to mention money if it is a commercial endeavor. Choose to install a downstream (after the water pump) chemical injector kit so that the soap is added to the pressure washer and onto whatever you’re cleaning under low pressure. Attach the weighted strainer (filter) to the siphon tube. Don your protective eyewear and protective gloves. Fill the bucket with appropriate cleaning solution and drop the weighted strainer into the bucket. Connect the pressure washer hoses, pressure washer gun and wand, or lance. Depress the pressure washer gun trigger, allowing water to flow throughout the system.


Starting from a distance and keeping the angle of the pressure washer wide helps to keep the water from spraying haphazardly. Test small areas of a surface to ensure that the pressure of the washer is not too strong.


Too much pressure with a pressure washer can permanently destroy certain surfaces. Use caution and lower pressure when beginning a project.

Garden Guides