Stop! Can Pressure Washing Damage Windows? (Quick Guide)

July 7, 2023

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Homeowners often wonder, can pressure washing damage windows? This is a vital question, as pressure washing risks breaking many outside materials! First, it’s easy to use too much pressure on glass, wood, and other surfaces. Second, some harsh detergents can also create streaks and other damage around your property.

In truth, pressure washing can damage windows when performed incorrectly. This damage includes scratching, etching, and outright shattering glass. On the other hand, when you hire an expert power washer, this is safe for virtually all surfaces, including window glass.

Before you decide to rent some high pressure washing equipment and tackle your home’s windows, keep reading. Understanding some basics about this cleaning process can ensure a damage-free finish. Additionally, you’ll know when to call a power washing contractor near you for safe, thorough services.


can pressure washing damage windows

Can Pressure Washing Damage Windows?

As said, pressure washing can damage windows if done incorrectly. On the other hand, power washing offers a number of benefits for windows and other outdoor surfaces. Check out what this means in greater detail when it comes to cleaning windows.

How does pressure washing damage windows?

Using high-pressure equipment risks shattering glass or etching and scratching windows. Also, standing too close to the glass or failing to move the wand as you work increases damage risks. These risks are especially high in a window’s center where glass is weakest.

Additionally, note that glass tends to get thinner as it gets older. In turn, there is usually a higher risk of damage to older windows. Cracks and other existing damage also increase the risk of glass shattering during cleaning.

Homeowners often use high pressure streams which can break windows. If you decide to do the pressure washing yourself, keep the stream at least three feet away from glass surfaces. It's also important to angle the sprayer below window sills and move it slowly along each window’s surface.

Can pressure washing damage window seals?

High-powered cleaning can etch and loosen caulk and grout, as well as rubber window seals. This risks those seals coming loose, creating gaps around windows. Additionally, water from cleaning might get into those gaps. In turn, improper cleaning methods can mean wood rot, mold, and other costly issues.

Is pressure washing safe for your house windows?

While improper cleaning methods risk damage to a home’s windows, soft wash systems provide safe, gentle washing. A contractor applies a specialty detergent and then lets it sit. This detergent seeps into nooks and crannies along exterior materials.

Next, the contractor rinses away that cleaner using a low-pressure wash. This lower pressure makes soft wash systems safe for glass, wood, metal, concrete, and even pavers. On the other hand, those detergents ensure an outstanding cleaning to remove dirt.


can pressure washing damage windows

Should You Have Your Windows Cleaned Professionally?

While poor-quality pressure washing might risk window damage, there are many reasons to invest in safe soft washing:

  • Power washing removes mold and algae before it can get into the home. High-quality cleaners also kill bacteria and other irritants clinging to window glass.
  • Regular pressure washing also cleans dust, pollen, and pollution. In turn, you can often breathe more easily after professional cleaning.
  • Expert power washing tackles dirt and grime a standard garden hose cannot reach. For instance, tiny scratches often appear on glass over time. Those scratches hold dirt that standard cleaning can’t address. Consequently, your windows usually look better inside and out when you invest in power washing.

Is It OK to Wash Windows With a Hose?

In most cases, a garden hose doesn’t produce enough pressure to damage windows. In turn, rinsing them with a hose can mean removing bothersome dust and remove debris without damage. A hose can also loosen thick mud and other debris, to make handwashing easier.

On the other hand, homeowners should avoid attaching pressure nozzles to their garden hose. This includes low-pressure nozzles used for plants and car washing. If not used correctly, those nozzles can risk severe damage.

Also, note that washing an older window risks water getting into the home through gaps around the frame. Additionally, older caulk and grout might pull away from the windows and surrounding frame. These gaps also allow water into the home. Consequently, you might risk wood rot, mold, and other damage.

Lastly, note that using the wrong detergent or not rinsing it properly means leaving behind streaks. During hot weather, detergent also dries against glass more quickly! If you don’t rinse it away fast enough, your windows might look dirtier than when you began.

after pressure washing windows

What Should You Not Clean Windows With?

If you are thinking of tackling your home’s windows, avoid ammonia or alcohol-based cleaners. These leave behind streaks or a very unsightly film. Harsh cleaners can also damage glass, making it thin and brittle.

To ensure an expert job between professional power washing, check out some window cleaning tips. Also, note that you don’t want to work in direct or harsh sunlight, as this dries out detergent, as said.

  • First, remove the screens by releasing the metal or plastic springs along the inside frame. Second, give the windows and inside frame a good dusting with a thick, lint-free cloth.
  • Use a squeegee with a telescoping handle to reach second-story windows. This keeps you off ladders and safely on the ground!
  • Start by applying soapy water with the squeegee and use strokes in varying directions. One reason is that this removes maximum dirt! Two, you won’t miss any spots or drip dirty water onto clean areas.
  • Use a dry blade to remove soapy water and wipe it with a clean, dry cloth between each stroke. Wet blades increase the leaving behind streaks!

Lastly, use a specialty glass cleaner for maximum effectiveness. You can dilute Windex Outdoors in water or shop at a cleaning supply site for the right cleaner.

Can Pressure Washing Damage Siding and Roofs?

If you’re ready to tackle your home’s windows, you might feel inclined to clean the siding and roof. However, as with glass, improper tools and techniques risk costly damage! To clean siding safely, use a white, 40-degree nozzle. This offers a wider spray and less pressure, for a thorough yet damage-free clean.

Also, remember to keep the washing wand moving constantly. Holding it in one spot risks too high of pressure which can result in dents and dings. Lastly, start from the bottom of the home and wash upward, then rinse downward. This dislodges the most dirt and grime.

Professional pressure washing is the best option for roof washing. Soft wash systems won’t harm asphalt shingles or crack brittle clay. Additionally, a professional pressure washer contractor knows the right cleaners for various materials. Above all, hiring a pro keeps you safe on the ground!


can pressure washing windows damage siding


Should you remove window screens when pressure washing?

Removing window screens before washing allows you to reach inside the window frame. Also, using too much pressure on screens risks shredding them! In turn, you might put them on a tarp on the ground to clean them. This ensures thorough, damage-free cleaning.

Can you use Windex Outdoors with a pressure washer?

The main difference between Windex and Windex Outdoors is that the first product is fully diluted. In turn, you can simply spray it on windows as is. However, Windex Outdoors needs dilution before use. When diluted properly, you can typically use this product in your power washer.

A Word From Our Team

Clearwater Pressure Washing & Roof Cleaning is happy to help answer your questions about pressure washing windows. Hopefully, we’ve given you some helpful resources to consider! Also, if you’re in the area, call our Clearwater power washing contractors for a FREE quote. Our pressure washers provide top-notch services perfect for your home or business.


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