How to Use a Pressure Washer to Remove Peeling Paint Before Repainting - Pressure Washer
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How to Use a Pressure Washer to Remove Peeling Paint Before Repainting

How to Use a Pressure Washer to Remove Peeling Paint Before Repainting

Repainting your home’s exterior can breathe new life into it, making it look fresh and inviting. But before you dive into picking colors and brushes, there’s an essential first step: removing any old, peeling paint. One effective way to tackle this task is by using a pressure washer.

This article will guide you through the process of using a pressure washer to strip away peeling paint safely and efficiently, preparing your surface for a beautiful new coat of paint.

Step 1: Choose the Right Pressure Washer

Not all pressure washers are created equal. For paint removal, you’ll need a unit that can produce a minimum of 2,500 to 3,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. This strength is sufficient to remove peeling paint without damaging the underlying surface. If you don’t own a pressure washer, you can rent one from a local hardware store.

Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace

Safety first! Before you start, make sure to protect the areas around your workspace. Cover plants, outdoor furniture, and other items with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to shield them from water and flying paint chips. Also, ensure all windows and doors are closed tightly to prevent water from getting inside.

Step 3: Wear Protective Gear

Pressure washers are powerful tools, and it’s crucial to protect yourself. Wear safety goggles to guard your eyes from paint particles and water. Durable gloves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes will protect your hands and feet from debris.

Step 4: Test the Pressure Washer

Before you begin, test the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area. This step will help you get a feel for the washer’s power and ensure the surface you’re cleaning won’t be damaged by the pressure.

Step 5: Use a Suitable Nozzle

Pressure washers come with various nozzles, each delivering a different pressure level and spray pattern. For removing peeling paint, a 15-degree nozzle is often recommended. It offers a balance between power and coverage, efficiently stripping paint without harming the surface underneath.

Step 6: Start Washing

Hold the pressure washer’s wand at a 45-degree angle to the surface you’re cleaning. This angle is effective for lifting and removing paint. Begin at the top of the area you’re working on and move downwards, maintaining a consistent distance of about 12 to 18 inches from the surface. Overlap your strokes to ensure you don’t miss any spots.

Step 7: Be Patient and Thorough

Removing peeling paint with a pressure washer takes time and patience. Don’t rush the process. Slow, steady movements ensure you thoroughly remove the old paint, preparing the surface properly for a new coat. If you encounter stubborn paint, you may need to go over the area multiple times or use a scraper for spot treatments.

Step 8: Let It Dry

After you’ve removed the peeling paint, let the surface dry completely before starting to paint. This step might take a day or more, depending on the weather and the material of your home’s exterior. Painting over a damp surface can lead to issues like bubbling and peeling, so it’s worth the wait.


Using a pressure washer to remove peeling paint is an efficient method that saves time and effort, setting the stage for a successful repainting job. Remember to work safely and methodically, and you’ll be rewarded with a smooth, clean surface that’s ready for a fresh coat of paint. With the old paint gone and a new layer in its place, your home will look vibrant and well-cared-for once again.