Can you Pressure Wash Wood Siding [2023 Updated]

If you’re a homeowner, you know how necessary it is to maintain the appearance and durability of your property’s exterior. As time passes, your home’s wood siding can accumulate dirt, grime, and other unsightly stains that may seem impossible to remove. That’s where pressure washing comes in. But, can you pressure wash wood siding without damaging it? 

Can you Pressure Wash Wood Siding? Yes, you can pressure wash wood siding, but caution must be taken to avoid damaging the wood. Use a low-pressure setting, hold the wand at a distance, and work in sections. Avoid spraying water directly into the gaps or seams of the siding.

In this blog, we’ll explore the ins and outs of pressure washing wood siding, so you can make an informed decision on how to clean your home’s exterior.

Pros and Cons of Pressure Washing Wood Siding

Pros and Cons of Pressure Washing Wood Siding

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of pressure washing wood siding, so you can make an informed decision about how to care for your home’s exterior. From preserving the natural beauty of the wood to potential damage and the need for additional maintenance, we’ll cover it all. 

Advantages of pressure washing

Pressure washing wood siding can have several advantages, such as:

  1. Effective Cleaning: Pressure washing can effectively clean wood siding and remove dirt, grime, and other debris that can accumulate over time. This method can also remove stains caused by algae or mold growth.
  2. Time-Saving: Pressure washing can save time compared to traditional cleaning methods. With the high-pressure water stream, the cleaning process can be completed quickly and efficiently.
  3. Preventative Maintenance: Regular pressure washing can help maintain the wood siding’s appearance and prevent premature aging or damage caused by dirt, grime, and other environmental factors.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Pressure washing uses only water and does not require the use of harsh chemicals or cleaning agents. This makes it an eco-friendly option for cleaning wood siding.
  5. Cost-Effective: Pressure washing can be a cost-effective option for cleaning wood siding, especially when compared to other professional cleaning methods. It can also save money in the long run by preventing costly repairs due to damage caused by neglecting regular cleaning and maintenance.

Disadvantages of pressure washing

The disadvantages of pressure washing wood siding include the risk of damage to the wood, especially if the pressure is too high or the nozzle is too close to the surface. Pressure washing can also force water into the wood, leading to rot and other moisture-related problems.

Pressure washing may not effectively remove certain types of stains, such as those caused by mold or mildew, and can actually spread these spores to other areas. Eventually, pressure washing can be time-consuming and may require special equipment and expertise, which can be costly.

Factors to Consider Before Pressure Washing Wood Siding

Factors to Consider Before Pressure Washing Wood Siding

There are several factors to consider before pressure washing wood siding, including the type of wood, age of the siding, and the condition of the paint or stain.

In the following paragraphs, we are discussing these factors in detail to help you determine whether pressure washing is the right choice for your wood siding.

Type of wood siding

When it comes to pressure washing wood siding, the type of wood siding is a factor to consider. Certain types of wood siding may not be suitable for pressure washing, as they are more delicate and can easily be damaged.

Some examples of delicate wood siding include cedar, redwood, and pine. On the other hand, harder and more durable wood siding materials like fiber cement and engineered wood can handle pressure washing with proper techniques and care.

Research and understand the specific type of wood siding before attempting to pressure wash it to avoid causing any damage.

Age and condition of the siding

The age and condition of the wood siding are crucial factors to consider before pressure washing it. If the siding is old or in poor condition, pressure washing can cause damage to the wood, such as cracking, splitting, or splintering.

Inspect the siding thoroughly and assess its structural integrity before using a pressure washer. Pressure washing can also strip off any protective coatings or finishes on the siding, leaving it vulnerable to water damage and decay.

Therefore, it is recommended to hire a professional to evaluate the condition of the wood siding and determine the best course of action.

Water pressure and nozzle type

Using too much pressure can damage the wood fibers, while using the wrong nozzle can cause uneven cleaning. A nozzle with a wider spray angle is ideal for cleaning wood siding, as it distributes water over a larger area and reduces the risk of damage.

Using a lower pressure setting can help prevent damage to the wood. It’s also crucial to keep the nozzle at a safe distance from the siding to prevent damage or injury.

Cleaning solution

The cleaning solution used when pressure washing wood siding is a factor to consider. Using the wrong cleaning solution can damage the wood and lead to costly repairs. It’s recommended to use a cleaning solution that is specifically designed for wood siding and is safe for the environment.

A mixture of water, bleach, and a mild detergent can also be used for a DIY solution. Test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the wood siding before applying it to the entire surface.

How to Pressure Wash Wood Siding

How to Pressure Wash Wood Siding

Pressure washing can be an effective way to clean wood siding, but it can also damage the wood if done incorrectly. Below is a step by step process on how to pressure wash wood siding safely and effectively, so you can restore your siding’s natural beauty without causing any harm.


Before pressure washing wood siding, proper preparation is essential to ensure that the process is safe and effective. This includes:

  1. Inspecting the siding: Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks or holes, and make any necessary repairs before pressure washing.
  2. Covering plants and outdoor furniture: Use plastic sheeting or tarps to protect nearby plants, furniture, and other outdoor items from the water and cleaning solution.
  3. Removing debris: Clear away any debris, such as leaves or branches, from the siding and surrounding area to prevent clogs and potential damage.
  4. Choosing the right pressure washer: Select a pressure washer with an appropriate PSI (pounds per square inch) rating and GPM (gallons per minute) flow rate for your wood siding.
  5. Preparing the cleaning solution: Mix a cleaning solution according to the pressure washer manufacturer’s instructions or use a pre-made solution designed for use on wood siding.

By taking the time to properly prepare for pressure washing, you can ensure a safe and effective cleaning process that will leave your wood siding looking like new.

Equipment needed

When pressure washing wood siding, you will need specific equipment to ensure a thorough and safe cleaning process. The essential equipment includes a pressure washer with a nozzle suitable for wood siding, a ladder or extension wand for reaching high places, and a protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask.

It’s also recommended to have a cleaning solution that is safe for wood and a garden hose to rinse off the siding after pressure washing. Investing in the proper equipment will ensure that the cleaning process is efficient and effective while avoiding any damage to the wood siding.

Steps to pressure washing

The steps to pressure washing wood siding include preparing the surface by removing any loose debris, wetting the surface, using a low-pressure nozzle and a detergent solution, rinsing the surface with clean water, and taking safety precautions such as wearing protective gear and avoiding direct contact with the nozzle.

Follow these steps carefully to avoid damaging the wood siding and to achieve a clean and professional result.

Safety precautions

When pressure washing wood siding, take safety precautions to avoid any potential injuries or damage. Here are some valuable safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear protective gear: Before starting the pressure washer, make sure you are wearing appropriate protective gear, such as safety goggles, gloves, and non-slip shoes.
  2. Check for electrical hazards: Ensure that there are no electrical hazards in the area before starting the pressure washer. Keep it away from power lines and electrical outlets.
  3. Use proper pressure settings: Use the appropriate pressure settings for the type of wood siding you are cleaning. High pressure can damage the wood, so start with low pressure and gradually increase if needed.
  4. Keep a safe distance: Maintain a safe distance from the surface being cleaned to avoid injury or damage. Avoid directing the pressure washer towards windows, vents, or other delicate areas.
  5. Use eco-friendly cleaners: Consider using eco-friendly cleaners instead of harsh chemicals to protect the environment and your health.

By following these safety precautions, you can pressure wash your wood siding safely and effectively.

Alternatives to Pressure Washing Wood Siding

Alternatives to Pressure Washing Wood Siding

There are several alternatives to pressure washing that can clean your wood siding safely and effectively. These are some of the top alternatives to pressure washing wood siding, so you can choose the best method for your specific needs.

Soft washing

Soft washing involves using a low-pressure stream of water combined with specialized cleaning solutions to effectively remove dirt, grime, and other debris from the surface of the wood without damaging it.

This method is ideal for older or more delicate wood siding that may be prone to damage from high-pressure water. Soft washing can also be used on other surfaces, such as roofs, concrete, and brick.

Soft washing provides a safe and effective alternative to pressure washing for cleaning wood siding.

Hand washing

Hand washing is an alternative method to pressure washing for cleaning wood siding. It involves using a soft-bristled brush, mild detergent, and water to gently scrub the surface of the siding. This method is suitable for delicate or older wood siding that may be damaged by high-pressure water streams.

When hand washing, work in small sections, rinse thoroughly with water, and avoid letting the siding become too wet.

Furthermore, wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, to prevent any chemical or water contact with the skin. Basically, hand washing can be an effective and safe way to clean wood siding when done properly.


Pressure washing wood siding is possible, but it requires careful attention to avoid causing damage. Use a gentle pressure setting and keep the nozzle at a distance to prevent water from penetrating the wood. Always work in sections and avoid spraying water directly into the gaps or seams of the siding.

In conclusion, pressure washing can be an effective way to clean wood siding, but it requires caution and expertise. While it can quickly remove dirt and grime, it can also damage the wood if not done properly. Therefore, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and hire a professional if you’re unsure about how to pressure wash your wood siding safely. 

Ultimately, the decision to pressure wash your wood siding should be made with careful consideration of the risks and benefits, weigh these factors before proceeding with this cleaning method.

Frequently Asked Questions (Can you Pressure Wash Wood Siding)

Is it OK to pressure wash wood?

Pressure washing wood can be done, but it should be done with caution. The high pressure can damage the wood if not used correctly. It’s important to use the appropriate nozzle, adjust the pressure to a safe level, and keep the wand moving to prevent any concentrated pressure in one area.

Using a detergent specifically designed for wood can help protect the surface and enhance the cleaning process.

Can you pressure wash outdoor wood?

Yes, pressure washing outdoor wood is generally acceptable. However, it’s crucial to follow proper techniques to prevent damage. Adjust the pressure to a safe level, use the correct nozzle, and maintain a consistent distance between the wand and the wood surface.

It’s also recommended to apply a sealant or stain after pressure washing to protect the wood and prolong its lifespan.

Why not to pressure wash siding?

Pressure washing siding can potentially cause damage, especially if done improperly. The high pressure can force water underneath the siding, leading to moisture issues, mold growth, or even structural damage.

Certain types of siding, such as older or more delicate materials, may be particularly vulnerable. Instead, consider alternative methods like soft washing or using a gentle detergent and a brush to clean siding effectively and safely.

How do you pressure wash old wood siding?

When pressure washing old wood siding, take some precautions to avoid causing damage. First, use a wide-angle spray nozzle to reduce pressure. Test a small inconspicuous area to determine the appropriate pressure setting. Keep the nozzle at a slight angle to avoid driving water into the joints or behind the siding.

Work in small sections, keeping the wand moving continuously. It’s also recommended to cover nearby plants or delicate areas with plastic sheeting for protection.

Found Interesting? Share with your friends
Andrew Joseph
Andrew Joseph

Introducing Andrew Joseph, a pressure washing expert with 15 years of experience in residential, commercial, and industrial projects. Andrew shares his vast knowledge through insightful blog posts, offering valuable tips and best practices for optimal cleaning results. His passion for educating others, combined with his extensive expertise, makes Andrew an indispensable resource for those looking to master the art of pressure washing.