Make fall cleanup easy with a pressure washer

Fall cleanup can be a breeze with a pressure washer, but you should think before you spray.

You have to remember that pressure washers can chip paint, dent wood, and even etch stone. To keep it safe, get rid of the zero-degree nozzle.

And you might be tempted, but never pressure wash your roof because it’s dangerous. The kickback could cause a ladder to fall backwards. Plus, you end up doing more harm than good to the roofing shingles. Instead, spray the roof down with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water and let any moss die on its own.

Wood and siding made of vinyl and fiber cement can typically hold up to pressure washing, but aluminum siding can be easily dented. If you’re going to try to pressure wash it, start on the gentlest setting then work your way up.

Cement and asphalt walkways and driveways can stand up to the power. For moldy mildew, use lower pressure and some suds. To tackle grease stains, you’ll need a finer, more targeted stream.

You can pressure wash most decks, too. Start with a lower pressure nozzle to make sure you don’t etch or mark the wood.

Newer composite decking resists staining and mildew, so you probably don’t even need to clean them with a pressure washer. Generally, a light scrubbing will do.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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