You should not use dish soap in a pressure washer. You should only use soaps or detergents made for use in these machines. Potential clogging or damage can occur to the pressure washer if you run the wrong substance through the machine. You also run the risk of voiding the warranty if you do not follow the manufacturer’s operating directions.
What the manufacturers say…
We reviewed the owner’s manuals of a selection of the major pressure washers to read what the manufacturers had to say about using soaps in their machines. Here is what we found:
Simpson Model MS60773 – the manual advises to only use soaps or chemicals designed for use in a pressure washer.
Craftsman Model CMXGWAS020734 – The engine manufacturer of this pressure washer, Briggs & Stratton, states that they do not have a specific recommended soap to use in their machines. However, they advise to use a pressure safe soap.
Westinghouse Model WPX3200 – The manual states to only use pressure washer safe soap that is made to be used in a pressure washer.
Karcher Model G2900X – The pressure washer manual states to always use Karcher detergent for the best results. The use of non-recommended detergents may negatively impact operation of the machine. They state to only use detergents approved for use by them.
A-ipower Model APW3200 – The company advises to use only soaps designed for pressure washers.
Wen Model PW2800 – According to the owner’s manual, only soap designed to be used with pressure washers should be used in this machine.
Briggs & Stratton Model 020654 – The manual indicates to only use pressure washer safe soap.
Soap designed for a pressure washer
As you have likely determined from reading above, the manufacturers of pressure washers commonly state to use a soap or detergent designed for a pressure washer. But, what exactly is this?
An example is this Karcher multi-purpose cleaning detergent soap found on Amazon. It is soap specifically designed to work in a pressure washer to help reduce the cleaning time. It can be used on multiple surfaces such as wood, siding, decking, tile, and stone. According to the manufacturer, it is safe to use around the lawn and garden since it won’t cause damage to the leaves.
- The Karcher Promise: Cleaner. Quicker. Best-in-class cleaning performance.
- Karcher detergents are specially formulated to work in tandem with your pressure washer to help you clean more quickly and thoroughly
- Highly concentrated, makes up to 5 gallons of ready to use detergent from one quart of concentrate
- Perfect for cleaning outdoor surfaces such as decks, driveways, sidewalks, stone, brick and more
- Biodegradable. Made in the USA
Last update on 2022-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Other popular pressure washer cleaners are Simply Green Oxy Solve, Briggs & Stratton Multi-Purpose Cleaner, and Krud Kutter.
Beyond the guidelines
As we have shown above, manufacturers will advise to only use soap designed for a pressure washer. However, there are people that work beyond the manual and use their own soap or detergent formula.
For example, the Mr. Windows Cleaning Services website offers a homemade pressure washer solution consisting of bleach, Dawn dish soap, and water.
Another example from The Wow Decor is made using water, Borax, washing soda, and dish soap.
If you use homemade solution in your pressure washer, do so at your own risk. We highly recommend sticking with a pressure washer solution specifically designed for use in the machine.