It’s time to get back into the swing of things and start tackling that never-ending list of home improvement projects. One item on your list should be pressure washing for your driveway, sidewalk, and patio.

If you have never done this before, you may be considering sodium hydroxide pressure washing as a solution. This chemical can damage your sidewalks if used improperly, so you should brush up on proper application before diving into your project.

This guide covers all the essential things you need to know about sodium hydroxide pressure washing. 

All About Sodium Hydroxide

First off, what is it? Sodium hydroxide is an alkaline ingredient used in cleaning products like cleaners and detergents. It is highly water-soluble and absorbs moisture and carbon dioxide from the air.

The dissolution of sodium hydroxide in water is a highly exothermic process that generates significant heat.

With the help of a pressure washer, it creates enough force to remove dirt from concrete surfaces without any scrubbing required! It can also help clean away mold or mildew stains if left on for 10 minutes before rinsing the surface with water. 

If used in high concentrations or left too long on a particular surface, sodium hydroxide can cause surface damage. For this reason, always test a small area first and be sure to follow the product directions closely.


Lye or caustic soda are other names for sodium hydroxide. It’s a common element in soaps, detergents, and cleaners.

Sodium hydroxide is a colorless, odorless substance in its solid and liquid form. It reacts badly with strong acids and water. Sodium hydroxide is quite corrosive. In the process of dissolving NaOH, it may heat up air moisture. This heat may be enough to ignite a fire if it is near combustibles.

Sodium hydroxide is useful for modifying lipids. It is a fundamental component in many household products, including drain cleaners in liquid form. Often, it is distributed as white pellets or in a water solution.

What are some of the applications for sodium hydroxide?

It is a chemical compound used in detergents and bar soaps. Additionally, sodium hydroxide is utilized to unblock drains.

The pharmaceutical and paper industries use it. It’s also used to make bleach, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, aluminum ore processing, oxide coating, cotton fabric processing, pickling, pain relievers, anticoagulants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and water treatment.

Safety Tips for Pressure Washing

Pressure washing may be a nasty job—and it can be deadly if not performed properly. It is critical to provide sufficient time for preparation.

Here are some safety guidelines for beginners and professionals alike.

  • Protect your eyes and ears: Pressure washers are rather loud. Additionally, due to the great pressure of the stream, debris and water will shoot back at you. Wear eye and hearing protection at all times.
  • Use both hands: Until you establish trust with the pressure washer, tightly grab the wand with both hands to prevent it from flying away.
  • Keep a distance: To limit the danger of harm, keep the spray tip roughly 18 inches away from the area you’re cleaning.

Things To Avoid When Pressure Washing

Avoid power washing siding (or any other painted surface) that was painted before 1978. Rather than that, contact a professional power washer.

When it is pressure-cleaned, old paint might peel off. Prior to 1978, paints may contain lead. Lead paint chips and dust are toxic if breathed or swallowed.

Priority should be given to keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe.

How To Use a Pressure Washer to Clean Wood

Pressure washing is an excellent technique to revitalize your wood deck or fence. Additionally, it’s a weekend project.

What you’ll need is as follows.

  • A gasoline-powered pressure washer—you may also use an electric pressure washer, but the process may take longer.
  • A nozzle with a green tip that has a 25-degree spray
  • Your preferred wood sealer
  • If this is your first time using a pressure washer, we strongly advise you to do a spot test before proceeding with your job. The majority of fences and decks are made of relatively soft timbers like pine or cedar. It’s simple to remove more than you planned.

Here are some recommendations for achieving achievements you can be proud of.

  • Make a consistent, up-and-down motion with the pressure washer’s wand.
  • To provide an equal cleaning, avoid allowing the spray to stay in any one area. While you’re getting the hang of it, you may find that you need to make many passes over the same location. That is a superior choice to being too pushy and harming the wood.
  • Avoid bringing the spray to a halt in the midst of the board. Wait until you reach the top of the board.
  • Similarly, do not begin spraying in the center of the board.
  • Avoid obvious lines by using overlapping strokes.
  • After pressure washing the wood, seal it to preserve it from the outdoors. However, let at least a day for the wood to dry.

How To Use a Pressure Washer to Clean Concrete

While visible stains and mildewed areas on concrete are quite obvious, ordinary grime accumulation is sometimes neglected. For instance, you probably have no clue how filthy your driveway is.

If you’re interested in pressure washing your own concrete driveway, walkway, or patio, the following items are required.

  • A pressure washer with a high GPM rating
  • A nozzle with a yellow tip that has a 15-degree spray
  • Cleaning solution designed specifically for use on concrete
  • A cleaning brush with a firm bristle
  • Protective equipment—at the very least, goggles and gloves
  • Sealant for concrete
  • Because cleaning concrete requires a very high-pressure stream of water, it’s essential to protect oneself from flying debris (including fragments of concrete) pulled free by the water.

Here’s how to safely and effectively pressure wash concrete.

  • Before you begin, thoroughly sweep and brush the surface.
  • If your driveway has been discolored by motor oil or another fluid, pre-treat the affected areas by scrubbing the stains with a sharp brush and a concrete cleaning solution.
  • When you’re ready to pressure wash the surface, be certain you’re using the appropriate nozzle. The most effective spray is a thin one.
  • To help tough stains, add soap to the pressure washer’s detergent reservoir and use the “soap” nozzle.
  • Tough stains may need many pressure washer passes. Let the concrete completely cure before sealing it.

While this last step is not required, it is the best approach to ensure that the concrete continues to look nice for the following several years.

How To Clean Siding With a Pressure Washer

Siding, particularly vinyl siding, is porous and prone to mildew development. Fortunately, the most effective technique to brighten the outside of your property is with a complete pressure washing.

What you’ll need to finish the project is as follows.

  • A pressure washer that is gas-powered
  • A nozzle with a green or white tip
  • A nozzle for soap
  • A bristle brush with a long handle and a stiff bristle
  • Cleaning solution for the outside of the house
  • To begin, take a tour of the outside of your home. Maintain an eye out for loose siding, cracks, and other openings that might allow water to enter throughout the cleaning procedure.

Prior to pressure washing, these problem areas should be fixed.

Follow these procedures once you’re ready to begin cleaning.

  • Connect the soaping nozzle to the wand of the pressure washer and fill the detergent reservoir.
  • Apply soap to the siding with the pressure washer. If some sections of your home are very unclean, you may need to pretreat them or use a scrub brush to dislodge the dirt or mildew.
  • Rinse the siding using the green- or white-tipped nozzle. Both of these nozzles provide a stronger, higher-pressure jet of water, making it much simpler to rinse away dirt and soap and remove any stubborn stains.
  • This task may take some time, depending on the size of your house. Take your time, particularly if you will be using a ladder. If the project takes many days or weekends to finish, that is OK. Your safety is paramount.
  • You will most likely need to wash your siding every couple of years, depending on the weather and other environmental circumstances.

How To Safely Use Chemical Solutions

The chemicals used may have a significant impact on the effectiveness of pressure washing. It is entirely dependent on the kind of dirt present.

Varying areas need distinct sets of cleaning products. What works in one location may not work in another.

For the commercial pressure washing companies, each company uses a unique set of materials. The majority of the primary components remain unchanged. They may, however, be utilizing different brands. Additionally, the manner in which they mix these solutions may vary depending on the level of strength needed.

Numerous pressure-washing businesses also manufacture their own cleaning products. Certain compounds may be substituted for by others. However, the critical factor here is ensuring the safety of everything they utilize. 

Ascertain that the commercial pressure washing provider you choose takes safeguards. In this manner, you can ensure that your business is cleaned safely.

While cleanliness is desirable, safety must be prioritized first.

Important Tips For Safe Sodium Hydroxide Storage

  • Keep the solution away from incompatible items in a cold, dry, well-ventilated location.
  • Maintain a minimal quantity of storage.
  • Keep the container in its original, clearly labeled shipping container. Drums should be vented to avoid pressure accumulation. 
  • Avoid handling swollen drums. Consult an expert. Containers that have been emptied may retain harmful residue. Store separately. 
  • Maintain closure. Spills and leaks may be contained by keeping containers in trays made of appropriate materials.

The key to pressure washing is understanding the chemicals and tools involved. Sodium hydroxide should be handled with care, but it can also provide a great cleaning solution for your property that will not damage any surfaces or leave behind an odor. So do you know how sodium hydroxide works? Do you want more information on whether it’s right for you?

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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