8 Simple Steps to Pressure Wash Concrete (Ultimate Guide)

Published by: | Updated: February 1, 2023
JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete

Concrete is commonly used in driveways, patios, and floors but needs regular cleaning. 

But how are we supposed to keep concrete clean?

In this article, we’ll highlight the best method for cleaning concrete with a pressure washer. In addition to the steps, we’ll also cover questions, safety considerations, and other aspects.

Table of Contents - Click to Skip

About The Author

Meet the expert behind this article. 



Co-owner & Service Director

Hey there, I’m Cody. 

A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you. 

Reading from Washington State?

Contact our team for a quote and you might meet me in person.

Quick Answer

Don’t have time to read the entire article?

Here’s how to pressure wash concrete the right way, in eight easy steps:

  1. Remove any obstructions from the area
  2. Cover any plants, outlets, or items that may get wet
  3. Pre-treat any rust, oil, paint, or other stains from the surface
  4. Hook up your pressure washer
  5. Apply the detergent
  6. Attach the surface cleaner (optional)
  7. Rinse the concrete surface
  8. Apply sealant over the surface
JCS Refresh Driveway Before and After

Quick questions before starting

Before going right ahead, knowing these three things will help you prepare.

How difficult is this to do?

Because pressure washing can cause streaks on concrete, this task falls into the medium-to-difficult category. It’s also susceptible to rust, oil, and tire stains, necessitating additional treatment.

For extra credit, check out our complete guide about how to avoid leaving streaks.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete

How long does it take?

Washing concrete takes about 30 minutes for a small area about 10 to 12 feet wide.

How much do materials cost?

  • Pressure washer – $160 to $380, or $40 to $100 per day if renting
  • Concrete detergent – $20 to $22 per gallon
  • Rust, oil, paint remover, or another type of cleaning product for spot treatment – $11 to $26, depending on the size
  • Surface cleaner for the concrete driveway (optional) – $60 to $75
  • Sealant – $26 to $35
  • Leaf blower (optional) – $24 to $32
  • Tarpaulin or covers (optional) – $12 to $20
  • Plastic sheet protectors – $10 to $26, depending on the number of pieces
  • Duct tape – $6 for a piece or $27 for a 3-pack roll

How to pressure wash concrete correctly

Now that we’ve discussed the essentials, we’ll cover the steps in more detail.

1. Remove any obstructions from the area

Remove large objects such as toys, bikes, and trash cans, and use a leaf blower to remove smaller debris.

2. Cover any plants, outlets, or items that may get wet

Use a tarp or an old cloth to protect your plants, shrubs, garden, outlets, and other things that might get wet. You can also use duct tape and plastic sheet covers for covering outlets.

3. Pre-treat any rust, oil, paint, or other stains from the surface

Rust, oil, and paint stains should be spot treated. These stains are difficult to remove and cannot be cleaned with a concrete cleaner alone. Follow the instructions included with your cleaning product’s packaging to remove these stains.

If you want to learn more removing oil stains, we discuss this in, 6 steps to remove oil stains with a pressure washer.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete (2)

4. Hook up your pressure washer

You may now start your pressure washer

The instructions will vary slightly depending on whether you’re using a gas or electric model. 

For the initial setup, be sure to read the manual that came with your machine. Then, connect the hoses by attaching the high-pressure hose to the wand and the other to the water supply.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete (3)

5. Apply the concrete detergent

Attach the soap nozzle to draw out the soap. 

The pressure washer should now be hooked up and ready to go. Pull the trigger for about 30 seconds to get the air out of the hose for the first spray.

Apply the soap in small areas for 10 to 15 minutes or according to the detergent’s instructions.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete (6)

6. Attach the surface cleaner (optional)

Surface cleaners are highly recommended for concrete driveways because using just the wand will cause streaks in the surface (and take forever to clean). 

Attach the surface cleaner to your pressure washer and use it to rinse.

If you want a detailed guide on driveway cleaning, you can read our article on how to properly clean your driveway with a pressure washer.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete (4)

7. Rinse the concrete surface

Start by rinsing from side to side. You can also use a surface cleaner in small circles to avoid streaks on the surface. 

Use a low-pressure nozzle to clean surfaces with crevices because some soap will get stuck in the edges.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete (5)

8. Apply sealant over the surface

Allow 24 hours for the concrete surface to dry before applying a sealant

A sealant will protect the surface from permanent stains, making cleaning easier the next time.

Safety considerations 

Keep these safety considerations in mind next time you pressure wash concrete.

Always aim your wand in a safe direction

The high-pressure water from your machine is fantastic at cleaning, but it can also cause serious injury if it accidentally hits something. So point it away from other people, animals, or plants.

Wear protective gear

Dirt and detergent can get into your eyes and ears. So make sure always to wear goggles and ear protection when pressure washing.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete (7)

Do not use a pressure washer indoor

Pressure washers shouldn’t be used in confined spaces, especially gas-powered ones. 

Test in a small area

When cleaning, test the PSI and distance. Begin with the widest pressure nozzle. Remember that low pressure won’t wash much, and applying too much pressure may damage materials.

Use proper cleaning products

Choose a detergent that is suitable for concrete and safe for your machine.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most common questions people have when they pressure wash concrete.

What PSI is best for cleaning concrete?

The ideal PSI for cleaning concrete is between 2900 and 3200 PSI.

Does pressure washing damage concrete?

If the wrong amount of pressure is applied, pressure washing can cause damage.

Can you pressure wash concrete in the rain?

Yes, it is possible to pressure wash concrete in the rain. However, this is only effective in light to medium rain because it gives soap more time to dry, preventing streaks.

What should I spray on concrete before pressure washing?

Before pressure washing, spray the concrete with a detergent or pre-treatment solution to break up the dirt that has built up on the surface.

JCS Refresh how to pressure wash concrete

Will a pressure washer remove paint from concrete?

Yes, pressure washing works well to get paint off many surfaces, including concrete.

How can I clean concrete without a pressure washer?

Yes, you can use various cleaning solutions, such as equal parts vinegar and water, baking soda and dish detergent, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and hot water. 

Allow the solution to soak on the concrete surface for about 30 minutes before manually scrubbing it with a brush.

For more on this, check out our complete guide on cleaning without a pressure washer.


Concrete can be maintained for many more years with the help of a pressure washer. 

When cleaning them, remember that you should first spot-treat any particularly stubborn stains with the appropriate stain remover, apply concrete detergent, and finally seal to prevent even the toughest stains from penetrating the surface.

Thanks for reading!