Releasing Pressure Washer Pressure (3 Simple Steps for Success)

Published by: | Updated: January 21, 2023
JCS Refresh How To Release Pressure From Pressure Washer

We all know pressure washers have similar functions, uses, and advantages, but there’s no shame in asking how to release pressure and learning how a pressure washer works.

Remember, pressure washers won’t release pressure unless you initiate it yourself. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything about releasing pressure, plus more.

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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?

We are a top-rated Seattle pressure washing company with competitive pricing packages and specials

Quick answer

If you are in a hurry, remember these things:

  1. First, find the unloader valve on the pressure washer
  2. Next, turn the pressure release valve to the proper position of release
  3. Finally, turn the pressure valve back to the off position once it is released 

If you need to release frequently, consider investing in a gauge on the pressure release valve. 

In the upcoming section, we’ll cover this more in-depth and include several visual aids.

Questions before starting

Answering these questions might be helpful before we carry on:

How is it difficult to do? It is quick, simple, and easy to do- even a newbie can do it.

How long does it take? It will take approximately a few seconds.

How to release pressure from your pressure washer

Below are some simple ways and methods about how to release pressure. 

1. Find the unloader valve 

The unloader valve is usually near the pump. You may notice a lever or knob there that will turn.

2. Turn the valve

The importance of this step is to allow pressure to escape from the pump. It also affects the overall pressure system of the machine.

JCS Refresh How To Release Pressure From Pressure Washer

3. Once released, turn the unloader valve back to the off position 

This step is to help you hold the pressure from escaping. It can also allow the remaining pressure to go into the hose so you can resume the job at a lower PSI setting.

Side note: If you need frequent release, consider investing in a gauge on the pressure valve. 

A gauge will allow you to observe the pressure washer’s current pressure at a glance. These gauges can scale over 2,000 bar or 29,007 PSI.

Safety considerations

Remember the number one rule, safety first! 

These machines are powerful, so to avoid pressure washing wounds, here are some safety tips:

Wear protective equipment

High PSI settings with a 0-degree nozzle can damage surfaces such as concrete (not to mention your body!) So beware! 

Wear gloves, boots, safety glasses or protective goggles, and long pants to combat this while hearing protection.

JCS Refresh How To Release Pressure From Pressure Washer - Protective Equipment

Never point the wand or gun at someone

Remember that the machine has an incredible amount of pressure, so think about what it can do to an innocent bystander. 

Treat pressure washers with caution because they are not a toy.

Observe your surroundings and be conscious

To ensure your safety, you need to observe the surroundings. Evaluate possible risks and be aware of obscure obstacles, hoses, debris, children, and animals.

JCS Refresh How To Release Pressure From Pressure Washer - Surrounding Areas

Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the questions that many people commonly ask: 

Is it Ok to idle a pressure washer?

No; without cooling the pump head, the temperature of the pressure washer will climb to 200 plus degrees. 

In addition, the O-rings and water seals will soften and wear out if it gets hot. Also, valves can be distorted and warped. 

Finally, cavitation might be forming because of the low pressure on the pump side that destroys some components.

What should you not do with a pressure washer?

  • You should not underestimate its power
  • Don’t point the nozzle and the wand at other people and pets
  • Don’t bring the nozzle extremely close to the surface you’re cleaning
  • Don’t use hot water
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals
  • Don’t let the pressure washer run too long without pulling the trigger


To sum it up, locate the unloader valve of the pressure washer and use this to release any unwanted pressure. Also, familiarize yourself with the items needed to operate them well to avoid wounds and injury. 

We hope this user guide serves you well and you have a better understanding of how to use a pressure washer

Thanks for reading!


Vortexx Pressure Washers 2018, accessed 07 October 2022, <>.

(T. Headrick, September 2022) Tools Pro Kit, How to Release Pressure from Pressure Washer, accessed 07 October 2022, <>

(J. Kennedy, January 2017) First Coast Home Pros, Dos, and Don’ts of Pressure Washing accessed 07 October 2022, <>