“Do you need to do anything special to properly store a pressure washer during the off-season?”
Winterizing your pressure washer should be done before storing it for any extended period, generally in preparation for the winter.
Sadly, many homeowners don’t do this, even when told that freezing temperatures and inactivity can damage hoses, cause tubes to rust and clog, and invite mold and mildew to grow.
In this article, we’ll go over how to winterize your pressure washer in ten simple steps.
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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.
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Quick questions before starting
To give you a sense of how much work is involved, we’ve answered a few questions
How difficult is this to do? The process is easy and can be done faster than you think.
How long does it take? About 5-10 minutes.
How much do materials cost?
- Antifreeze costs roughly $18 to $20 per gallon.
- Fuel Stabilizer costs between $10 and $15 for 8 ounces.
Do you need to winterize a pressure washer? You bet! Winterizing your pressure washers will keep it in excellent condition until next season.
Quick answer – 10 step overview
Want to skip the full article?
Here’s how to winterize your pressure washer in 10 easy steps:
- First, add the fuel stabilizer to the gas stank
- Then, run the engine for two minutes and turn your machine off
- Hook up the pressure washer to your garden hose
- Place your soap injection tubing in a clean bucket of water
- Turn on your pressure washer
- Pull the spray gun trigger using the low-pressure nozzle
- Disconnect all hoses
- Drain the water
- Fill the inlet pump with antifreeze (advertised as “Pump-Saver”)
- Store your pressure washer
If you want a more thorough explanation of how to carry this out properly, keep reading.
How to winterize a pressure washer
You’ve gathered all the supplies to start the process and are ready to start, but what does this process look like in detail?
1. Add the fuel stabilizer to the gas stank
Protecting the engine of a gas-powered pressure washer is critical.
First, read the manufacturer’s instructions on how much gasoline stabilizer you can use without harming the engine.
2. Run the engine for two minutes and turn your machine off
The fuel stabilizer is circulated throughout the fuel system during this process.
3. Hook up the pressure washer to your garden hose
This is in preparation for draining the system of all water and soap. If you’re using an electric pressure washer, begin with this step.
4. Place your injection tubing in a clean bucket of water
This step is in preparation for emptying the cleaning solution built up in the machine.
5. Turn on your pressure washer
We’re now ready to remove any remaining soap and detergent from the unit.
6. Pull the spray gun trigger using the low-pressure nozzle
Make sure the spray gun is pointed in a safe direction. After a few minutes, you’ll have removed the cleaning solution from the machine. When you’re finished, use the trigger to lock your gun.
7. Disconnect all hoses
This includes the hose spray gun and nozzle extension.
8. Drain the water
Wipe off the hose and all accessories with a rag to prepare them for storage.
9. Fill the inlet pump with antifreeze
You’ll see this advertised as a “Pump-Saver” and it will keep the pump from freezing which will cause damage.
10. Store your pressure washer
Keep your pressure washer in a clean, dry place in your garage or basement.
Keep these considerations in mind while walking through the steps mentioned above.
Use the low-pressure nozzle when draining
High-pressure nozzles are for cleaning and must be used carefully, so use low-pressure nozzles to drain water and cleaning solution.
Always aim your spray gun in a safe direction
If you’ve selected the wrong nozzle to drain, make it a habit always to point your gun in a safe direction to avoid hurting other people or damaging surfaces.
Choose non-toxic and biodegradable products
Always choose safe products for yourself, your unit, and the environment. This is also true when picking out soaps and detergents.
Read our article about how to use soap with a pressure washer to learn more.
Frequently asked questions
The following are some frequently asked questions that homeowners have when winterizing their pressure washers.
If you have a question that isn’t answered here, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and someone from our team will get back to you.
I forgot to winterize my pressure washer; what now?
Examine your pressure washer to evaluate the damage’s extent, if any.
The potential list to replace includes your hoses, pump, valves, and other components.
However, replacing that whole list is an extreme case.
You may return them to the manufacturer for warranty repairs, but keep in mind that lack of maintenance is typically not covered by the warranty.
Can you leave a pressure washer outside?
No, leaving it outside exposes it to water and extreme weather conditions, causing damage.
Can you leave a pressure washer in the rain?
No, not even for rain-resistant models. Water-resistant usually refers to the exterior of the device. Rain might enter the components and cause rust and corrosion.
Can I use car antifreeze to winterize my pressure washer?
We do not recommend this since this type of antifreeze is designed for vehicles and may contain harmful substances. The key is to choose a non-toxic, biodegradable antifreeze product for your pressure washers.
Pressure washers require maintenance to ensure they continue functioning correctly.
If you aren’t using your unit for more than a month, spend the additional few minutes winterizing your pressure. Doing so will save you costly repairs down the road.