Pressure washers are efficient high-powered tools for tough outdoor cleaning jobs, but they’re not indestructible. Like any other power tool, they need to be taken care of properly if you want them to last. If you accidentally left your pressure washer outside overnight in the rain, you might be wondering: Can pressure washers get wet? Or if you live in a rainy climate, you may be curious if it’s okay to use your pressure washer while it’s raining.
The answer depends on the durability and quality of your pressure washer and how heavy the rain is. And of course, always make sure you consider the dangers of using a pressure washer.
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All pressure washers are designed to handle a little water
All home pressure washers can handle getting splashed by a little bit of water. After all, with those forceful jets splashing back, it’s really impossible to avoid. However, a pressure washer should not be exposed to a large amount of water for a significant time period. (Side note: Pressure washers actually use less water than you probably think!)
If you live where it rains a lot, you may find yourself wanting to use your pressure washer in the rain. Pressure washing in the rain might also seem appealing because rain helps loosen dirt and debris, priming your surface for a good power cleaning. However, this really isn’t safe: If water gets inside the pressure washer it could cause it to malfunction. If it’s an electric-powered pressure washer, there’s also a small risk of electrocution.
Gas vs. electric pressure washers
Never use a pressure washer in heavy rain, even if it has a high IP rating. Compared to electric pressure washers, gas pressure washers are somewhat more water-resistant due to the lack of electric parts. Electric pressure washers should never be used in the rain due to the danger of electrocution. In general, gas pressure washers are more durable and safer to use in wet conditions. If your pressure washer doesn’t have an IP rating, avoid using it in wet conditions. Frankly, you may be able to get by using it in the rain a couple of times. However, if rain gets inside the electronic components, you might ruin your pressure washer.
Can you leave a pressure washer outside in the rain?
Be careful never to leave your pressure washer outside in the rain. This can cause rusting and corrosion, irreversibly damaging your tool. If you look in your instruction manual, you will probably see a warning saying “do not use the unit to clean itself.” This means it’s not safe to expose the pressure washer to powerful streams of water, such as would be the case if you left it out in a rainstorm. Make sure you have a safe place to store your pressure washers, such as in your garage or attic. You definitely don’t want to leave it unprotected out in the elements!
Some tips for using a pressure washer in the rain
Should you decide to do it anyway, here’s everything you need to know about using a pressure washer in the rain:
- Always read the user’s manual and all safety warnings before you use a product in the rain.
- Understand the difference between waterproof ratings for splashes and submersion in water. (No pressure washer is safe for underwater use!)
- Before using your pressure washer, check the weather and make sure rain isn’t in the forecast.
- Realize that exposing your pressure washer to water will shorten its lifespan.
- Store your pressure washer in a covered area.
- Don’t expose your pressure washer to heavy rain.
Ready to pressure wash your driveway?
If you’re interested in learning more about pressure washers and their uses, check out our articles on Are Pressure Washers Safe for Cars? and Can Pressure Washers Damage Concrete? And finally, if you’re ready to make the investment for your home, read our picks for the Best Pressure Washer Reviews of 2020 and 5 must-have pressure washer accessories.