Will Pressure Washing My Home Kill My Plants?

Will Pressure Washing My Home Kill My Plants?

Monday, 03 May 2021 13:02

Using a pressure washer is a great way to get rid of dirt and grime off of your home and restore it to its natural beauty. Pressure washers are a powerful tool used to blast caked-up dirt, mold, and algae on outdoor surfaces, including roof, deck, and patio. It’s not limited to stripping the paint from wood for a new paint job either. It’s also a practical way to remove years of dirt, mildew, and algae from your siding for a fresh appearance.

The problem is, the plants that surround the foundation of your home are directly underneath the pressure washing application site. Chemicals used in pressure washing are manufactured to be safe for both animals and your home; however, many of them can do permanent damage to your plants, ultimately killing them.

Here's more information on how to keep your beautiful garden safe and happy, while also having a clean exterior.


Bleach Solution

Pressure washing typically uses a bleach solution to remove microorganisms like mold and mildew. The solution is commonly diluted at a 3:1 water-to-bleach ratio. However, the runoff into your garden will eventually transform into salts as the bleach breaks down. High salinity in the garden contributes to plant death since water absorption is difficult for the plant. One way to avoid bleach damage to your garden is watering the plants before pressure washing. As the runoff moves across the foliage, the bleach becomes even more diluted and does not affect the plants as much. Garden watering after pressure washing allows you to rinse any remaining bleach residue away to preserve the plant and soil environment. 


Detergents are biodegradable chemicals diluted to a 10:1 water-to-detergent ratio when pressure washing. Although it’s watered down, detergents can cause brown spotting on certain plants if you allow it to remain on the foliage. Using the watering technique from the bleach solution, your plants can remain healthy, but you must be thorough with your rinsing for these results. 


Removing plants from the application site is the best way to preserve your garden, but not all plants can be potted and easily transported. Alternatively, you can cover your garden with plastic to prevent chemical overspray and runoff. However, you do not want to cover your plants all at once. Pressure washing takes time to complete, especially if the home is large. Leaving your plants covered all day deprives them of air and creates heat stress. Work in sections around your home to prevent this from happening. 

How To Prep Your Plants For Pressure Washing

  1. Pre-Wet the Plants and Shrubs: Before you start to pressure wash your roof, walk through the application site, and coat all plants, trees, and shrubs with water. Pay attention to plants that fall directly below the roof-line and thoroughly cover the area with water. The water will help protect the leaves from potential chemical burns caused by bleach and spotting from detergents because the bleach or detergent runoff will be diluted. You can use a garden hose with a sprayer to protect plants and shrubs when soft washing. You must rinse off your plants after the pressure washing process to remove excess chemicals. 
  2. Cover Your Plants: The easiest way to protect your plants is to simply use a plastic sheet to cover them. However, be aware that covering plants for prolonged periods can cut off their air supply and kill them as well. The plastic cover will act like a greenhouse and heat the plants too much.  To combat this, only cover plants in the area that are being pressure washed. Remove your covering once you are done and move it to the next set of plants. 
  3. Use Detergent Instead of Bleach: A detergent-based pressure wash is more environmentally friendly than bleach and is less harsh on plants. Caution should be required when using detergent as well because it can leave brown spots on plants. This can be avoided by both watering plants before pressure washing and rinsing them afterward. 

If you are planning to pressure wash your Asheville home, you have to be able to protect your plants from potentially being damaged. The best way to avoid this is to hire the right industry experts like HydroClean. 

When you choose us, you can also feel at ease knowing that we will take precautions to care for your plants. If you are looking for an Asheville pressure washing company, contact HydroClean or visit our website for more information

Still on the fence? Check out our article, The Benefits of Hiring Professional Pressure Washers, for more details.