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Best Pressure Washer Detergents & Soaps – Reviews & Top Picks

Sun Joe All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer

Looking at your house, you see that the siding outside has moss creeping up from the ground and dirt and general grime taking over from rains, pollen, seasonal changes, and who knows what else.

You bought a pressure washer and have used it a couple of times, but the gunk comes back quickly and some things you wash get cleaned better than others. You don’t want to pay a professional – after all, what’s the point of having your own equipment if you just end up outsourcing?

Well, fortunately for you, we have done some digging for you to find better detergent. The problem isn’t your pressure washer, but the soap you’re using, and we hope that after going through our list, you will have an idea of how to make the improvements you need to ensure that your property looks its best at all times and that the job you do lasts longer than just a week or two.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Karcher Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pressure Power Washer Karcher Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pressure Power Washer
  • Highly-concentrated
  • 2 sizes: gallon or quart
  • Biodegradable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Krud Kutter DF01 Blue Pressure Washer Concentrate Krud Kutter DF01 Blue Pressure Washer Concentrate
  • Affordable
  • Non-toxic, non-flammable, non-abrasive
  • Contains "Sporex"
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Sun Joe SPX-APC1G All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer Sun Joe SPX-APC1G All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer
  • Heavy-duty and concentrated
  • Safe for all surfaces
  • Biodegradable
  • Karcher Car Wash & Wax Soap for Pressure Washers Karcher Car Wash & Wax Soap for Pressure Washers
  • High concentration
  • Spot-free rinse with a flawless finish
  • Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Effective cleaning without heavy scrubbing
  • Clean rinse – no smudges or spots
  • The 10 Best Pressure Washer Detergents & Soaps – Reviews 2020    

    1. Karcher Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pressure Power Washer – Best Overall

    Karcher Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pressure Power Washer

    While there are many pressure washer detergents that can get the job done, this top-rated pressure washer detergent from Karcher ranks number one on our list for several reasons. Its versatility means that you get one detergent to pressure wash whatever you need to – your deck, the sidewalk in front of your house, your walkway, the driveway, your roof, the siding on your house… you name it!

    It’s great for stone, brick, concrete, siding, and any other material you need to pressure wash. On top of that, it’s a solid choice when it comes to budget; this product won’t break the bank in the name of ensuring your property looks its best.

    Pros
    • Highly-concentrated detergent makes 20 gallons of wash from 1 gallon of detergent
    • Comes in 2  sizes: gallon or quart
    • Biodegradable – safe for your lawn and garden
    Cons
    • Works best with more powerful pressure washers

    2. Krud Kutter DF01 Blue Pressure Washer Concentrate – Best Value

    Krud Kutter DF01 Blue Pressure Washer Concentrate

    You may have spent good money investing in a quality pressure washer, and you need to get the job done now. You don’t want to wait another month or two to recover from the purchase of your washer just to get detergent so you can actually get to work.

    That’s where the Krud Kutter DF01 Blue Pressure Washer Concentrate comes into play. This high-rated detergent is the best for the budget because it is the most affordable detergent we have found on the market. It comes concentrated with different surfaces in mind, so you can choose which detergent is the right one for you without much variation in price for the quantity. It’s definitely among the best pressure washer detergents & soaps for the money.

    Pros
    • Affordable for any budget
    • Non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-abrasive
    • Contains the unique additive “Sporex,” which removes tough stains caused by organic growth to restore the original finish to your surface
    Cons
    • Less versatile as a multi-purpose cleaner – specialized for wooden surfaces

    3. Sun Joe SPX-APC1G All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer – Premium Choice

    Sun Joe SPX-APC1G All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer

    Sun Joe SPX-APC1G All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer detergent is excellent for all surfaces, and it is designed for some heavy-duty work. All that gunk in your driveway, on your walkway, and climbing up the walls of your house? None of it stands a chance in the face of Sun Joe’s all-purpose detergent for pressure washers.

    Tighter budgets beware – this detergent is a bit more of an investment than our top two products, which is what puts it at number three. There is no denying that it is highly effective and great for tough jobs! Just know that it is a bigger investment than some others, but still one of our favorites.

    Pros
    • Heavy-duty concentrated detergent
    • Good for all surfaces and safe for metal
    • Biodegradable and versatile for use with a pressure washer or a mop/brush
    Cons
    • A bit on the pricier side for home detergents

    4. Karcher Car Wash & Wax Soap for Pressure Washers

    Karcher Car Wash & Wax Soap for Pressure Washers

    Karcher is a reliable brand that stays highly rated among its different products. There is no exception for its car wash and wax soap made for pressure washers. Like Karcher’s other soaps, the Karcher Car Wash & Wax Soap for Pressure Washers is biodegradable and rinses away easily.

    This soap will make it easy for you to wash your car in no time and give it that beautiful waxed-finish look. This one is at number four because it’s specifically for cleaning your car, and we wouldn’t recommend it for other surfaces such as wood, stone, brick, or siding. Even so, we love how it treats our vehicles, so we put it in the top five!

    Pros
    • High concentration makes 20 gallons of usable soap from 1 gallon of concentrate
    • Foaming soap goes a long way, one mix should get the job done when you need it
    • Spot-free rinse with a flawless finish
    Cons
    • Not ideal for house siding

    5. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner

    Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner

    Simple Green is a well-known name in household cleaners. In more recent times, however, it has fallen out of favor with many households due to the harsh chemicals used and the strong, stinging stench it gives off, leaving your nostrils feeling singed.

    This Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner makes it to number five on our list because Simple Green has stepped up its game with a non-toxic, biodegradable formula that is fragrance-free! This means you don’t have to worry about the effects on your lawn or plumbing when you dump it out after use, and your nose can keep breathing without feeling like it has been attacked by acid.

    However, it’s not a perfect home run. This product isn’t great on non-porous surfaces, which is what landed it in the middle of the pack.

    Pros
    • Effective cleaning of dirt, grime, and oils without heavy scrubbing
    • Clean rinse – no smudges or spots
    • Meets the Green Seal GS-37 Standard
    Cons
    • Best for non-porous surfaces

    6. Oil Eater Original 1 Gallon Cleaner

    Oil Eater Original 1 Gallon Cleaner

    The Oil Eater Original 1 Gallon Cleaner and degreaser is one of the best-rated detergents on the market. It is highly concentrated to provide a superior clean on all kinds of surfaces, and we really do mean all kinds.

    This product is great for household and outdoor/industrial use. It can be great for cleaning the grill, your carpets, driveways made of asphalt or concrete, boats, and more.

    While it’s great for use in a pressure washer, it is also used in restaurants for floor scrubbing and for use in cleaning engines and machinery, as well as tools.

    If it’s so great, why is it number six? Well, we have found that such amazing versatility usually means a little extra scrubbing and attention, and it is irritating to the eyes, skin, and nose.

    Pros
    • Biodegradable – safe around the lawn, garden, and in the septic system
    • Non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-hazardous concentration
    • Great for any surface in household and industrial use
    Cons
    • Eye and skin irritant – must wear protective equipment during use
    • Water-soluble solution requires extra steps for cleaning anything with electrical components

    7. Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Pressure Washer Cleaner

    Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Pressure Washer Cleaner

    Another product from Simple Green, the Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Pressure Washer Cleaner is a detergent that boasts greatness for use on multiple different surface types. Using the power of peroxide, this product is safe to use on wood, vinyl, fabric, wicker, and many other surfaces to lift dirt and grime and get rid of stains from green organic material such as algae or moss.

    It is a highly rated bestseller, so why does it rank so low in our list? Well, while it is versatile and absolutely reliable, we found that it does have some drawbacks, mainly that it’s less effective on porous surfaces and often requires a little more elbow grease to get the job done.    

    Pros
    • Safe if accidentally ingested
    • 20:1 gallon ratio mix is made to last long enough to get any job done
    • Excellent for use on outdoor furniture, grills, and decks
    Cons
    • Less effective for use on driveways, walkways, and other stone/brick/porous surfaces
    • Not ideal for washing a vehicle
    • Requires some extra scrubbing for oily messes

    8. Briggs & Stratton 6826 Multi-Purpose Cleaner

    Briggs & Stratton 6826 Multi-Purpose Cleaner

    This multi-purpose cleaner is good for various outdoor surfaces such as your house siding, deck, fence, driveway, and walkway. We recommend it as a good concentrated detergent for outdoor pressure washing, but it doesn’t rank so high on our list for a few reasons.

    While the Briggs & Stratton 6826 multi-purpose cleaner still made it on our top 10 list, it is limited to a 16:1 ratio. So, while you would get 20 gallons of cleaner out of 1 gallon of another product on our list, you would get 16 gallons from 1 gallon of this cleaner, meaning you will go through it faster and it will cost you more money overall.

    Pros
    • Versatile, multi-purpose cleaner good for outdoor pressure washing
    • Compatible with soap systems that do not require mixing for use
    • Great for removing dirt, mold, and mildew from outdoor surfaces
    Cons
    • Corrosive, and does not list ingredients used for concentrate
    • Goes fast – may need to refill your pressure washer to finish a job
    • May need to make multiple passes to get a complete clean
    • No foaming

    9. Simple Green 13421 Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner

    Simple Green 13421 Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner

    We never have anything bad to say about Simple Green. Their products are reliable and strong and will get the job done when you need to clean just about anything. Moreover, so many of their products now boast being biodegradable, eco-friendly, and free of fragrance!

    Simple Green’s 13421 Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner has one of the best ratings we have seen for a product. So, it does a great job – but it doesn’t go as far as other products. We couldn’t help but notice it was used really quickly, requiring us to make multiple purchases to get a bigger job done. That, and the fact that it was overall less effective on a number of our outdoor projects, ranked it further down on our list.

    Pros
    • Unscented, so no sensory overwhelm
    • Multi-purpose cleaner and degreaser good for greasy, oily stains
    • Good for multiple surfaces, including metal, plastic, painted surfaces, wood, and more
    Cons
    • Best for smaller cleaning projects
    • 14:1 mix ratio for concentrate, does not go as far as other products
    • Ideal for indoor household cleaning on smooth surfaces
    • Less effective on porous surfaces and outdoor jobs

    10. AR Annovi Reverberi ARCTW04 Pressure Washer Detergent

    AR Annovi Reverberi ARCTW04 Pressure Washer Detergent

    The AR Annovi Reverberi ARCTW04 is a top-rated detergent for pressure washing and boasts an amazing 30:1 ratio – 30 gallons of soap mixable with just 1 gallon of concentrate! It’s also non-toxic and non-corrosive.

    So, why does it rank at number 10, at the bottom of our list?      

    This detergent is on the pricier side and it is specialized for automobiles. If your goal is bigger and has to do with washing the siding of your house, your fence, your deck, the driveway or walkway, the patio furniture, or another pressure-wash job, you will need another product in addition to this one.

    Pros
    • 30:1 concentrated ratio means this cleaner will last a long time, making for fewer repeat purchases
    • Superior clean for cars and trucks
    • Provides a smooth, spot-free finish for vehicles
    Cons
    • Less effective for washing house siding or other metals
    • Not effective on porous surfaces such as concrete, stone, brick, or wood
    • Scented – beware if you have any allergies
    • May not be as effective on fabric seats, as it is best on smooth surfaces

    Hot vs cold water pressure washing – What’s better?


    Buyer’s Guide

    Perhaps you have a business in pressure washing, or maybe you’ve decided it’s time to move to a new home. Whether you sell your property or rent it out, giving it a good pressure wash will help you find a good buyer or tenant, and making sure you have the right detergent will go a long way for your business. Check out our buyer’s guide, which will help you narrow in on choosing the best detergents and soaps on the market today.

    What to Consider When Using Detergent & Soaps

    Detergent is one factor when it comes to power washing. Many people may say the job can be done with just water, and that is true – but detergent makes the job faster and easier, and can remove any need for extra scrubbing or multiple passes with the sprayer.

    Specific Task

    Most importantly, consider the job you want to do. Are you a professional cleaner who goes to multiple homes each day to do pressure washing? Or, are you a homeowner or tenant who simply wants to take good care of his or her property?

    What do you want to clean most often? Is it important to you that you wash off the siding of your house and your garage door, your driveway and walkway, sidewalk, deck, or fence on a routine basis, or can those things be done annually? Are you looking for a more efficient way to wash your car, so that you don’t spend $10 or more on a car wash every month or so?

    Considering these factors will help you choose the best detergent options for you and also help you to know what kind of pressure washer you need and which nozzles you will use the most.

    Soap vs Detergent

    We prefer detergent over soap because detergent is a stronger, concentrated solution that is often made for efficiency and a smooth rinse. Soap tends to leave residue, spotting, streaking, smudging, and will usually require extra work to get the job done.

    Water Type

    Aside from detergent, you should also consider your water. Harder water will wash things faster without leaving much, if anything, behind. Meanwhile, softer water may require harder work to get the job done.

    Helpful Terminology

    Knowing details of your washer will help you to know whether to use soap or detergent for the job you want to get done.

    “Chemical Injection” or “Detergent Injection” will tell you whether the pressure washer has a tank for chemical cleaners or detergents.

    Design features such as unloaders and thermal relief will aid the lifespan of your pressure washer by reducing the heat buildup and pressure inside the machine.

    Note that most additives for pressure washers are detergents. This is because detergent is a more powerful cleaning agent than soap, doesn’t leave behind residue, and better penetrates porous surfaces such as brick and stone.

    pressure washing
    Credit: bubutu, Shutterstock

    Determining a Good Product

    Water, scrubbing, and scouring – none of it has worked to get the job done. You’re looking at soaps and detergents to go with your pressure washer because you’re tired of spending hours trying to keep your home clean.

    When looking for a soap or detergent to add to your pressure washer to get the job done, consider such things as the chemicals involved in making the additive, how well it penetrates the dirt and grime to help wash it off, and whether it will leave anything behind when you’re done spraying.

    Pressure and Cleaning Purposes    

    Before deciding on a soap or detergent, it is important to note the pressure ratings on your pressure washer. This will help you to know if you can use a multi-purpose detergent on something like your car, or if the pressure would be so high that any detergent would strip the vehicle’s paint.

    Dust

    Are you in a dry climate where dust is the biggest culprit? Perhaps a light-duty pressure washer rated around 1300-1900 PSI and 2 GPM will be more than enough to get your job done. Light-weight pressure washers are most ideal for patio furniture, grills, vehicles, small decks and patios, but don’t underestimate their usefulness for house siding, driveways, and more, in the right environment.

    Oil Eater Original 1 Gallon Cleaner
    Image: Oil Eater Original 1 Gallon Cleaner, Amazon

    Pollen

    Perhaps you live in an area where pollen is an issue but the seasons are pretty mild. Good for business and home use, a medium-duty pressure washer will rate around 2000-2800 PSI and 3 GPM, making it great for cleaning in all seasons to clear dust, dirt, grime, and stains from mold, mildew, algae, and moss. Use these pressure washers if you want to do regular cleaning of your property in a multi-season environment.

    Annual Cleaning

    Maybe you just want to clean your house once a year, or less. Perhaps your business takes you to homes that haven’t been cleaned in a decade or more, covered in caked-on mess from all sorts of different sources. For jobs like these, you would want a heavy-duty or extra-heavy-duty pressure washer, rated at 2800 PSI or more and 3-4 GPM.

    The downside to the heavier-duty pressure washers, if you’re not trying to do a remodel, is that you are likely to strip paint off your surfaces. If you want to repaint your house, fence, and patio for any reason, this might be appealing to you – but if you just want a really good cleaning job, it might be too much.

    divider 1

    Water Temperature

    There are pressure washers for cold water and hot water. People tend to be more familiar with cold-water washers, as these are most common for household, DIY use.

    Cold Water

    Cold-water pressure washers are most common for home DIY use. They’re less expensive than hot-water washers and tend to be easier to use.

    If you’re like most people, using a cold-water pressure washer, then you will want to refer to pressure settings. Cold water will require more soap or detergent to get your job done, so note the harshness of the chemicals you’re using and the type of job you’re doing before you get going.

    Hot Water

    If you live on a farm or do pressure washing on an industrial level, a hot-water pressure washer would be more your speed. While these are more expensive and complicated to use, they work faster than cold water and require less detergent and chemicals to get the job done.

    The temperature of your water is important when considering soaps and detergents to add to your pressure washer. Cold water will not mix as well with soap or detergent, whereas hot water will more easily pick it up and carry the chemicals along to get the job done.          

    Nozzles for Pressure Washers

    Different types of nozzles will behave differently with soaps and detergents, as the nozzle is rated for different pressures and different kinds of washing. While you might want a strong detergent for a low-pressure nozzle, you may not want detergent at all for the highest-pressure option.

    Nozzles come in different degree settings and different colors according to those settings.

    • 0°  nozzle, usually red
      • This is the nozzle with the most power and the highest concentration
    • 15°  nozzle, usually yellow
      • While less concentrated than 0°, heavy-duty cleaning is what this nozzle is built for
    • 25°  nozzle, usually green
      • This nozzle is best for general cleaning and you may want it for your patio/deck, siding, and fence
    • 40°  nozzle, usually white
      • This nozzle is great for vehicles; its lower pressure setting makes it ideal for use on easily damaged surfaces, including patio furniture and boats
    • 65°  nozzle, usually black
      • This nozzle is ideal for applying soap and cleaning agents, as it is low-pressure

    Make sure you use the best nozzle for the job you want done while considering your soap or detergent.

    A red nozzle will cause damage and strip paint without any soap or detergent added. Meanwhile, a black nozzle will struggle with tough jobs regardless of your detergent, but may be just what you want to clean your car.    

    divider 7

    Conclusion

    The Karcher Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pressure Power Washer is the winner of our tests. Our reviews have determined it is the best overall detergent that will clean any surface you need. It is good for use in any pressure washer, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and pay attention to the specs of your equipment.

    The Krud Kutter DF01 Blue Pressure Washer Concentrate is what we have found to be best for the budget. You know what you want to get cleaned, whether it’s your car or your house surfaces. Whichever specialization you choose, our reviews show that the Krud Kutter will get the job done without putting a dent in your wallet.

    Soaps are gentler than detergents, but as a result tend to leave residue behind and require extra rinsing. They work well for vehicle cleaning, but a detergent will be best for washing house siding, walkways, and porous surfaces like stone and brick. Best of luck with your cleaning!


    Featured Image: Sun Joe All-Purpose Heavy Duty Pressure Washer, Amazon

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