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Cold vs Hot Water Pressure Washing – What To Choose?

Surface Pressure Washer
Image Credit By: peachtreepressurewashing, flickr

Pressure washers are useful in both industrial and residential settings. Whether you’re cleaning up a construction site, cleaning farm equipment, or washing down a driveway, the powerful stream of water provided by a pressure washer will make your cleaning easier. If you are thinking of getting a pressure washer you may be wondering whether you should go for a hot water or cold water pressure washer. There isn’t a definitive answer to that question. The type of pressure washing you need simply depends on your application. We explain the differences between cold water and hot water pressure washing below, making sure to highlight the types of uses best suited for each type of pressure washing.

Cold Water Pressure Washing

Cold water pressure washers are quite popular due to their smaller size and lower cost compared to hot water pressure washers. Moreover, they require less maintenance.

For many applications cold water pressure washing will be effective. This process relies on the mechanical force of water on a surface to break up dirt and stains. Cold water pressure washing will be useful for applications involving washing away dirt mud and other debris. In many cases adding a detergent will help speed up the process as well. However, if you need to clean greasy or oily surfaces then hot water will work better.

Cold water pressure washing is suitable for a wide range of applications and only really falls short when there are greasy or oily surfaces to be cleaned.

  • More compact and portable
  • Less maintenance
  • Less expensive
  • Ineffective at cleaning grease/oil

Hot Water Pressure Washing

If you need to clean greasy or oily surfaces then hot water pressure washing is recommended. Hot water is more effective at removing grease and oil stains from surfaces, especially with the assistance of detergent. If you need to clean automotive parts or food equipment then a hot water pressure washer will be an asset for you since these applications typically involve heavy grease/oil stains. Moreover you can also use a hot water pressure washer to assist in defrosting surfaces. You can also just use cold water with a hot water pressure washer if you don’t need hot water for your application to save energy or if what you’re cleaning can’t tolerate hot water.

In general, while cold water pressure washers are quite effective for many dirt cleaning applications, the action of hot water assisting the pressure washing process tends to speed things up. This means that hot water pressure washing is generally more efficient.

You should note that hot water pressure washers are bulkier than their cold-water counterparts. This makes them harder to move around. They also require more maintenance and cost more. This is due to the added complexity of the components needed to heat water.

While hot water pressure washers are bulkier and more expensive, they are your go-to if you need to clean grease and oil. You can also clean more effectively in general with hot water pressure washing versus cold water pressure washing.

  • Cleans grease and oil
  • Can be used for defrosting
  • Faster cleaning
  • Can operate with cold water
  • More expensive
  • Less portable
  • More maintenance required

On this topic…


Hot water pressure washers can clean grease and oil and are generally more efficient in terms of the time it takes to clean surfaces. They can also help with defrosting surfaces. If need to pressure wash things regularly then the greater expense of a hot water pressure water will make the investment worth it since you will save on labor costs in the long run. This is because you’ll simply be able to clean more quickly when you use hot water. Just be sure to keep your equipment well maintained.

Cold water pressure washers are effective at washing away dirt from surfaces like driveways and walls. As long as there’s no grease or oil then using cold water pressure washing will get the job done effectively. If you don’t need to pressure wash regularly then the increased time efficiency you’ll get from hot water pressure washing won’t make a huge difference to you and you’ll still have access to an invaluable piece of equipment which you can lug around easily at a lower cost.

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