How You Clean Depends on What You are Cleaning

Pressure washing a surface is not simply a matter of applying pressure and heat to remove dirt, debris and grime. Each surface is different and different techniques have to be used so as to ensure that the cleaning is done to the highest standard and that no damage is caused to the surface being cleaned. There are three key factors that determine how effective pressure cleaning will be – the quality and flexibility of the equipment used, the skill of the technicians doing the job and the type of pre-cleaning preparation that is done. A look at the right way to clean a few common surfaces will illustrate how important these factors are in the final result.

Brick and Mortar
How You Clean Depends on What You are Cleaning

The first step is to inspect the surface and condition of the brick and mortar to ensure the most effective method of cleaning.  Often times, prior steps need to be taken to prepare the surface for pressure washing.  Once the surface is ready, a low to medium pressure spray should be used to soak the bricks. Generally speaking, the use of high pressure spraying is avoided as this could damage the surface and force too much moisture and grime into the pores of the bricks. Completely wetting the surfaces before any type of cleaning agent is applied will also prevent streaking and potentially discoloring.  It is common for a white powdery substance to develop on brick especially if the brick is constantly wet or are around water.  This substance is  called efflorescence and is nothing but the residue of salts and minerals that the moisture has drawn out from the bricks. There are a number of techniques used to remove this which vary from brushing to using different types of cleaning agents.  Typically, the shorter period of time ther minerals build up is left on the bricks, the better results from cleaning.  That is why a regular maintenance program is most effective.


Before any cleaning of stucco is begun, chips and cracks on the surface must be patched and allowed to completely dry. Care needs to be taken to protect the rough surface stucco and high pressure could cause some of the finish to be washed away. At the same time, because of the roughness of the surface, not using enough pressure can result in inadequate cleaning. A skilled technician will know exactly what pressure to use and what angle the water should hit the surface at. If the flow is too direct, surface damage is possible. If it is too oblique, the cleaning may not be good. In general the spray is angled to hit the surface at about a 45 degree angle. At times during the stucco cleaning process, copper or rust colored stain can appear. If they do, a rub with a soft brush, rust removal solution and a rinse with plain water will remove the stains.


Before any pressure cleaning is done, all damaged areas should be either repaired to replaced. Spray must be kept away from gaps to minimize the amount of water entry. If the siding design is such that the panels overlap, the movement of the spray should be across the top of the panel in the direction of the one that is below it (the one it overlays). To prevent excessive moisture buildup in an area that will dry slowly, spraying under the panels should be avoided.

Every Surface is Different

These are only very general guidelines designed to illustrate the different ways in which surfaces need to be cleaned. A skilled technician will be able to examine the surface in detail and fine tune the way the cleaning is done to maximize the results. In the final analysis, the quality of the cleaning depends not so much on the amount of cleaning agents and water used, but the experience and skills of the company doing the cleaning and the quality of the equipment they use.

Expert Exterior Cleaning

At The Cleaning Partners we know that each cleaning job is different. A home needs to be cleaned differently from a commercial property, a school has different cleaning needs from those of a restaurant, and so on. In addition, different surfaces need to be cleaned in different ways – concrete, brick, granite, flagstone, aggregate, asphalt, etc. all have to be treated differently.  Any attempt to use a ”cookie cutter” or “one size fits all” approach to pressure cleaning will not only produce unsatisfactory results, but could potentially damage the surface.  At The Cleaning Partners we use industrial grade pressure washing equipment that enables us to adjust the pressure and heat to maximize the cleaning without risking damage to the surface, regardless of how delicate.  Our skilled technicians are trained to use the equipment ensuring the best overall results.

We have cleaned many types of surfaces on a variety of properties  throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including San Mateo County.   We are available 7 days a week to answer your questions, provide an estimate and to clean your property. Pressure cleaning by The Cleaning Partners is real cleaning.

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