Can You Pressure Wash in the Rain?

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Pressure washers produce highly pressurized jets of water, which is good for cleaning. Occasionally some of this gets splashed onto the tool itself. Is this going to cause damage? Or what if you have to do a lot of outdoor cleaning and it suddenly rains? What would the result be? In this guide you will discover what happens to a pressure washer if it gets wet.

The IP rating of a pressure washer determines how water resistant it is. The higher the rating, the longer you can use it in light rain and wet conditions. To be on the safe side, do not use pressure washers in heavy, continuous rain and avoid submersion.

Will Water Exposure Damage a Pressure Washer?

A bit of water splashing is not going to damage a pressure washer. But heavy volumes of water can seep into the pressure washer and destroy the components. If it is electric, water can cause a short circuit and the risk of electrocution.

Pressure washers have an IP rating which tells you how much water the machine can withstand. The IP rating has an X followed by a number, for example IPX6. The higher the rating the more water and moisture protection it can handle.

IP RatingProtection
1 Condensation, falling water droplets
2 Water spray and falling water up to 15 degrees
3 Water spraying up to 60 degrees both sides
4Water spraying all angles
5 Water jets and hose pipes
6 Water from the seas, heavy water jets
7 Submersion, the pressure and time varies
8Continuous submersion

Most pressure washers have an IPX5 rating, which offers sufficient protection for home use. If you are washing the car, roof, patio etc. some water might get splashed on the washer itself. With a solid rating that will not be a problem. Adam’s Electric Pressure Washer 2.0 is a solid choice for all-around cleaning.

To sum it up: if a pressure washer gets wet, it is not necessarily bad. But you should avoid getting it drenched or submerged. If you pressure wash during the summer this will not be a problem. If you have to do cleaning projects during rainy weather, get a pressure washer that is highly resistant to moisture.

Can You Use a Pressure Washer in Rainy Conditions?

Even if your pressure washer has a high IP rating, you should avoid using it in rainy weather. It is one thing for a pressure washer to get a light spray, but it is another to subject it to torrential rainfall.

A high IP rating means the pressure washer will not be damaged by splashing and light rain. But drenching or leaving it in heavy downpour and lightning must be avoided.

If the IP rating says the pressure washer can be used in rain, it refers to light or moderate rain. If it becomes a heavy downpour, turn the pressure washer off.

There are other risks with using a pressure shower during rain. If any of these occurs, wait for the downpour to end.

  • Strong winds. Strong wind gusts can cause the wand to swerve and spray everywhere. The high pressure can cause serious damage around your property and even hurt you if the wind is blowing hard. Bottom line: do not use a pressure washer when there is a strong wind blowing.
  • Snow. Most pressure washers should not be used in freezing or snowy conditions. It could damage the internal mechanisms and make it inoperable. Check the operating temperature of your pressure washer to be sure.
  • Flooding. Do not use your pressure washer in flooded areas. Few if any pressure washers for home use can withstand being submerged in water. This is another reason why it is not a good idea to pressure wash during heavy rain. If it floods, the pressure washer might get damaged.

Pressure washers are powerful. It can remove a lot of dirt that an ordinary hose cannot. In some cases the pressure is so potent it will leave marks on cement. If that happens, here is a guide on how to remove those concrete marks.

But the risk that comes with using a pressure washer in the rain is too high. This is particularly true with electric models. Even if you have a gas powered washer, it is best not to use it in heavy rain to avoid damage.

How to Safely Use a Pressure Washer in the Rain

If you want or need to pressure wash during the rain, there are several important things that you have to keep in mind.

If you are going to buy a pressure washer, check its IP rating. The higher the rating the better. But remember that a high IP rating does not mean you should let the washer get soaked.

You may have seen professional pressure washer service people working in the rain. They are using high end pressure washers, and second they only do it during light rain. They will also stop if it turns into a downpour and there is strong wind.

Read the owner’s manual. Look for information about how to use the pressure washer in the rain. Contact the manufacturer if there is nothing stated in the manual.

Do not use an electric pressure washer in the rain. It is never a good idea to run electrical equipment in a heavy downpour.

Even a rainproof pressure washer has its limits. If the rain becomes too heavy or the wind starts blowing hard, stop.

Here is another thing to consider. Getting work done in the rain can be difficult. Yes the rain can help when washing away debris. Under certain conditions you can probably ease off the pressure washer as the rain can help.

But in other cases the rain can be a hindrance. It could wash away the soap or detergent you just applied. You cannot do any work involving sealants and similar materials during the rain.

When you are finished, take the pressure washer back in your garage, shed or anywhere indoors. Do not leave your pressure washer outdoors when it is raining or there is a threat of it. The more you leave it outside, the greater the chances of rain causing damage. Lightning can also strike and destroy it.\

Frequently Asked Questions

Will prolonged exposure to rain damage a pressure washer?

If you leave your pressure washer outdoors during a rainfall, yes it will cause damage. These devices are made up of intricate parts that must be shielded from heavy water.

Most pressure washers will handle light rain. However you need to be careful if it gets heavier or is continuous. Never leave a pressure washer in a pool of water even if it has a high IP rating.

Can you use a pressure washer underwater?

You must never submerge a pressure washer in water. However, you may put the nozzle in water. But it is not an effective cleaning method. Because the nozzle is submerged, the water around it weakens the pressure coming out of the opening.

What is the most effective pressure washer for use in the rain?

Commercial pressure washers have greater water resistance compared to those for home use. They are also more expensive. Residential pressure washers have a lower IP rating but are more affordable. But if you do not use the tool during a heavy downpour, it will be sufficient.

Can you use an electric pressure washer on wet ground?

Yes, but do not let its cord touch the ground.

My pressure washer got wet and now it will not start. What should I do?

Turn the pressure washer off. Wipe it dry and try again. If it does not work, you can take it to a repair service center or you can inspect the engine yourself. Examine the engine, spark plug, carburetor and other parts. If any got wet, you will have to replace them.

Electric pressure washers are a bit harder to fix. Look for a reset button and try it. If there is none or it does not work, there is probably a broken electrical component inside. The best option is to take it to a service center.