How to Make Homemade Pressure Washer Detergent (8 DIY Recipes)

pressure washer cleaners

You may already be familiar with the benefits of pressure washer detergents: they make it easy to clean your deck, patio, and sidewalks without any hassle. There are many commercial brands that you can buy at your local hardware store, but there is no need to spend money when there are so many DIY recipes that work just as well.

From laundry soap and simple vinegar to dish soap and bleach, here are eight homemade recipes for pressure washer detergents that your can make from ingredients most likely found in your kitchen and laundry room.

What ingredients you chose will significantly depend on the type of surface you need to clean:

  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Tile
  • Bricks
  • Plastic
  • Metal

What detergent you use and the pressure you use will also depend on what you are cleaning. If you are cleaning your car or the outside of your home, you will use more gentle detergents and lower pressure than cleaning your deck or sidewalks.

Once you are done using your power washer, make sure you give it a good cleaning. Proper maintenance will ensure your power washer will last a long time. I have written a comprehensive step-by-step article that takes you through what I consider proper pressure washer maintenance. Check it out, and you might find some of my tips helpful.

Let’s dive right into it.

Ingredients used in making homemade pressure washer detergents

The most common ingredients in homemade pressure washer cleaning solution include some of your popular home cleaning products:

Typical laundry room and kitchen cleaning products

Let’s look at what some of these ingredients are used for when creating our homemade detergent. If you know what they do, you’ll be able to adjust your recipes and even create your own.

White Vinegar: Most people don’t know this, but white vinegar is a great cleaning agent. I use this at home all the time. I clean surfaces like the kitchen counter, tables, windows, and others. I always keep a spray bottle in my kitchen with water and a few drops of white vinegar. The acidity of the liquid does a great job killing mold and mildew.

Bleach: This is another great cleaning agent, but most of us knew that we use it to clean our bathrooms and other areas. Bleach also kills mold and mildew, and unlike vinegar, it will prevent its return.

We do have to be careful when using bleach. Inhaling the fumes is not recommended, and if you get this stuff near cloth, it will bleach it, stain it, say goodbye to it. When mixing bleach or power washing with it, make sure you use protective great.

Washing Soda / Baking Soda: This crystal powder is a great cleaning agent. I use it at home to remove stains from clothes. It also does a great job of eliminating foul odors.

Dish Soap: I use dish soap in almost all my recipes. It is an excellent go-to ingredient because it cleans well. There is one small problem. If used in large amounts, it can damage fragile surfaces, creating a ton of foam. Dish soap does pair nicely with bleach or vinegar. The soap does the cleaning while the bleach and vinegar kill the mold and mildew.

How to mix the ingredients of your homemade pressure washing detergent

Before we create our detergent, I think it is essential that you understand how to use a pressure washer with detergent. You’ll want to know how to set things up, how much to use and how to clean your pressure washing equipment after you finish using it.

Four easy steps go into making your DIY pressure washer cleaning solution. These steps remind me of the same process I use to bake. I do love baking, but let’s not get sidetracked here, back to our detergent mixing.

Step 1. Safety

Make sure you are wearing protective gear: mask, goggles, and gloves. You do not want any of the mixture to get into your eyes while mixing or using a pressure washer.

Step 2. Mise en place – Get all your ingredients ready

Getting the homemade power washer detergent ingredients ready for mixing

This step will make sure you don’t miss any ingredients or that you’ll have to go out running to the store because you forgot something halfway through mixing.

I do this when baking and cooking as well. I line up all the ingredients in my workstation and bonus points if you measure them before mixing.

Step 3. Mix your dry ingredients

Make sure you are using the right amount of each ingredient by following the recipe instructions for that specific detergent.

Place your dry ingredients into a large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon – make sure you will use this spoon only for this purpose. Don’t go using this spoon in your kitchen again. You will contaminate your food and could get seriously sick.

Step 4. Add in the wet ingredients

Add in the water and other wet ingredients to your detergent mixture and stir until it’s dissolved. Make sure the ingredients don’t settle and mix slowly and gently to avoid foaming. If you did get soap suds, then remove the excess bubbles and let the mixture settle overnight.

1. Homemade pressure washer detergent – All Purpose

The all-purpose detergent is the recipe I use the most. I always have some of this detergent stored in my garage. I call it my all-purpose go-to power washer detergent. 

This detergent will eliminate tough dirt, stubborn stains, and others on an outdoor surface, porous surfaces, vertical surfaces almost everywhere. Try this one first. If it fails, jump on to one of the more powerful ones, like the detergent for the concrete recipe.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Water
  • 15 milliliters (1 Tbsp) of Laundry detergent
  • 30 milliliters (2 Tbsp) of All-purpose cleaner powder
  • 250 milliliters (8 oz) of bleach

Mix the ingredients using my 4 step process and enjoy the results.

It is important to note that you need to be careful with your plants because this detergent version has bleach. Plants don’t like bleach, so try to cover them or don’t use this recipe near your grass or other plants.

Once you are done washing with this detergent, grab your water hose and wash off the excess for the cleaned surface.

2. Homemade pressure washer detergent for siding

Siding with a pressure washer homemade detergent

You save a ton of time if you use your pressure washer to clean vinyl siding, but you need to ensure the detergent you use doesn’t damage your siding. Here is where my recipe will help.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Water
  • 20 milliliters (3 teaspoons) of detergent powder
  • 20 milliliters (3 teaspoons) of TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)

Follow the 4 step process to mix these ingredients. When you use this to do your siding, make sure that you power wash from top to bottom. Once you are done power washing with this homemade detergent, make sure that you power wash using the same top to bottom pattern but only using water.

3. Homemade pressure washer detergent for concrete

Cleaning a sidewalk with a homemade power washer detergent made specifically for sidewalks

When thinking about a recipe for power washing concrete, you need to think about all the great things you’ll be up against: oil stains, rubber marks, food marks, dog poo, and who knows what else.

Dirty concrete requires a heavy-duty cleaning solution.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of water
  • 120 milliliters (8 Tbsp) of Borax or Borax Substitute if you want to be safer
  • 120 milliliters (8Tbsp) of Washing Soda
  • 15 milliliters (1Tbsp) of dish soap
  • 75-125 milliliters (5-8 Tbsp) of Degreaser – depending on how many stubborn stains you’ll be facing on that concrete

Make sure you follow my 4 step process to mix these ingredients and do it outside or in a well-ventilated area. You want to avoid breathing the chemicals we are using in this recipe.

Avoid getting this mix near your plants, and if you do, make sure you wash and water the area thoroughly. In this last step of washing with water, you should do any way to ensure you wash off as much of the detergent as possible.

4. Homemade pressure washer soap for windows

My window formula is one of my most straightforward formulas. Mixing is effortless as well as there are no dry ingredients here. 


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Water
  • 75 milliliters (6 Tbsp) of White Vinegar
  • 25 milliliters (2 Tbsp) of Dish Soap

Make sure you don’t use high pressure when cleaning windows, or you’ll shatter your windows.

5. Homemade pressure washer detergent for decks and wood

If you don’t power wash your deck often, it can get very tough to clean, especially during winter. You’ll face algae, slime, and other kinds of guck growing on your deck. The older the stains, the more challenging it will be to remove.

Here is where my recipe for the detergent to pressure wash your deck comes in very handy.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Water
  • 75 milliliters (6 Tbsp) of White Vinegar
  • 125 milliliters (8 Tbsp) of Washing Soda
  • 25 milliliters (2 Tbsp) of Dish Soap

As with the rest of the recipes, follow the 4 step mixing process. Please remember decks can get slippery when using soap to wash them.

6. Homemade pressure washer detergent for cars

Cleaning a car with a power washing using a homemade power washer detergent that is gentle on the car paint

I know car soap is easy to come by these days, but say you are ready to wash your car on a Sunday and find out you are out of Car Soap. This recipe will save your Sunday Car Wash. I am sure it will also be cheaper than a trip to the store.

You’ll notice this is a much softer detergent. Every time you are dealing with things that have paint, like your car, you’ll want to use gentle detergents. Follow his advice to prevent your color from damaging.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Warm Water
  • 25 milliliters (1 Tbsp) of Baking Soda (yes, baking soda, not washing soda, it will be smoother on your car paint)
  • 25 milliliters (1 Tbsp) of Dish Soap

This simple to mix recipe will do a great job cleaning your car and leaving it nice and shiny. Make sure once you are done power washing with this cleaning solution, you finish off your car with only water. 

After that, dry as usual and give it a nice coat of wax to give it that extra shine.

7. Cheap homemade pressure washer detergent

If you are on a budget, this detergent won’t hit your wallet. Granted, this won’t do a great job on concrete and other harsh surfaces that are super dirty, but it will do the trick on most of the power spray jobs you’ll have at home.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Water
  • 75 milliliters (6 Tbsp) of Dish Soap
  • 125 milliliters (8 Tbsp) of bleach

Mixing this is much simple – no dry ingredients. Make sure you keep your safety gear as you are still using bleach.

Warning: Just like any of the recipes that use bleach – watch out for clothes or anything that can be bleached!

8. Eco Friendly homemade pressure washer detergent

If you have children, pets, and want to take care of your garden, then this is an excellent recipe for you to use.


  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of Water
  • 25 milliliters (2 Tbsp) of laundry detergent – browny points if you chose phosphate-free
  • 50 milliliters (4 Tbsp) of household cleaner
  • 75 milliliters (6 Tbsp) of vinegar

Use my 4 step process to mix. This recipe works great on patio furniture and other things you have out in your yard that needs power washing. It won’t kill your plants, and it is excellent for the environment.

Homemade pressure washer detergent FAQs

How to store your homemade pressure washer detergent?

If you have a used clean jug of milk or juice that is similar in size to the bucket you used to create the mixture, then it’s effortless. Ensure you thoroughly clean the container before using it, pour your detergent into the bottle, and use it when needed.

If not, we recommend using an airtight storage bin or jar for the long-term storing of homemade pressure cleaning solutions.

Whichever container you use, please label it properly to avoid confusion and store it away from children. This precaution will help you avoid any accidents.

What are the benefits of making your pressure washer detergent?

  • Save money
  • adjust your recipe for what you need
  • healthier for you, your pets, and your plants – commercial detergents use chemicals, and you only need to remove dirt, sanitize or disinfect. 
  • Who knows, it might even be a business opportunity?

Can I make my pressure washer detergent?

Yes, you can. There are recipes for the different power washing jobs:

  • Carpets and upholstery
  • Outdoor concrete or other hard surfaces (e.g., decks)
  • Indoor stains (e.g., bathtub ring)

There are detergent recipes for each category to best suit your needs! Please pick one from my list above.

What detergents can I use in a pressure washer?

I use many detergents as ingredients for homemade pressure cleaning solutions. You can use powdered or liquid – the latter is easier to mix. I usually use the cheaper kinds like OxiClean, Gain, regular Tide, or others. Unlike clothes, the surfaces that you are cleaning won’t care for the fancy smells, sensitive skin additives, and other additives.

Should you dilute pressure washer detergent

You should dilute your detergent; it ensures that you will use less, and it will also help break down the dirt and grime more thoroughly than if you used a concentrated mix of liquid or powder detergents on its own see better results in your cleaning efforts.

My recipes are already at a ratio that I would recommend using. You can experiment with adding more or less water depending on how tough the job is.

Power washer example of using a high concentration detergent.

Important: If you are power washing anything with paint, use low concentration and lower pressure to avoid damaging the paint.

Can you put vinegar in a pressure washer?

Yes, you can. Vinegar is a natural acid corrosive, and it’s also biodegradable, which means that when mixed with water in a pressure washer, vinegar will not release any harmful chemicals into the environment as many detergents do.

White vinegar is a cheap, natural acid corrosive that kills mold and mildew, removes tough stains & dirt. If you face these jobs, feel free to add them to your detergent mix. 

Can you use Pine-Sol in a pressure washer?

Yes, you can. Pine-sol is a versatile cleaner, and it does not contain harmful chemicals as other detergents do, so if you’re trying to avoid these for any reason, this is an option.

Pine-Sol has disinfectant properties and kills mold & mildew, and removes tough stains or dirt from the surface.

Can I use OxiClean in a pressure washer?

Yes, you can. I use it sometimes. It already has baking soda added to it. It will help with tough stains and eliminating nasty odors.

Can I use a pressure washer without detergent?

Yes, you can, but if you find the stains, dirt, or whatever you are trying to remove and clean is not going away – use detergent!

Is it OK to put bleach in a pressure washer?

Yes, it is outstanding to use bleach in your pressure washers. Bleach does a great job killing mold and mildew, and unlike vinegar, it will prevent its return. 

Necessary: Make sure you clean your tank thoroughly after using bleach. Bleach will stain clothing. You want to avoid any accidents on your next power washing job.

Can you pressure wash without bleach?

Yes, you can. You’ll find many of my recipes that don’t contain bleach. A great alternative to bleach is white vinegar.

Can I use Tide in my pressure washer?

Yes, you can use Tide. Just make sure that at the end of every wash, using homemade detergents, you powerwash with water only to remove any excess and avoid soap stains.

In Conclusion

This article lists my eight DIY recipes for pressure washer detergents. There are many advantages to using these homemade cleaners, including being cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Most of these detergents, if stored properly, can last for weeks.

Ensure you follow proper safety measures when mixing and using these products, give your power washer proper maintenance after using it, and enjoy your power washing!

Steve McRae

Hi, I am Steve McRae. I'm an Industrial Engineer but have worked as a Project Manager in a big IT corporation for the past 10 years. I am also a husband and father to two lovely young kids. I love tech in general, which my wife reminds me of every time I bring home a new gadget or IoT device (even though she is very tolerant about it). My family has grown accustomed to the noises emanating from my office when testing out new products! I now run Through this site, I help people like you get valuable information that helps you decide which product is best. My reviews usually come from my experience researching products I purchased and used. All I am doing is revealing my findings to you.

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