Understanding how different sprays can focus your cleaning
Not all dirt is created equally, and not all dirt can be washed away with the same tools. Hot-water and cold-water pressure washers offer different benefits, as do your different detergent solutions that help clear away grime, grease, oil and more. But did you know that the nozzle you use on your pressure washer can play an equally important role? Or that using the wrong nozzle could cause more issues than you might think?
Each spray nozzle available from Hotsy Carlson is designed to provide a specific spray pattern. The nozzle itself throttles the angle and intensity of water spray, which in turn affects how large or small an area you can spray at once as well as how much pressure is exerted on dirt. Matching the area that you need to clean with the right nozzle can have a world of difference on how well you clean.
Spray the Rainbow
Sometimes while washing you may have enough water in the air to cast a small rainbow. That’s a perfect way to help you remember the different types of standard pressure-washing nozzles, as they’re all conveniently color coded to make them easy to recognize and use.
The red nozzle is the highest intensity – 0 degrees – and should be almost never used. Think of red like a stop light, where you should stop and look around before proceeding. The high-power jet of water from a 0-degree nozzle is very narrow, making it difficult to wash large areas. It’s also intense enough to strip paint and even dent or puncture soft materials like wood, fabric or weakened metal. Use this nozzle only in the most extreme circumstances.
The yellow nozzle is lower intensity, but still packs a punch so – like a yellow light – you should approach using it with caution. At 15 degrees, this spray pattern is most appropriate for heavy-duty dirt and grime, and is frequently used for stripping paint from a surface or blasting away heavy mud or animal waste from driveways or barn stalls. This nozzle should be used selectively on soft or painted surfaces so as to not cause damage.
Green means go, and that’s typically the case with the 25-degree green nozzle that is used for most cleaning applications. This nozzle has a wide spray angle while still providing a powerful stream of water to wash away grime from vehicles, metal siding, lawn furniture and much more. This tip can be used on all but the most fragile or sensitive surfaces.
Think of the white nozzle as the one to use on anything that requires more of a white-glove treatment. This nozzle sprays at 40 degrees – much less intense than the other nozzles, but enough to clean surfaces that may not stand up to the impact of higher pressure. This nozzle is best suited for soft or sensitive surfaces, including materials like windows or wood that could be damaged by higher spray intensity.
Finally, the black nozzle is very low pressure, but is used to apply soaps and detergents as you start cleaning. If you’re hosing down something that’s black with dirt, use the black nozzle first. This nozzle has a greater opening that makes it easier to spray on cleaning agents and with the widest spray radius, it applies your detergents easily and broadly, helping accelerate the cleaning process.
Hotsy Carlson also offers specialized nozzles that offer further customization and capabilities. Rotating nozzles, for example, combine the higher power of narrower angle nozzles with a broader radius, allowing you to continue to wash with high intensity across a larger area. These nozzles typically spray in a circular or cone-shaped pattern at a rapid speed, delivering intense cleaning power for the most stubborn dirt and stains.
Other nozzles can attach for specific situations, like duct cleaning nozzles that spray in a 360-degree radius or foaming nozzles that can spray foaming cleaners and disinfectants at a high pressure. There are also variable intensity nozzles that are great for applying detergent at low intensity and switching to high pressure for washing.
Learn more about specialty options in the table below:
Nozzle Size and Pressure
It’s also important to keep in mind that you need to select a nozzle size that works with your pressure washer. This is determined by the gallons per minute of output and the hole size on the nozzle, and is independent of the spray angle. Using a nozzle with too large of a hole means that you won’t achieve the desired PSI for washing. Using a nozzle too small, on the other hand, can damage your equipment, leading to costly part replacement or equipment repairs. Hotsy offers a handy nozzle sizing chart in its annual catalog (page 66).
Choosing the Right Nozzle
Selecting the right nozzle can be one of the most important parts of cleaning. The last thing you want to do is select a nozzle that’s too intense and ends up blasting away the paint from your equipment or damaging sensitive surfaces. The best practice is to always err on the side of caution and choose a lower intensity nozzle if you’re unsure. It’s better to have to wash a second time at higher pressure than to have stripped paint or broken windows.
Find What You Need With Hotsy Carlson
At Hotsy Carlson, we offer a full range of pressure washer nozzles to outfit your equipment with the right spray for any job. Choose from an array of standard and specialty nozzles to suit your cleaning needs. Find everything you need – and more – by stopping by to see us today.