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Can You Use a Pressure Washer
in the Rain?

Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to outdoor cleaning, power washers are invaluable tools that can help you quickly and easily clean driveways, decks, patios, and more. However, a common question people often ask is whether you can use a pressure washer in the rain, and that’s what we’ll be answering in this article.

It’s a valid question with an equally important answer, given the potential damage to your pressure washer and the risk of injury from misusing it.

We’ll talk about what types of pressure washers work best in wet conditions and also review proper techniques for using these devices safely – regardless of whether your environment is dry or damp.

Get ready to learn everything you need to know about using a pressure washer when it’s wet.

Quick Answer
It is generally not recommended to use an electric pressure washer in the rain due to the risk of electric shock. Gas-powered pressure washers may be more durable and able to withstand exposure to rain, but it is still important to check the manufacturer’s specifications and take steps to protect the machine and yourself. It may be possible to use a pressure washer in light rain or dry conditions, but it is important to exercise caution and take appropriate safety precautions.


Can You Use a Pressure Washer in the Rain?

Factors to Consider When Determining if a Pressure Washer Can Be Used in the Rain

There are several factors to consider when determining if it’s safe to use a pressure washer in the rain. These include:

  • The Type of Pressure Washer You’re Using – Electric pressure washers are generally unsafe to use in the rain, as there’s the potential for damage to the electrical components if they get wet. On the other hand, gas-powered pressure washers are typically more durable, allowing them to withstand some rain exposure.
  • The Level of Waterproofing of the Pressure Washer You’re Using – Even if you have a gas-powered pressure washer, it’s a good idea to ensure that the machine can cope with rain before cleaning. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to see whether it is capable of withstanding use in wet conditions.
  • The Location and Intensity of the Rain – The location and intensity of the rain can also affect whether it’s safe to use a pressure washer. If it’s raining heavily and the area you’re cleaning is prone to flooding or standing water, it may not be safe to use the pressure washer. On the other hand, if the rain is light and the area is not prone to flooding or standing water, it may be possible to use the pressure washer cautiously.

It’s important to note that heavy rain is not the only type of weather in which it is unsafe to use a pressure washer. Other extreme weather events, such as lightning, high winds, hail, snow, and extreme heat, should also be avoided when operating a pressure washer.

We will discuss these other weather conditions in more detail later in this article.

Tips for Safely Using a Pressure Washer in the Rain

If you decide to use a pressure washer in the rain, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of accidents or damage:

  • Protect the Electrical Components – If you have an electric pressure washer, it’s essential to protect the electrical components from rain during use. For example, you should ideally cover the machine with a tarp or plastic sheet or wait for the rain to stop before using it.
  • Use a GFCI Outlet – If you’re using an electric pressure washer, plug it into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which will help to protect you from electrical shocks in the event of a malfunction.
  • Avoid Using an Extension Cord – If using an electric pressure washer, you should avoid using an extension cord where possible. Doing so increases the risk of electric shock or fault when exposed areas at the connection point come into contact with water. If you must use an extension cord, ensure you protect the connection points from rain, water spray, or standing water such as puddles, and use a waterproof extension lead with an adequate waterproof rating for the conditions in which you’ll be working. However, the safest option is not to use an extension lead.
  • Wear Protective Gear – It’s essential to wear appropriate protective gear when using a pressure washer in the rain, including non-slip shoes and rain gear, which will help to keep you safe and dry while you’re working.

Alternatives to Using a Pressure Washer in the Rain

If you’re concerned about the safety of using a pressure washer in the rain, there are a few alternatives you might consider:

  • Use a Different Cleaning Method – Depending on the surface you’re cleaning and the type of dirt or grime you’re trying to remove, you can use a different cleaning method that doesn’t involve a pressure washer. For example, you could use a broom, a mop, or a hose with a high-pressure nozzle.
  • Wait for Dry Weather – If the surface you’re cleaning is not urgently in need of attention, you could wait for the rain to stop before using your pressure washer. By waiting, you’ll ensure you can work safely, avoiding accidents or damage to the machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a Pressure Washer Get Wet?

When using a pressure washer in wet conditions, it is important to consider the durability and water resistance of the equipment. Some pressure washers are designed to handle more abuse and can withstand being used in the rain, while water exposure may damage others.

To determine the water resistance of a pressure washer, check for an IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which indicates the level of protection against water and other environmental factors. However, even if a pressure washer has a high IP rating, avoiding using it in extremely wet or rainy conditions is still recommended to prevent damage or issues with the equipment.

Gas-powered pressure washers may be more water-resistant than electric ones, but they still have engines susceptible to damage in heavy rain. It is always best to exercise caution and use common sense when operating a pressure washer in wet conditions.

Never use your pressure washer to clean itself, as it isn’t supposed to be exposed to direct jets of high-pressure water. Doing so could damage your pressure washer’s external casing and internal components.

2. Can You Use an Electric Pressure Washer in the Rain?

It is generally not safe to use an electric pressure washer in the rain due to the risk of electric shock and damage to the electrical components of the machine.

Using an electric pressure washer in wet conditions can pose a danger to the user and may damage the equipment. We recommend avoiding using an electric pressure washer in rainy conditions.

3. Can You Use a Gas-Powered Pressure Washer in the Rain?

While using a pressure washer in the rain is generally not recommended, gas-powered pressure washers may be more resistant to water exposure than electric ones. Despite this, exercising caution and following proper safety guidelines is still required when using a gas-powered pressure washer in wet conditions, as these machines have engines that are susceptible to damage when they become wet.

We recommend following the steps above to check that your pressure washer is rated for use in rainy conditions and, if so, to ensure that you use it as safely as possible.

4. Are There Any Weather Conditions That Aren’t Suitable for Pressure Washing?

There are several weather conditions that can make it unsafe to use a pressure washer. These include:

  • Lightning – It is not safe to be outside during a lightning storm.
  • High Wind – High winds present several hazards when using a pressure washer. These include being struck by objects blown around, slipping and falling due to sudden gusts, and eye injuries from flying debris and dust. Be cautious and avoid using a pressure washer in strong wind conditions to protect yourself from these potential injuries.
  • Heavy Rain – It is not safe to use a pressure washer if you cannot see clearly due to heavy rain. Additionally, if the surface you are cleaning is prone to flooding, it is best to wait until the weather improves.
  • Hail – Although unlikely, heavy hail has the potential to cause damage to your pressure washer, which could cause it to malfunction. There’s also the potential for injury to you, which could occur even during lighter hail.
  • Snow – Pressure washers should not be used in freezing temperatures as ice can damage the internal components. Winterize your pressure washer before winter and store it in a dry location.
  • Extreme Heat – If you are working in very hot weather, monitor yourself for heat illness symptoms and take breaks as needed.

5. Can You Leave a Pressure Washer Outside?

You should not leave your pressure washer outside, even if it is rated for use in the rain, as it can be damaged by water and may suffer from corrosion.

To ensure your pressure washer works as expected next time you need it, store it in a dry place if you plan to leave it unused for extended periods, and remove all gasoline if it is gasoline-powered.

If you must leave your pressure washer outside for a short period, invest in a waterproof and sturdy cover to protect the unit. We don’t recommend storing your pressure outside if it will be subject to extreme temperatures, either cold or hot, as this can cause damage.


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In Summary

In conclusion, you should always be cautious when using a pressure washer in the rain.

Electric pressure washers are generally unsafe to use in wet conditions, as the risk of electric shock is too high. Gas-powered pressure washers may be more durable, but it’s still a good idea to check the manufacturer’s specifications and take steps to protect the machine and yourself.

If you’re unsure whether it’s safe to use your pressure washer in the rain or don’t feel comfortable doing so, we’d recommend using a different cleaning method or waiting for dry weather.

By following these guidelines, you can continue to use your pressure washer safely and effectively without the risk of damage to the machine or injury to yourself and others.


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Author: Jon Maxwell
Senior Writer, ToolCrowd
Jon Maxwell writes about various topics for ToolCrowd, including tool reviews, material advice, common home problems, and general DIY advice and how-to articles. His work has been published in national publications for audiences including consumers, homeowners, and industry experts. Jon has a bachelor's degree in Building Surveying and a master's degree in a branch of Civil Engineering focusing on concrete and steel durability. When he isn't writing for ToolCrowd, Jon enjoys completing DIY tasks in his own home, as well as woodworking in his home workshop, snowboarding, and website development. Contact Jonarrow_right_alt
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