Tip of the Day: How to use a pressure washer

Consumer Reports News: March 25, 2008 09:18 PM

A recent news story out of Orange County, Florida—a woman was charged with felony child abuse after being accused of having pointed a commercial pressure washer at her 2-year-old daughter—can serve as a reminder that even consumer pressure washers are dangerous when not used properly.

Typical mishaps with pressure washers include chemical burns to the eyes and skin abrasions, and you can also be injured by material shot back at you.

Watch our safety alert video (right) and follow these guidelines when using a pressure washer this spring and summer to protect yourself and your belongings:

• Wear safety glasses or goggles, shoes, and hearing protection.

• Set the nozzle to the widest spray angle that removes the stain.

• Start with the nozzle 2 feet away from the cleaning surface and move closer as needed, but no closer than 6 inches. Practice first by cleaning a hidden area.

• Point the nozzle away from your legs and feet, other people, and pets, as well as lights, air conditioners, and other electrical devices.

• Be wary of using a solid-stream nozzle and setting, which can cause the most harm.

Essential information: If you’re in the market for a new pressure washer, check out “Quicker Cleaning for Less.” And read our Spring-Cleaning Guide for advice on tidying up your home, your car, and your life.

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