While washing purely with water can do the job, adding detergent to your pressure washer is better. It allows better removal of stains, dirt, and other buildup. You can use less pressure from the machine, and therefore, minimize the risk of damage.
With so many detergents on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. But we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 best pressure washer detergents depending on the task at hand. So sit back, relax and read all about these amazing soaps!
- Watermelon or honeydew scent
- Advanced foaming technology
- Scratch-free washing
- High gloss finish
- High sud formula
- pH balanced formula
- Works on a range of surfaces
- Professional grade solution
- Removes unsightly stains
- Highly concentrated
- Best for various surfaces
- Thick & biodegradable formula
- 3 awesome scent options
- Fast-foaming formula
- For multiple vehicle types
- Biodegradable formula
- Super concentrated
- For indoor & outdoor stains
- Safe and non-toxic formula
- Cleans huge range of surfaces
- For pressure washer or by hand
- No harsh chemicals
- Cleans up to 6,400 square feet
- Removes mold & mildew stains
- Safe for outdoor use
- Versatile product
- Removes tough stains
- Removes all kinds of stains
- Works on low-pressure washer settings
- Uses special additives
Do You Need Detergent for Pressure Washers?
No, but it does have benefits. It can tackle stains, remove mold, dirt and mildew. Generally, it does a better job of cleaning. Plus, it makes the job easier since you can use less pressure and elbow grease.
However, not all pressure washers have soap tanks, so check yours does before shopping for detergent.
Pressure Washer Soap vs Detergent
The main difference between soap and detergent is the ingredients. In general, soap is made with natural ingredients, such as fat, as their cleaning agents. Detergents, on the other hand, will use synthetic compounds and surfactants as the cleaning agents (1).
Soaps are better for the environment, but detergents can be better for heavy-duty jobs. If you have plants or wildlife around you, or delicate surfaces, we do recommend a soap. These are sometimes advertised as eco-friendly detergents.
How to Choose the Best Pressure Washer Detergents
When you type in pressure washer detergents into the web, you’re met with hundreds of options. No two are the same. We’ll help you create a checklist of things that are important to consider before you buy your detergent.
Ask yourself if it’s a multipurpose detergent. Does it work on more than one surface? Can you use it without a pressure washer in case you need to spot clean?
For many people, this doesn’t matter. They may be happy buying specific detergents for specific jobs, such as decking, fences, or concrete. But other people are looking to kill a few birds with one stone and get something that will work on a range of projects and surfaces.
Consider your budget before buying. Pressure washers detergent don’t come in a huge range of prices, but you should look at the cost per fluid ounce to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
If you’re looking for a green option, you’re not alone! Check if the product is biodegradable and if the ingredients are eco-friendly. While detergents may typically be stronger, eco-friendly soaps are certainly taking the market by storm and doing the job for many happy customers.
What’s the main job of the product? Is it for removing stains, tackling mold and mildew, doing general cleaning, cleaning cars, or something else? Whatever you’re looking to do, you’ll find a detergent that does the job.
This goes hand in hand with eco-friendliness. Check the toxicity levels of the product, specifically on human skin, respiratory systems, wildlife, grass, flowers and pets that may be roaming nearby.
Last but not least, consider the scent. Some like a mild or unscented product while others like something with a lovely fragrance behind it.
The Best Pressure Washer Detergents of 2021
Ready to deep clean your chosen surface? We put together this guide based on researching real customer reviews, expert advice and applying our own insight.
Here are the 10 best pressure washer detergents.
1. Chemical Guys Watermelon Snow Foam Cleanser
Looking for a lovely scented option specifically for vehicles? Then look no further than this watermelon snow foam cleaner from Chemical Guys. It’s also available in honeydew fragrance if you prefer.
This is a high foam cleansing wash, so it’s perfect for deep cleaning your car, while still being safe on wax and sealant.
It works by eliminating dirt, grime and other contaminants with its huge amount of sudsing foam. It is a pH-neutral formula, so it’s safe for weekly washing and will not cause any damage to your car.
It’s safe on all vehicles whether the surface is paint, rubber, vinyl, glass or plastic. This includes cars, trucks, SUVs, off-road vehicles and much more.
Join thousands of happy customers as you enjoy this authentically scented car cleaner!
- Watermelon or honeydew scent.
- Advanced foaming technology.
- Scratch-free washing.
- Perfect for weekly cleaning.
- It may leave residue, especially if rinsing with hard water.
- Some customers reported the car felt sticky afterward.
|Multipurpose||Yes; works in a foam gun, cannon or pressure washer|
|Scent||Watermelon or honeydew|
2. Chemical Guys Extreme Bodywash & Wax Car Soap
This car cleaner has synthetic wax included to give your car extra protection every time you wash it. The formula is pH balanced so it won’t strip wax or sealant coatings. You can wash your car, confident that you’re using something super safe on it.
It’s slick and scratch-free, too, so your beloved car can stay in tip-top condition.
Not only does this clean your car, but it actually enhances a beautiful shine. It doesn’t matter if your car is black, white, grey or purple — it’s designed to work on every paint color. It uses two different waxes to do this. Carnauba wax shields the car from harsh UV solar rays. It’s then mixed with a synthetic wax for durability. Both of these together strengthen your car’s existing wax or sealant coat to give it that freshly waxed look.
Get out your pressure washer to use this product, or use it in a foam gun or foam cannon! This ensures it’s versatile in case your pressure washer is out of the game one day.
- High gloss finish.
- High sud formula.
- pH balanced formula to protect your car.
- Slick and scratch-free.
- It doesn’t cut through dirt without scrubbing.
- The soap leaks out the bottle easily.
|Multipurpose||Yes; works in a foam gun, cannon or pressure washer|
|Performance||Cleans and waxes car|
3. Zep Driveway and Concrete Pressure Wash Cleaner
Concrete is subject to a lot of foot and car traffic. So it’s a good idea to get something specifically for cleaning it, such as this Zep cleaner.
This is designed specifically for concrete and driveways by targeting tough oil and grease stains. You can also use it on asphalt, brick, stone, patios and car parks — so it’s a bit of a versatile choice!
This is a professional grade solution so you can rest assured that it will remove unsightly stain. You can expect your driveway and concrete surfaces to have a new lease on life!
This comes as a pack of four, equating to 3.2 gallons, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
- Versatile choice, as it works on a range of surfaces.
- Professional grade solution.
- It will remove unsightly stains.
- It’s not safe for bodies of water.
|Performance||Removes grease and oil stains|
4. Karcher Multi-Purpose Pressure Washer Soap
This detergent isn’t only multipurpose — it’s biodegradable. This is a huge factor for many people, as being kind to the environment is definitely cool these days!
The Karcher multipurpose soap is safe for use around landscapes and bodies of water. When it runs down into the drains, it will naturally biodegrade, rather than contaminate the ecosystem.
Customers love that it creates a nice thick foam, too. This contributes to more effective cleaning and helps you to see where you’ve already cleaned.
This is suitable for a range of surfaces. Clean your decks, driveways, sidewalks, stone siding, brick siding and more. You can also clean garden tools, lawnmowers, and patio furniture. Just check the manufacturer’s guide if you have any queries about specific surfaces.
- Highly concentrated; one gallon makes up to 20 gallons of soap.
- Perfect for a range of surfaces.
- Thick formula.
- Biodegradable formula.
- Quite a few customers said the product worked okay, nothing special.
- Doesn’t work on mold or mildew.
|Scent||It’s scented, but the scent isn’t specified|
5. Sun Joe Snow Foam Car Wash Soap
Looking for a specific detergent for cars? This Snow Foam from Sun Joe is a popular and loved choice. It comes in three scent options: orange-vanilla, coconut, and pineapple.
You can use it to clean your car, your camper, your truck or other vehicles. It’s safe on wax and sealants, so it will protect your car while thoroughly cleaning it.
This is a grand option for cleaning your vehicle quickly. It is fast-foaming and high-viscosity to trap and rinse away dirt on your car, leaving behind a wonderful shine. It’s gentle on the paint but tough on grime.
The product itself is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. You can use this dozens of times, making the most of your money!
Customers also love how strong the scents are. While they don’t stick around and give your car a long-lasting scent, it makes the whole cleaning process a lot more enjoyable.
Protect Your Car
- Three awesome scent options.
- Fast-foaming formula.
- Traps and rinses away dirt.
- Great for multiple vehicle types.
- It may leave streaks or a white film on your vehicle.
- Some customers weren’t satisfied with the foaming amount.
|Multipurpose||No — just for vehicles|
|Performance||Removes dirt from cars|
|Scent||Orange vanilla, pineapple or coconut|
6. Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser
Are stains getting you down? This cleaner and degreaser from Oil Eater is something to consider. It is designed to clean and degrease clothes and a range of surfaces. Customers rave about its stain-fighting abilities.
Whether they’ve had oil stains, grass stains, tire stains, grease stains or something else — this should do the trick. You can even use it for removing stains in laundry! Yep, you read that right. Clean your driveway and your clothes with this product.
Besides laundry and driveways, it also works on floors, carpets, tubs, grills, decks, stoves, siding, engines, tools, exhaust hoods, and much more. You’ll get so much use out of this cleaner.
It works by dissolving grease and oils without the use of acids, abrasive cleaners or petroleum solvents. It’s water-based and biodegradable so you can use this without any worries. It’s also USDA approved for non-food surfaces.
- Biodegradable formula.
- Super concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
- Works on indoor and outdoor stains.
- Removes oil, grass, grease and tire stains, plus more.
- It may take multiple applications to remove heavy or old stains.
- Removal of oil stains receives mixed reviews from customers.
|Performance||Dissolves oil and grease stains|
7. Oxy Simple Green Total Outdoor Cleaner
Do you want something that you can use in a range of situations? This multipurpose cleaner from Oxy is ideal for a range of projects. This includes cleaning wood surfaces, composite, vinyl, metal, outdoor furniture, plastic, wicker, concrete, stone, brick and asphalt.
Not only that, but you can use this with your pressure washer or by hand! This makes this product super versatile. You’ll get a lot of use out of it, and save money, since you only need one detergent for a range of purposes.
It works by lifting dirt and stains from a variety of sources. This includes mold, mildew, moss and algae. It uses peroxide to brighten and renew surfaces which is much safer than bleach.
It’s also safe for landscape and surrounding bodies of water, such as rivers, pools, and streams.
- Safe and non-toxic formula.
- Cleans a huge range of surfaces.
- Can be used in a pressure washer or by hand.
- It is landscape and water safe.
- Not as effective by hand as it is in the pressure washer.
- Not super effective on algae.
|Performance||Lifts dirt and stains, brightens surfaces|
8. Oxy Solve House and Siding Cleaner
Mold can be one of the hardest substances and stains to remove. That’s where this handy Oxy Solve cleaner comes in.
This cleaner has been designed to remove mold and mildew stains. Compared to other products that are advertised as doing the same thing, this one has a lot more raving customers behind it.
It’s made especially for house siding made from vinyl, aluminum, stucco, wood and brick. If your home is made from another material, check with the manufacturer first to check if it will be suitable.
It removes stains and discoloration from algae, moss and mildew, giving you a cleaner and more attractive home. This is especially important if you’re planning on selling.
Instead of bleach, it uses peroxide which is a very powerful but safe ingredient. Overall, this is a safe and non-toxic formula that you’ll feel guilt-free about using.
- No harsh chemicals in the formula.
- Cleans up to 6,400 square feet.
- Removes mold and mildew stains.
- Safe for many siding materials.
- You may need to scrub the mold or mildew with a brush or sponge before rinsing off the detergent.
- It’s already quite diluted, so you may have to experiment with the detergent to water ratio.
|Multipurpose||No — just for siding|
|Performance||Removes mold, mildew and algae stains|
9. Simple Green Oxy Deck and Fence Cleaner
Cleaning a deck with detergent, rather than just water, can brighten it, clean dirt with better ease, and save you time. This Simple Green Oxy cleaner is our top choice for a pressure washer detergent for decks.
Firstly, you can also use it for fencing which makes it versatile. Two products for the price of one! In fact, it also works for pergolas, gazebos and carports.
It works by lifting tough grime, tree sap, oil, and grease before rinsing them away. It can even remove stains from mold, mildew, algae, moss, mud and clay. Overall, it will ensure that your decking and fencing is sparkling clean.
Instead of bleach, it uses peroxide, a strong but safe chemical that can lift away grime and brighten the appearance of the decking.
- Safe for outdoor use, landscape and wildlife.
- Versatile product as it works on fencing and decking, and other wooden structures.
- Lifts away grime, oil, tree sap and grease.
- Removes tough stains.
- Some customers say it works just as well as water.
- Requires some scrubbing for really tough stains.
|Performance||Removes dirt and eliminates stains|
10. Krud Kutter Green Siding Cleaner
Every couple of years it’s important to clean the siding of your house — and for that, you need a good detergent. Our top choice is the Krud Kutter siding cleaner. This is perfect for vinyl, aluminum, concrete, brick, stucco, masonry and wood.
It uses an additive called Sporex to remove difficult stains from algae, fungus, mildew, mold, and moss. This product promises to leave your home completely clean.
It also uses special surfactants to penetrate the stains and dissolve dirt, oil, grease, bird droppings, tree sap and acid rain. It can even remove weathering on wood, chalking and oxidation.
So whatever is marking up your siding — this detergent can help.
Customers love that even on the lowest pressure washer setting, this detergent still does an incredible job.
- Removes all kinds of stains.
- Works on a range of siding materials, plus driveways.
- Works on low-pressure washer settings.
- Uses special additives and effective surfactants.
- You may need to hand scrub some stains.
|Performance||Cleans and removes stains|
|Quantity||Two gallons or nine gallons|
|Chemical Guys Watermelon||Scented for Vehicles||Yes||Cleans vehicles||No||Watermelon or honeydew||1 gallon|
|Chemical Guys Extreme||With Wax||Yes||Cleans & waxes car||No||Not specified||½ gallon|
|Zep Driveway and Concrete||For Concrete||Yes||Removes grease & oil stains||Partly||Not specified||3.2 gal.|
|Karcher Multi-Purpose Washer Soap||Biodegradable||Yes||General cleaning||Yes||It’s scented, but the scent isn’t specified||1 gallon|
|Sun Joe Snow Foam||For Cars||No||Removes dirt from cars||Yes||Orange vanilla, pineapple or coconut||1 gallon|
|Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser||For Stain Removal||Yes||Dissolves oil & grease stains||Yes||Lemon||1 gallon|
|Oxy Simple Green||Multipurpose||Yes||Lifts dirt & stains, brightens surfaces||Yes||Unscented||1 gallon|
|Oxy Solve House Cleaner||For Mold||No||Removes mold, mildew & algae stains||Yes||Unscented||1 gallon|
|Simple Green Oxy Cleaner||For Decks||Yes||Removes dirt & eliminates stains||Yes||Unscented||1 gallon|
|Krud Kutter Green Cleaner||For Siding||Yes||Cleans & removes stains||Yes||Not specified||2 gal. or 9 gal.|
Which Detergent Is Best?
With this list of the 10 best pressure washer detergents, which is best for you? It all depends on what you’re looking for! Whether you’re in the market for something that will clean your cars, decking or siding will change which is best for you.
The bottom line is these are all amazing products. But to find the one best suited to you, always check what it’s for, what it can do, and if it’s eco-friendly. Last but not least, consider the scent — as this is important to many customers — and how much you’re getting for your purchase.