How to Select the Best Pressure Washer Detergent by Industry



Different pressure washer jobs need different detergents, just like they need different pressure levels and water temperatures. Choosing the wrong detergent can damage the cleaned surface, leading to poor customer reviews and even extensive repair costs.


Using the wrong detergents (or even the wrong concentration levels) can also lead to indirect inefficiencies for your business if your teams are using more products or more expensive products than are necessary to get the job done right.

According to data collected by HomeAdvisor, "Power or pressure washing costs $294 on average with a typical range between $192 and $400." A lot of that revenue is going to insurance, marketing, equipment, time, and labor; the last thing you want for your business is extra product costs and refunds.

Read through this easy guide to make sure you and your teams are using the right detergents for specific industries and surface types.

What Kind of Detergents are there?

what kind of detergents are there?

Detergent is a non-soap cleaning agent. It acts as a surfactant to break down water tension and allow water to better permeate dirty surfaces. As a result, the water can trap dirt and other surface contaminants before it's washed away during the rinse stage of the cleaning process. 

However, there are multiple different types of detergents with different artificial ingredients, strength levels, and reactivity to different types of surfaces (and even different temperatures of water). It's important to use the right one for each type of surface in a cleaning project to get the best possible clean with minimal risk of damage.

5 Types of Pressure Washer Detergents

There are five main types of detergents used in pressure washing operations that cover most scenarios in residential, commercial, and industrial cleaning environments. Those five types of pressure washer detergents are:

1. All-Purpose Cleaners

All-purpose cleaners are relatively mild and can be used to clean most surfaces, especially in residential and lightly used commercial surfaces. DIYers and low-budget projects tend to turn to all-purpose cleaners rather than more specialized cleaners.

2. Degreasers

Degreasing chemicals are built to react with grease and oil. They can be used to clean equipment surfaces (with careful adherence to recommended pressure levels), driveways, and residential or commercial garage floors.

3. Vehicle Detergents

Regular soaps and cleaners generally shouldn't be used on car windows, seals, or paint. Vehicle detergents are specially formulated for use on car trim and car paint to reduce the risk of damage while still removing dirt, grease, and other contaminants.

4. Residential Deck and House Detergent

Like all-purpose cleaners, these chemicals are built to work across a wide variety of surfaces. However, they are made to work well on siding, fences, patio decks, and other surfaces with paints and stains. They're the right combination of mildness and power for deep cleaning exterior surfaces with a lot of dirt.

5. Specialized Solutions

This miscellaneous category comprises all the single-function or material-specific cleaning agents that are built to work only with specific surfaces or in particular conditions. This might include cleaners for specialty rock surfaces.

how to select the best pressure washer detergent for your industry

Once you're familiar with the different detergents used in different projects, it's easier to create accurate quotes for new customers, manage your inventory, and prepare for upcoming jobs, especially if you work with commercial and industrial clients.

Use these quick pointers to make sure you're using the right cleaner for each job based on the client's industry.

Oil and Gas Industry: Degreaser

Degreasers are built to handle heavy grease and oil stains. Pair the cleaner with a hot water pressure washer for a deep clean in garages and workshop floors. Hot water can handle more detergent to create a more concentrated clean.

NorTex Options:

  1. TW500: This is one of our top degreasing agents. It can remove road film, limescale, salt, asphalt, and concrete along with oils and grease. 
  2. PD200: PD200 is our second degreasing agent, and it pairs well with our Red Viper, Patriot, and Transport units.
  3. Ripper II: This cleaner pairs with heavy-duty equipment and can tackle hydraulic oils without damaging galvanized surfaces or other finishes.

Transportation Industry: Vehicle Detergent

When you're cleaning fleets of cars, using specialty vehicle detergents is a must. The following cleaning agents can be safely used on campers, cars, trucks, boats, and other vehicles.

NorTex Options:

  1. Transport: This cleaner can be used as a pre-spray and a detergent on a wide variety of vehicle materials. 
  2. Patriot: This cleaner has a mild pH and is not corrosive, so it can be used for cleaning trailers and vehicles in non-aggressive applications.
  3. PD200: This degreasing agent can remove heavy oils and grease, film, road salt, and other chemicals.
  4. Vision X: This specialty fluid can safely clean windshields.
  5. Hotsy Red: This extremely concentrated cleaner can be used to clean vehicles. It has a 12.05 pH level.

Food Industry: Detergent and Disinfectants

Start with a detergent that can pry dirt and grime off of surfaces. However, it's also important to include a disinfectant to make food processing and preparation surfaces safer and less likely to hold organic contaminants like living microbes and bacteria.

NorTex Options:

  1. Carbochlor: This formula is emulsified with bleach for a powerful cleaning agent that tackles dirt, oils and grease, odors, and set stains.
  2. Vital Oxide: This cleaner is ecologically sound and non-corrosive. It's formulated to kill and remove bacteria without damaging the underlying surface.
  3. Nublend Disinfectant 220: This disinfectant can kill microbes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, making it a powerful choice for surfaces that need a guarantee against contamination.

Residential: All-Purpose Cleaner

Residential all-purpose cleaning agents are relatively mild so they can be used on a wide variety of surfaces, including painted siding or stained fences.

NorTex Options:

  1. TW500: This degreaser can be used to pressure wash driveways, garage floors, and other areas stained with grease or oil.

find all the cleaning agents and detergents you need at nortex

Pairing the right supplier with your business is just as important as pairing the right detergent with each job. Contact us today to learn more about the different detergents and powerful cleaning agents and equipment we offer in our DFW and Central Texas locations.

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