best pressure washing mixture

If you are looking for the Best Pressure Washing Mixture, then look no further than this article. It includes best degreaser for pressure washer, and homemade pressure washer detergent. Perhaps you are interested in homemade pressure washer detergent for concrete, then reading this article may help you.

Making stuff at home always fascinated me. I make my own lotion, my own blankets, my own compost and many different crafts, so why not make my own pressure washer detergent too, I figured. 

You can make your own pressure washer detergent using common household cleaning agents. For general purpose pressure washing, you can mix together 1 gallon of water, ⅓ cup phosphate free laundry detergent (powder), ⅔ cup household cleaner and (optional) 1 cup vinegar.Different Ways to Make Your Own Pressure

Best Pressure Washing Mixture

homemade pressure washer detergent for concrete

This recipe for concrete detergent is environmentally friendly and pretty easy to make. Borax can be found in the laundry detergent aisle of your local grocery store. 

If you have bad stains such as oil or grease on your driveway, you may want to pretreat with this recipe before you pressure wash the area to be sure that all of the stains are removed. 


  • 1 gallon of water
  • ½ cup of Borax
  • ½ cup of washing soda
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap

First mix the dry ingredients together. It is best to let the dry ingredients to sit, mixed, overnight. The next morning add in wet ingredients and mix slowly. 

If you wanted to make this solution stronger, you could either double all the ingredients except the water or add half as much water. 

For stains that are not grease related, such as from spilling juice or other organic stains that are being persistent, you can add a quart of bleach to this mixture as well. Just be sure to mix them in a well ventilated area if you do. 

If you add bleach to this recipe, it is no longer a “green” recipe. 

Detergent Recipe for Wood Deck and Flooring

This detergent will help you clean a deck or other kind of outdoor flooring with a pressure washer. 

What You Need:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • ⅓ cup powdered laundry detergent
  • ⅔ cup all purpose household cleaner
  • 1 quart of bleach

Start by mixing the powdered or dry ingredients together first. Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed together, then add in the wet or liquid ingredients. 

Keeping in mind that the water will dilute this mix, so if you need it stronger, reduce the amount of water used. Also, mix this is a well ventilated area as bleach can have chemical reactions that can put off some harsh fumes. 

Mainly because of the bleach, I would not consider this one to be an environmentally friendly or “green” detergent, but it would be very helpful in removing mildew.

Eco Friendly Detergent Recipes

Eco friendly recipes are preferred for homeowners with pets, nearby gardens or children because they are less likely to cause damage or injury to anyone or anything. Consider the following recipes if you are looking for a more environmentally friendly option.

For general purpose use

This all purpose cleaner is safe to use on most surfaces, and is made from readily available ingredients as long as you already use a phosphate free laundry detergent.


  • 1 gallon of water
  • ⅓ cup phosphate free laundry detergent (powder)
  • ⅔ cup household cleaner
  • (optional) 1 cup vinegar

Mix dry ingredients first, then slowly add the wet ones.

This is a good recipe to use on things like patio furniture since it will not damage or otherwise harm plants. It is not non-toxic, but it will break down easily in soil so is environmentally friendly.  

For cars

The next recipe is both green and safe for your car. Remember to use low pressure when washing your car so as not to damage or break anything, like your mirrors or windows. 


  • ¾ cup phosphate free laundry detergent (powder)
  • 1 gallon hot water

Mix slowly to limit the suds. 

Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all of the soap afterward. 

Why Make Your Own Detergent

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Some people may wonder what the point is of making their own pressure washer detergent when they can easily buy it at the store. From cost to wanting to be sure they are eco friendly, there are actually a variety of reasons for it, and I will try to address just a few of them here.


It may be cheaper, in the long run to make your own as you already have the ingredients around your home. You don’t have to order it online or go to the store. You can just take a few household ingredients and mixed in the right proportions can give you a less costly alternative. 

Some of the recipes, in their current portions, may be more dilute than the store bought ones. Reducing the water in the recipes will increase the strength of the different recipes. 


You may have issues with allergies. Like with me, I love the scent of certain things, but some of the more popular brands also include chemicals that do nothing to enhance the scent, but they do give me a severe migraine. While I do love those fruity scents, it’s not worth the pain, so I make my own to avoid the headaches, in my case, literally.

It may be possible to be allergic to one brand and not a different brand of the same thing. Sometimes it’s just not worth taking the risk when it comes to your health or the health of your family, especially when it comes to allergies. 


Some companies do not want to be fully transparent on their ingredients. Sometimes we just like to know what we are exposing our children and families to.

For example, there was a big controversy about many companies using dihydrogen monoxide. Everyone was freaking out cause dihydrogen monoxide was being used in both weed killer and ice cream.

However, dihydrogen monoxide is the technical name for water, but because it was listed differently, people were freaking out about it. That is like using a loophole to transparency. The same may hold true for other ingredients, and being able to make your own allows you to know exactly what is in your detergent. 


Some people are trying to get closer to nature and are trying to not just go green, but be as self sufficient as possible too. They grow their own food, raise animals, and are making all of their own cleaning products. While homesteaders may still have to buy some things at the store, they do try to limit what they buy as it also helps to limit their waste. 

Homesteaders are usually off the grid and are trying to remove themselves from capitalism as much as they can, and part of that means limiting trips to the store and how much they purchase. By making extra uses for things they do buy, it can also help to limit their waste and increase how much they can control what they put into their bodies and into their environment. 


In my research I noticed a number of places that will mix measurements. One recipe would use Imperial measurements (which is what it used in the US) and another, on the same site, would use metric (pretty much the rest of the world) so because I live in the US, I did convert all the recipes to Imperial (cups, pints, quarts, gallons).

Household Items That Can Be Used

There are a number of things that are common around more households or available at your local grocery store that can be used as detergent for a pressure washer including dish detergent, vinegar, bleach, and even just plain old water.

These items can be very convenient to use if you find yourself in a tight spot because you would probably not need to run out to the store to buy any of these things. 

Dish detergent

Dish detergent can be used for a simple pressure washer detergent. Just be careful using dish detergent as it can damage fragile surfaces, and it can create a lot of foam if used in excess. You may end up with more foam that you are looking for. 

For mold and mildew, you can use either vinegar or bleach, but since neither of these will work in cleaning dirt very well, they both have limited uses. 


Vinegar is safe for use around plants and won’t damage most things (electronics aside, but that has more to do with the water than the vinegar). It will kill mold and mildew, but won’t prevent its return. It is also safe to use when cleaning windows as long as you use a very low pressure. You may need to wipe the windows after to avoid streaking.


Bleach will kill mold and mildew and prevent its return, but you do have to be careful around porous surfaces unless you like the splattered bleach effect. Using bleach in a pressure washer will atomize it, or turn it into a mist. Like bleach droplets could sporadically bleach anything it touches or lands on.

You should take extra safety precautions and wear extra safety gear when working with bleach. Face masks, gloves, and safety glasses will help keep you protected.


This may sound a bit strange (or not, depending on your familiarity with a pressure washer), but using just plain washer can oftentimes clean a lot of things without having to add any chemicals at all. Sometimes just the pressure of the water can remove dirt and grime, and that is the safest and cheapest option available 

Washing soda

No, washing soda is not the same as baking soda, and it is not something that can sometimes be difficult to find at the grocery store, but luckily it is fairly simple to make your own right in your own home. 

Washing soda is a water soluble salt that can be used to clean a variety of different surfaces when it is dissolved in water.

Making washing soda

Even though washing soda and baking soda should not be confused, baking soda is the main ingredient in washing soda, and it can be used in a variety of eco friendly pressure washing detergents.

Materials needed

Items you need to make washing soda:

  • Baking soda
  • Cookie sheet
  • Oven
  • Spatula or spoon

The difference between baking soda and washing soda is not actually that much. Basically, it’s the difference between a sodium molecule and a hydrogen one. 

For those into chemistry, Baking soda is NaHCO3, where washing soda is Na2CO3. Chemically, they are very similar and all the needs to change the chemical composition is just a little heat. Just as a little heat can change H2O into its separate components, Hydrogen, and Oxygen, but cool it down and the molecules bond back together. 

Steps to take

So, pretty easy, to change baking soda into washing soda, easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or 200 degrees Celsius)
  2. Spread out the baking soda on a cookie sheet in a thin layer
  3. Bake for approximately 30 minutes
  4. Stir every 5 – 7 minutes
  5. Remove and cool

The appearance of the soda will change. It will look more dull, not as shiny and crystallized as before. It will be drier, which means it won’t want to clump as much.  It helps to compare the before and after and you will see a subtle difference.  

homemade pressure washer detergent

Why does my home smell musty?

If your home or clothing smells musty, chances are you have mold or mildew hiding out. While other things — like a lack of ventilation or high levels of humidity — can make a musty odor more noticeable, they typically are not the primary cause of the smell.

While the term “musty” often brings to mind an old library or your grandma’s attic, mold and mildew can grow practically anywhere—even your modern home or apartment. Essentially, all mold needs to grow is the presence of mold spores, a surface to grow on, warmth, darkness, oxygen, and moisture.

The last ingredient — moisture — is the biggest problem. When all of the other environmental elements combine with condensation, moisture from humidity, or leaking water, mold begins to grow. As mold forms, grows, and spreads, it emits gasses known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs). So that musty odor you are smelling is not “just” mold but is a result of the chemical compounds released at different stages of the mold’s growth.

While volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are categorized as man-made or industrial chemicals, MVOCs are naturally occurring. They have a very low odor threshold, which means you may smell them easily and, when you do, the odor is strong. There are hundreds of different MVOCs formed by mold and mildew and many of them may pose health risks. Though more research is needed, some common symptoms of exposure to microbial volatile organic compounds may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nasal irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Mold vs. mildew: identification and treatment

Mold and mildew — and the chemicals produced by them — are not great for your personal health or the air quality in your home. Though often used interchangeably, the EPA describes that mold and mildew are not quite the same things.

What are mold and mildew?


In a nutshell, the term mildew describes certain types of mold or fungus, and generically refers to mold that grows flat and remains on a material’s surface. Mildew likes to grow where moisture levels are high, like shower walls and windowsills. Thankfully, mildew can be treated easily and does not usually require hiring a professional. There are several ways to clean and remove mildew (we will go into more detail below) but no matter which you choose, it is best to wear a face mask and keep the area you are cleaning well-ventilated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold are fungi that are found indoors and outside. No one is sure how many species of mold exist, but estimates range from the tens of thousands to maybe three hundred thousand or more.

You can find mold in many different places throughout your home — from the tiles in your shower to the crawl space in your basement. The majority of mold favor dark, damp, and warm environments, and anywhere that possesses those characteristics should be at the top of your list when you begin to look for the source of the musty smell in your home.

How mold affects your health and the health of your home

When left untreated for long periods of time, mold can cause structural damage to your home and the contents of it. Though moldy environments do not always cause health symptoms, the CDC says that exposure to moldy environments may cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing and wheezing, or eye and skin irritation. Those with mold allergies may have more severe reactions, and the EPA reports that for people with asthma who are allergic to mold, it can cause asthma attacks.

How to remove a musty smell from your home


It is not always fun to read about how mold and mildew can be affecting your home and health, but it is essential information to have. Now that we have gone over the basics, it is time to take action so you can get that musty smell out of your home.

Find the source of the musty smell:

As we have seen, the most common reason for a musty smell in your home is the presence of mold or mildew. And because the microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) emitted from mold and mildew have a low odor threshold, a musty smell does not necessarily mean that there is a lot of it. Before you try to cover up the odor, take some time to look around for patches of mildew or mold. Some places you may want to check for mold around your home include:

Your bathrooms — Moist and warm, bathrooms are like heaven to mold spores. You will want to check the most obvious places like the tiles in the shower but do not forget to check under the sink, around the toilet, and in the walls. Water leaks may not always be evident right away, but if you do a thorough inspection of your bathrooms, you should be able to tell if there is a moisture problem causing mold growth.

The kitchen — There are a lot of places in the kitchen for mold to hide out, so you will want to check thoroughly. Look inside of, underneath, and around your refrigerator, underneath your sink, and inside your microwave and stove. Oh, and do not forget to check your trash can — that is another dark place mold cannot resist.

In the bedrooms — True, your bedroom may not seem like a great place for mold to grow but it’s very possible. To keep your room smelling fresh, you will want to check for mold on your mattress, your bedroom windows and windowsills, and in any potted plants you have.

Your living room — Between your windows, your furniture, and your fireplace (if you have one), the living room is a pretty cozy place for your family and mold to hang out.

The attic, basement, and garage — Because you probably do not spend a ton of time in these rooms of your home, they are likely dark, warm, and damp. In other words, hello mold! You will need to look in quite a few spots in these rooms:

  • In your insulation
  • Around the water heater and furnace
  • Near any vents coming off the laundry room, kitchen, or bathroom
  • Around windows where condensation could gather
  • Behind or under any storage areas that do not get a lot of traffic
  • Other places you should check for mildew, mold, or moisture are in your air conditioning and heating ducts, inside and around your washer and dryer, and in the walls and ceiling around your home.

Fix any water leaks or moisture problems.

You can do all the cleaning you want, but if you do not take measures to fix any water leaks or other moisture problems, you will find yourself right back at square one. The CDC confirms this, saying, “Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding.” Once you have identified the source of the musty smell in your home, decide whether it requires maintenance that you can do yourself or if it makes more sense to hire a contractor to do the work for you. If you are renting, keep in mind that most leases require your landlord to pay for the repairs.

Clean the moldy or mildewy area thoroughly

If you did find places with mold or mildew, you would need to do a deep clean of the area (in addition to identifying what caused the growth and fixing that). Here are some tips for treating mold and mildew.

To clean mildew…

Though you can use bleach to kill and remove mildew, that level of cleaner is not usually necessary. If you do choose to use bleach, make sure you have adequate ventilation to the outside and wear protective equipment like rubber gloves and a face mask.

For a more natural (yet still highly effective) mildew treatment, you can:

  • Fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar
  • Let sit for several hours
  • Soak an abrasive sponge in hot water and dip it into baking soda
  • Scrub the mildew off of the surface

You will still probably want to turn on a fan and open a window, just to be safe.

To clean mold…

Mold clean up can be more intensive than treating mildew but that largely depends on how much mold there is, the type of mold, and how big of space the mold is covering. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a mold cleanup specialist if:

  • The moldy area is more than 10 square feet
  • If your HVAC system has mold in it
  • If the mold growth is on the walls, floors, or ceiling
  • If you have health issues that could be aggravated by more exposure to mold

In most other cases, you should be able to clean the mold up yourself. When cleaning mold, it is essential that the space you are in is well-ventilated and that you wear a respirator or face mask and cover your arms, legs, and hands to avoid exposure to mold spores that get stirred up from cleaning. The CDC recommends following these guidelines for cleaning up mold on your own:

  • Wear personal protective equipment
  • Toss out anything that cannot be cleaned within 48 hours
  • Use proper ventilation
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture
  • Do not mix cleaning products (when mixed, some cleaning products can create toxic vapors)
  • Scrub all surfaces that have mold
  • Fix the leak or moisture problem and clean up the mold before you paint or caulk
  • Dry everything as quickly as possible

To clean small areas of mold, you may be able to use the same process as you would clean up mildew. For larger areas, the CDC advises that you use a “solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach per 1 gallon of water.”

If the job feels too much, you may want to call a mold specialist.

Get the fresh air flowing

Now that you have gotten rid of the mold or mildew and have made all necessary repairs, you need to ventilate your home as much as possible. You can do this by opening windows, turning on fans, or both. The more you can get the air moving in your home, the better. Ventilation will help remove the musty smell from your house and make your home less attractive to mold and mildew.

Use an odor absorber

To get the last of the musty smell out of your house, use a natural odor absorber like activated charcoal or baking soda. These products will absorb the smell, so you’ll want to throw them away and replace them every two weeks or so.

If you follow all of these steps, your house will no longer smell like an old library or your grandma’s attic (whew!). All that’s left to do after this is keep mold and mildew at bay, so your house stays fresh and your family stays healthy.

How to remove a musty smell from your clothes

Now that you have removed the musty smell from your home, it is time to tackle your clothes (and any other fabrics, for that matter). No one wants to walk around with a moldy, stale smell clinging to them. Thankfully, getting the musty smell out of clothes is a pretty straightforward process.

  1. Inspect your washing machine

First things first, check that your washing machine does not have any mold or mildew growing inside it. This can happen, especially when you use a front-load washer. Even if you do not see any visible signs of mold or mildew, you can be proactive and clean your washer with a mix of white vinegar and baking soda. Once that’s done, wipe down all the inner surfaces of your washer with a towel and let it sit open so it can air out.

Even if there is no mold or mildew growing in your washer, letting your clothes sit could be a problem on its own. The City of Milwaukee shares that “washed laundry that smells musty or earthy is caused by leaving wet laundry in a closed washing machine. Molds and mildew grow quickly in dark, moist environments, particularly during warm, humid weather. Remove laundry immediately after washing. To remove the musty odor, wash the laundry again.”

  1. Time to clean the musty smell out of your clothes

If you have clothes that smell mildewy, stale, or otherwise just bad, there are a few different options you can use to remove the smell.

  • Add a cup of white vinegar to the washer when you wash the musty clothes
  • Wash your clothes with a cup of baking soda on the hottest setting your washer offers
  • Mix 1 parts Borax, a natural mold-killer, with 2 parts hot water and add it to the washing machine with your smelly clothes in it after it has filled with water
  • Let your clothes air out on a clothesline outside (weather permitting)

More tips for keeping your laundry fresh and must-free:

  • Do not leave wet laundry in the washing machine
  • Make sure all of your laundry is fully dried before putting in your dresser or closet
  • Toss sweaty clothes directly into the washer so they don’t make the rest of your dirty clothes smell bad
  • Clean your washer out every few months to prevent mold growth

Keep it fresh: banishing musty odors for good

Your home and your clothes are natural magnets for a musty smell. To keep them fresh and in good condition, you may want to take preventive measures. Preventing mold and mildew is always easier than cleaning it up. Eliminating musty smells for good also means you will be improving your home’s indoor air quality — it is a win-win!

  • Use a dehumidifier — Keeping your home at an ideal humidity level (between 40-50%) will go a long way in preventing mold and mildew and, of course, that musty smell.
  • Keep all surfaces dry — Your bathroom and kitchen, especially, should be kept as dry as possible. Taking a few minutes to wipe down hard surfaces after a shower or after cooking will help keep mold and mildew from forming. Do not forget to wipe away condensation that forms on your windows and leave your washing machine open between uses so it can air out!
  • Change your air filters regularly — Your HVAC filters can easily become filled with mold. By changing them often, you can avoid this and make sure your home’s air quality stays high.
  • Inspect for mold often — Mold happens. The earlier you catch it, the easier it will be to treat.
  • Do maintenance as needed — Water leaks can be prevented by performing (or hiring a contractor to do) regular maintenance in your home. This can include roof and plumbing inspections, as well as HVAC inspections.
  • Keep your home ventilated — Fresh air from the outside can help keep mold at bay. When air gets stagnant, humidity levels rise and mold thrives. Getting the air flowing in and through your home will help reduce condensation and will improve your air quality.

Prevention is key to a fresh home and fresh clothes

While musty smells sometimes just happen, your best bet is to take proactive measures that keep your home and clothes fresh. Though it may seem like many steps — regular maintenance, using a dehumidifier, cleaning out your washing machine, and wiping down damp surfaces — doing these things upfront takes far less time and (frustration) that trying to remove musty smells.

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