How To Unclog A Pressure Washer

If you are wondering why your pressure washer can not work properly or, despite your full efforts, it can not reach its true potential; then there are high chances that your pressure washer is clogged. Nozzles are among the most crucial parts of pressure washing, and they direct water flow according to preference.

There is very little space in the nozzle to allow the water to pass through, and the purpose of a low area for passage is to obtain high pressure. Still, this tiny passage can get easily clogged due to debris or scaling, and it is very important to unclog it if you want to use your pressure washer without any problem.

In this article, we will discuss how to unclog a pressure washer and how you can avoid the nozzle from clogging/let’s get started.

How Does A Pressure Washer Nozzle Work

Nozzles are simple but are a very important part of the pressure washer and are installed on the tip of the pressure washer to direct the water flow. There are different types of nozzles on the pressure washer, and they are designed for different purposes. Some nozzles have a large opening and are meant to be used on light surfaces, while others are designed for heavy cleaning and have a high velocity with less opening. The area of the nozzle is very small and increases the water’s velocity. 

How Can A Pressure Washer Get Clogged?

There are a lot of potential places where the pressure washer can get clogged, but the nozzle is most prone to clogging because it has the least area of flow that can get easily occupied. These are the common factors by which your pressure washer nozzle can get clogged:

  • Debris accumulation with time is the most common cause for the nozzles of the pressure washer to get clogged. Even when the water filter system is working properly, many tiny particles can go through the filter and accumulate on the inner wall of the nozzle.
  • The nozzle can also clog when the layers of material inside the pressure washer are eroded, accumulating in the nozzle, and decreasing its cross-section area. This process is known as caking and can happen in old units.
  • Clogging of the nozzle is also possible due to the destroyed rubber hose.
  • Detergent usage beyond recommendation can also cause clogging of the nozzle with time. 

Effects Of A Clogged Pressure Washer

Using a clogged pressure washer is not recommended, and it can create more problems both within and outside the machine and is also a safety hazard. Clogging can increase the pump pressure inside the pressure washer and lead to unwanted turning off of the pressure washer. There are also many other effects that you can witness when you have a clogged nozzle, such as an uneven stream of water or a turbulent flow of water that is much harder to control.

A clogged nozzle is like a blocked nose. Put a hand on your nose and try to breathe. Of course, you can not breathe properly, and the condition of the pressure washer is the same. It is very important to clean the clogged nozzle because leaving it as it is can cause several other problems, including a complete breakdown of the pressure washer. 

How To Unclog A Pressure Washer

You can easily unclog a pressure washer nozzle in simple steps. Before dismantling the nozzle, make sure you power off and unplug your pressure washer. These are the steps to unclog a pressure washer nozzle.

Dismantle The Nozzle

Before cleaning and unclogging a nozzle, make sure that you dismantle it properly. Cleaning and unclogging the nozzle attached to the pressure washer with the pin can cause a puncture in a high-pressure hose.

Poke The Hole In Nozzle

Now poke the hole in the nozzle with the help of a pin and make sure that you do not pressurize the nozzle too much; otherwise, it can cause permanent damage to the nozzle. Make sure to use a light hand and remove any accumulated debris.

Wash The Nozzle

Now that you have cleaned the nozzle, it is time to clean it. Use the fresh tap water and put the nozzle in its stream. Wash the nozzle thoroughly and ensure the water passes through the hole without any problem.


Reinstall The Nozzle

Once you have cleaned the nozzle, it is time to clean it. Ensure you install it properly and then turn off the pressure washer by following maximum safety measures. Test the nozzle to see if it is working properly.

Using The Vinegar To Life The Scaling

Clogging due to the scaling of hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium is very hard to remove by a pin, and you should use some chemical cleaning methods. Vinegar is one of the most common natural cleaning agents you can use, and it has acidizing properties that are useful for removing the calcium, oil, or any other debris. Fill the bowl with a half cup of vinegar and insert your nozzle. Leave it for a half hour, and then wash the nozzle with fresh water. The time to submerge the nozzle in vinegar can depend more or less on the debris you have.

How To Avoid Clogging Of Pressure Washer

To avoid the clogging pressure washer, these are some of the few steps that you can take:

  • Check the pressure washer’s filter and ensure that it is intact and without any errors.
  • Make sure to check the pressure washer’s nozzle before every use to see that it is perfect.
  • Use only the pressure washer-grade detergent in the right quantity whenever necessary.
  • Do not use hard or salty water in a pressure washer.


In this article, we have discussed the reasons why a pressure washer nozzle can get clogged. We have also discussed the effects of clogging in the pressure washer and the ways you can unclog a pressure washer nozzle. The pin and vinegar are the two most common methods for unclogging a nozzle. We have also discussed the preventive measures to avoid clogging by using high-quality filters, natural detergent, and freshwater.

Jose Kelly