How to Pressure Wash a Cedar Fence


Some homeowners may be afraid to use a pressure washer, and with good reason. These machines can reach up to 4,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, which can cause serious damage to people or surfaces it impacts. However, sometimes the pressure washer is the right tool for the job, like in the instance of cedar fences. The wood will provide a beautiful appearance for a fence at first, but over time can fade to gray or become coated with dirt or grime. Pressure washing will remove dirt and grime and will strip away weathering, returning the cedar to its original beautiful color.

Things You'll Need

  • Power washer
  • Hose
  • 25-degree washer tip
  • Attach the power washer hose and your garden hose to the pressure washer machine. Turn on the water so that water begins to flow into the pump; activating the machine without water in the pump can damage the pump.

  • Attach a 25-degree tip to the spray wand. If you are experienced with the machine, you can use a 15-degree tip for more aggressive cleaning; the smaller tip can cause more damage if the user is inexperienced.

  • Squeeze the wand handle until water starts to come out of the wand tip. Release the handle and activate the pump, which will add pressure to the water.

  • Hold the tip of the pressure washer 18 inches from the fence surface, and squeeze the handle to spray water at the fence. Keep the tip moving across the wooden surface at all times to avoid damaging one area of the fence. You should notice the surface of the cedar begin to brighten.

  • Continue to spray one area until you notice the color has stopped changing; this means this area is clean and it is time to move on. If in doubt, move on; you can always come back to wash again, but it is much harder to repair a damaged area of the fence.

  • Continue spraying until the entire fence is pressure washed. Go back along the fence and conduct any touch-up sprays as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have a pressure washer, rent one from a rental service or a hardware and home improvement retailer.
  • You will get soaked when using a pressure washer; wear old or water-resistant clothing.
  • Some wood cleaning products are safe to use in pressure washers; if pressure washing isn’t enough to clean your fence, consider using one of these washers. Consult experts at fencing stores or at hardware or home improvement retailers if you have any questions.
  • Use a power washer with a maximum PSI of 2,000 or less. More powerful machines can cause serious damage to the cedar fence.

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  • Photo Credit Cedar fence planks image by K. Geijer from
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