Pressure washing metal | Cleaning, Rust & Paint Removal

Can You Remove Paint & Rust From Metal Using a Pressure Washer?

Yes, in certain cases. Pressure washers can be used for removing paint and rust from metal but their efficiency for such processes might depend on a few factors.

These include the type and age of the paint, how deep the rust goes into the metal, and the power of the washer, measured in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). Older paint is normally easier to wash off than fresh paint.

Wet paint is generally less durable than powder coat paint and easier to remove. The latter is frequently used on metal due to its resilience and would most probably require a more intrusive method to strip off.

Surface-level rust can usually be removed using a pressure washer, but deep rust might also require additional methods for complete removal.

Nozzles and Pressure Power

Different pressure washer nozzles are used for different cleaning purposes.

A higher PSI directed into a small area facilitates paint stripping.

However, this process could leave an uneven surface, which may require sanding.

While pressure washing can often strip paint off metal, the task demands time and patience.

Usage and Setup

Proper setup of your pressure washer will ensure optimal performance and safety.

For paint and rust removal, use narrow-angle cleaning to focus the force on the target area.

Always test the spray on a small area first, and adjust the pressure levels accordingly.

Health & Safety

When using pressure washers for removing paint, do so with safety in mind and wear protective gear.

The process should occur in open spaces, avoiding the use of ladders or stools.

For larger projects, you may wish to consider hiring a professional metal cleaning expert to ensure safety and efficiency.

Cleaning Metal Structures with Pressure Washers

As with the removal of paint and rust, pressure washers can also be used to clean metal structures. This should be done with caution however, to avoid potential damage. Here are some tips on how to clean your metal items using pressure washers:

  1. Check the Pressure Level: Not all metals can withstand the same level of pressure. Before you begin, make sure the metal and paint of your metal surfaces can handle the pressure level you plan to use. Start with a lower pressure and gradually increase if needed.
  2. Use the Correct Nozzle: The nozzle on your pressure washer will determine the force of the water. A wider spray (e.g., 40 degrees) will provide a softer spray, which is usually a safer choice for most surfaces.
  3. Test a Small Area First: Always test a small, inconspicuous area before cleaning the entire structure. This way, if the pressure washer does cause any damage, it won’t be in a highly visible area.
  4. Using Detergents: If your metal structure is particularly dirty, consider using a detergent. If you use a detergent it’s important to use one that is suitable for metal surfaces, and that is safe for use with a pressure washer.
  5. Dry After Washing: After you’ve finished pressure washing, make sure to dry the surface thoroughly. Some metals may rust or develop other types of damage if left wet.
  6. Protective Gear: Don’t forget to protect yourself. Always wear suitable safety gear, including safety glasses and closed-toe shoes.


Pressure washers might simplify the task of removing paint and rust as well as cleaning of metal surfaces.

Their power and cleaning features make pressure washers a handy tool for cleaning certain types of metals.

Remember that pressure washers can be powerful tools. If you’re not comfortable using one, or if your metal structure is made of a delicate or a rare metal, consider hiring metal cleaning experts to carry out the service.

At Mobile Welding London we offer paint and rust removal for any type of metal. Contact us now for a free quote or advice.


What types of metal structures can you clean with a pressure washer?

Pressure washing can be used on a variety of metal structures. These includes different automotive parts, outdoor furniture, fencing, gates, security grills, building exteriors, metal roofing, metal playground equipment, and barbecues. It’s important however to always check the type and condition of the metal, and test a small area first.

Which types of metals can be cleaned with a pressure washer?

Most types of metals like aluminum, steel, stainless steel, and iron can normally be cleaned with a pressure washer. Make sure however to always start with a lower pressure setting to avoid any potential damage.