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(National) June 10, 2005 - The pressure washers Consumer Reports just tested can really clean away grime and mildew. They're so powerful they just lift the dirt right off.
Rico De Paz used a rig to measure just how much power they deliver. The spray hit a metal target and a scale registered the amount of force. It turns out gas pressure washers are 20 times more powerful than a regular garden hose. And pressure washers can do a lot of damage, "You can see here even on this metal target it got worn away."
Even less-powerful electric washers can tear into your home's siding or deck if the spray is too narrow. Worse still, you could hurt yourself.
Tony Rabadi is one of thousands who've been injured by a pressure washer. After cleaning the patio last year, he forgot for a moment that he wasn't using a regular hose and went to rinse his feet, "I point down, you know, the handle, point it down at my feet and I sprayed my feet. By the time I realized I was doing the wrong decision, there I go, it ripped my skin."
Tony now bears a zigzag scar across his ankle and foot.
Consumer Reports says if you use a pressure washer, you have to be very careful. Always make the spray as wide as possible. When you begin washing, start with the nozzle at least two feet away and move closer as needed, but don't get any closer than six inches. Never point the spray at a person or pet.
Consumer Reports says if you want to get a pressure washer, consider an electric one. Electric washers are more convenient and not as noisy and they are fine for cleaning small decks, patios, and furniture.