Believe it or not, one of the most common reasons that pressure washers fail is due to improper storage, particularly during the winter months. If, like most people, you store your pressure washer in an unheated garage or shed, it must be winterized if you live in area where temperatures dip below freezing.

If you have an electric pressure washer, the best protection you can offer is to store the unit inside your house or a heated garage where the risk of freezing temperatures is eliminated. However, if that is not possible, or if you own a gasoline powered pressure washer, winterization is key to protecting your unit from damage due to freezing. Excess water left in a pressure washer pump can freeze and result in damage to seals and o-rings, and even a cracked pump. The following is a step-by-step guide to winterizing your pressure washer.

Step 1: Flushing the Pump

If you have used the detergent function, you will need to clean out the detergent residue in the pump. Attach the unit to the garden hose and plug it in. Next fill the detergent bottle with water and run the pressure washer at low pressure for 30 seconds. Next, run the pressure washer on higher pressure for another 30 seconds. Completing these two steps will flush out detergent residue and prevent it from clogging internal components of the pump.

Here’s a step-by-step video of How to Properly store your Pressure Washer procedure:

Step 2: Purging the Pump

Disconnect the pressure washer from the water source. Turn the pressure washer on and run until the remaining water in the pump exits the machine. Once the pump is purged, turn off the pressure washer and unplug it.

Step 3: Winterizing the Pump

To winterize your pressure washer pump you will need to purchase a canister of pressure washer antifreeze or “pump saver.” Connect the tube from the pressure washer antifreeze canister to the quick connect coupler and attach the coupler to the pump inlet. Depress the button on top of the canister to release the antifreeze. Continue depressing until the pump saver fluid comes out of the pump outlet. Disconnect the antifreeze canister from the pump inlet.

Here’s a step-by-step video of the Winterizing the Pressure Washer procedure:

Step 4: For Gas Models Only — Winterizing the Engine

The motors of electric pressure washers do not need to be winterized, but the engines of gasoline powered pressure washers do. Gasoline is not intended for long-term storage and will begin degrading after a couple of months. This degradation of the fuel can be more acute in ethanol blends, which are widely available. When gasoline degrades it can cause corrosion and buildup in the engine, resulting in unnecessary repairs. If your gas pressure washer is not going to be used during the winter or for other extended periods of time, we recommend adding a fuel stabilizer that will help to maintain the integrity of the fuel during storage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adding a stabilizer.

Your Pressure Washer is Now Ready for Winter Storage!