Pressure Washer Cleaning for Farms: Selection Tips and Safety Advice

As we transition from winter to spring, it's crucial to prioritize the cleaning of tractors and farm equipment. According to an article from the University of Minnesota, accumulated mud, dirt, plant debris, and even manure can spread weed seeds, crop diseases, and bacteria from one field to another. It's essential to regularly clean equipment to maintain a healthy farming environment.

Utilizing pressure washing is a highly effective method for thoroughly cleaning farm equipment. The powerful water blast can swiftly and efficiently eliminate stubborn debris, grease buildup, and layers of dirt, surpassing the effectiveness of manual scrubbing. Regular pressure washing maintenance not only enhances the smooth operation of machinery but also prolongs equipment lifespan and boosts overall farm productivity.

Types of Pressure Washers for Farm Use

There are several types of pressure washers well-suited for agricultural cleaning needs:

Hot Water Pressure Washers

Hot water units can reach temperatures of up to 250°F, effectively tackling grease and oil. Hotsy machines are powered by either natural gas or electricity to generate heat. Our gas-powered 800 Series is designed for mobility, featuring 12” rubber tires and sturdy casters for effortless maneuvering.

Portable Cold Water Units

Gas-powered pressure washers, such as the Hotsy HD Series, offer exceptional portability and the versatility to clean equipment in different locations. With models featuring engines up to 4,000 PSI available, along with convenient portable cart designs, you can easily handle cleaning tasks wherever necessary.

Pressure and Flow Rate Recommendations

When choosing a pressure washer for agricultural use, it's important to consider two main specifications: PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons per minute). PSI reflects the force or pressure exerted, while GPM indicates the water flow volume. Remember, pressure breaks the dirt free and volume flushes it away.  The higher your volume the quicker you can clean.

For optimal cleaning of farm equipment such as tractors and animal housing, it is recommended to consider a PSI between 200-3000 and a GPM around 3-5. A higher PSI in this range can provide the necessary cleaning power for challenging, caked-on messes, while the GPM ensures adequate water flow for thorough rinsing.

Choosing a pressure washer with an adjustable PSI setting gives you the flexibility to tailor the pressure for specific cleaning tasks. Lower PSI settings, around 1500-2000, are ideal for delicate surfaces, while higher settings of 3000+ can effectively tackle heavily soiled equipment or stable walls.

Cleaning Different Equipment

When cleaning various kinds of farming equipment, using the proper technique is key to getting the best results from your pressure washer.


Focus on removing accumulated grease, oil, and dirt, particularly in hard-to-reach areas like the undercarriage, wheels, and chassis. Start by utilizing the pressure washer's soap function and a degreasing solution, followed by a thorough rinse. Adjust the nozzle to a setting between 15-25 degrees and maintain a distance of 6-12 inches from the surface to achieve optimal cleaning power without causing any damage.

Plows, Cultivators, and Planting Equipment

These types of equipment also see improvements with degreasing before rinsing. It's crucial to focus on any moving parts and connections, as the underside of implements can gather substantial build-up that affects performance.

Animal Housing

Ensure all animals are removed before starting the cleaning process, then begin from the top and work your way down. Hot water pressure washers are highly effective at eliminating stubborn waste and sanitizing surfaces. Consider using a wide-spray surface cleaner attachment for efficiently tackling large floor areas.

No matter the cleaning task at hand, remember to approach it methodically and allow enough time to thoroughly rinse off any soap residue. Adjust the pressure washer to the ideal PSI for the surface material to ensure a deep clean without causing any damage. Always position the nozzle at a perpendicular angle and maintain the proper distance from the cleaning surface for optimal effectiveness.

Safety Tips

When using pressure washers on the farm, safety should always be the top priority to avoid injuries or damage. There are several hazards to be aware of.

Around Animals, Crops, and Chemicals

Never point the high-pressure spray directly at animals or people, as it can cause serious injuries. Keep animals contained away from the area being washed. Check for nests, bee hives, or other wildlife that could be harmed or provoked. Also avoid spraying directly at growing crops which can damage plants. When cleaning areas treated with agricultural chemicals or fertilizers, prevent runoff contamination into waterways or animal areas according to EPA guidelines.

Electrical and Chemical Hazards

To prevent electrical hazards, keep the pressure washer at least 30 feet away from power lines and shut off electricity when cleaning near electrical equipment according to CDC recommendations. Never spray flammable liquids. Operate the pressure washer in a well-ventilated area to prevent exhaust fumes and chemical inhalation according to OSHA standards. Wear protective gear and follow all chemical safety precautions when using detergents or chemicals in the washer.

For more guidance on cleaning like a pro, contact our team at Hotsy Cleaning Systems!