Residential Pressure Washing pressure wash wrought iron

Is it safe, or even recommended, to pressure wash wrought iron? This is a question many property owners have. Pressure washing is an efficient and effective cleaning method but incompatible with all materials. Some materials are too fragile and may break easily under the intense force of the water. Wrought iron, though, is relatively sturdy.


What Is Wrought Iron?

Wrought iron is a type of metal that has a lower carbon content than traditional steel. This makes wrought iron flexible and malleable, making it a popular choice for furniture, railings, fences, and decorative pieces. Over time, though, wrought iron can also gather dust and dirt. It can even rust and oxidize, especially in outdoor places when the layer of paint protecting it starts to chip away.

Still, due to its bendable quality and 25+ year lifespan, wrought iron remains a permanent fixture in many homes and commercial buildings. And, despite it being prone to rusting, wrought iron is heavy-duty and relatively easy to clean.


Can You Pressure Wash Wrought Iron?

Yes, you can pressure wash wrought iron. Pressure washing is a fast and effective way to clean wrought iron furniture and fixtures. It is also a good way to strip paint, which helps prepare the iron for repainting. When pressure washing wrought iron, though, it is important to use the right combination of pressure and nozzle to effectively remove rust and debris without causing damage to the metal.

If you want to know how to clean wrought iron doors, how to clean wrought iron railings, or just how to clean wrought iron in general, here are some steps to follow.


1. Prepare the Area

First, it is important to ensure everything’s ready — not just the wrought iron. Cover plants with a tarp or move them away if plants are nearby. Do the same for any furniture or easily movable objects in the area. Keep pets and kids a good distance away, too.


2. Observe Safety Precautions

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific pressure washer model. Consider the condition of the wrought iron when determining the appropriate pressure and technique. If unsure, start with a lower pressure level and gradually increase the setting if needed. Wear appropriate protective gear, especially goggles, gloves, and boots. Pressure washing injuries happen more often than you think.


3. Use the Right PSI Level

A pressure washer with a PSI rating between 1500 and 2000 PSI is typically sufficient for wrought iron. High-pressure washers can damage the metal or strip away paint, so staying within this moderate range is important.


4. Use the Appropriate Nozzle Tip

Use a wide-angle nozzle, often called a 25- or 40-degree nozzle. This type of nozzle spreads the water over a larger area, reducing the risk of concentrating too much pressure in one spot, which could potentially damage the wrought iron.


5. Keep a Reasonable Distance

Maintain a safe distance from the wrought iron while pressure washing. Start at a distance of about 1 to 2 feet and adjust as needed. Closer distances can provide more concentrated pressure, resulting in damage or injury. Thus, finding a balance that effectively removes rust and dirt without causing harm is essential.


6. Test on a Small Area First

Before proceeding with the entire surface, test the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous section of the wrought iron. This allows you to assess the impact and make adjustments if necessary.


7. Apply Detergent Carefully

Applying a mild detergent to the wrought iron before pressure washing can help break down dirt and grime. Use a low-pressure setting on the pressure washer for the detergent application. Additionally, make sure to opt for a detergent compatible with wrought iron and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


8. Wash at the Correct Angle

Hold the pressure washer nozzle at a slight angle to the surface rather than directing it straight on. This helps prevent damage and ensures a more even cleaning process.


how to clean wrought iron doors

9. Rinse and Dry Thoroughly

Make sure to wash all of the detergents away, working in sections. Then, allow the wrought iron to dry completely under the sun or, if necessary, wipe it down with a clean cloth. Remember that water is the primary cause of rust.


Is Power Washing Wrought Iron Okay?

Yes, it is generally okay to power wash wrought iron. It can be an effective method for removing rust, dirt, and other debris from the surface. Using hot water to clean wrought iron can help remove grease, oils, or stubborn grime. Hot water helps to break down these substances and makes cleaning more efficient. However, it’s vital to follow the guidelines above to ensure that you do not cause any damage to the wrought iron during the power washing process.


How to Clean Rust Off Wrought Iron

Various methods can be employed to remove rust from wrought iron.

  • Vinegar. White vinegar, with its acidic properties, is effective in dissolving rust. Soak a cloth or sponge in vinegar, apply it to the rusted areas, and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Afterward, scrub the surface with a brush or steel wool.
  • Lemon and salt. Create a paste by combining lemon juice and salt. Apply the paste to the rusted areas, leaving it for several hours. Subsequently, use a brush or steel wool to scrub the surface, and then rinse it off.
  • Baking soda. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Apply this paste to the rusted areas and let it sit for a few hours. Scrub the surface with a brush or steel wool, followed by rinsing.
  • Commercial rust removers. Explore various rust removal products available in the market. Adhere to the product instructions, typically involving application, waiting for a specific period, and scrubbing or wiping off the rust.
  • WD-40. Spray a rusted area with WD-40 or a similar penetrating oil. Allow it to sit for some time, then use a brush or steel wool to scrub away the rust.
  • Pressure washer. Utilize a pressure washer to eliminate rust from wrought iron. These tools effectively blast away loose rust, dirt, and debris from surfaces, offering a powerful cleaning solution.


How to Clean Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture and fixtures made of wrought iron tend to be more prone to rust due to exposure to the elements. A pressure washer is a good option to remove rust from these pieces. A pressure washer can strip away chipped or flaking paint, preparing wrought iron pieces for a new coat. When pressure washing wrought iron outdoor furniture, observe the same steps and precautions listed above.


Should You Pressure Wash Wrought Iron? Answered!

Pressure washing wrought iron is a fast and effective cleaning method. If you have no experience with pressure washing, it is best to leave the job to the professionals. Hiring a pressure washing company reduces the risk of injury, damage, and error.

Washh provides pressure washing services to both residential and commercial properties. Call us today at 704.321.8000 or contact us online to learn more about us!