Pressure Washer Setting For Deck Cleaning

I bought this unit on Craigslist for $60 in a new, unopened box.
http://www.shopwiki.com/d/130229/941459053/Greenworks-1500-PSI-1.3-GPM-Electric-Pressure-Washer-51052
I realize that 1500 PSI is pretty low for a pressure washer, but I still want to make sure I don't damage my pressure treated deck.
Will using this unit with the nozzle at it's narrowest setting (highest output force, right?) damage the wood? If I were do it this weekend the deck will probably still be damp/soft since it does not get a lot of sun. There is a lot of mildew on the surface that I'd like to clean off.
How much of a mess will I be making? The deck is 8 feet off the ground and there is a nice looking wooden shed about 10' away. Am I going to blast mildewy water all over the roof and walls of the shed? Should I consider protecting the shed with tarps?
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On Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:44:55 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Yes, I would think it's possible. I have an electric one and for sure it can easily damage wood. It's a factor of how close you get it to the wood. I'd suggest starting at the least visible portion and getting the hang of it. AT some distance, mine is perfectly fine. Get too close, maybe a foot or 18" away and it will start to raise fibers in the wood. You don't want that to happen. And if you get it close enough, it will cut holes into softer wood, eg cedar siding.

I'd just use the pressure washer to clean off the shed when you're done. If you keep at a distance when you do that, you can just rinse it off and be done in a couple mins. Less time than covering it up. If you get closer, you'll probably start to clean the shed, and then will have to spend more time cleaning the whole thing for a consistent look. Or just use a garden hose.
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Don't use the pressure washer on wood.
If you want to clean the deck, mix up some clorex and water and spread it on, then use a regular water hose to wash it off.
If you must try the pressure washer on wood, use the nozzle with the widest patern. There may be one made for a cleaning solution. Anyway keep the nozzle well away from the wood.
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On Wed, 9 Apr 2014 12:56:02 -0400, "Ralph Mowery"

Listen to Ralph
Even one of those little hobby machines will etch grooves in your wood deck on the tight setting or if you get too close.
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On 4/9/2014 12:03 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I've did that on my fence. Happens in a fraction of a second too. Doh!
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On 4/9/2014 12:44 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

won't be a problem. If you use a straight pin point spray, stopping at 1 spot, might cause problems if you are close to the wood. I've used a 2600 PSI unit with the whirligig nozzle. This is a single pin point, but it rotates rapidly and won't drill a hole in the wood. Best thing to do is practice on an old piece of weathered lumber to see what happens. BTW, if there is a lot of mildew, there are commercial products that work pretty good at cleaning. I've been using the Olympic stuff, which is basically bleach and lye. You spray it (garden sprayer) onto a dry surface. Wait as the instructions say and then rinse with a garden hose or pressure washer.
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What about the runoff?
The bleach I'm not so worried about. The lye is another question. I've used house cleaners with bleach and as long as you wet down the foundation plantings before use and rinse them thoroughly afterwards, there shouldn't be a problem.
Can the same be said about lye? I know that lye will damage the plants with direct contact so hopefully rinsing will help, but what about the lye soaking into the soil? Can it change the makeup of the soil such that it harms the surrounding vegetation?
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Depends on the wood. You can get pretty close to Ipe and you will not damage it. This may also be true with other tropical hardwoods, like mahogany. Trex may be able to handle it.
Don. www.donwiss.com (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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