Below is a list of cleaning tools that are commonly used in residential painting.
Pressure washers are machines designed to provide high pressure, high velocity water. A pressure washer consists of a water pump driven by an electric motor or a gasoline engine. Standard equipment usually includes a high pressure hose, a spray gun with a wand attachment, and a variety of spray tips. The spray tips offer different spray patterns ranging from a wide fan, useful for washing, to a narrow conical blasting stream. Always use the spray tip with the widest fan for cleaning purposes. Some washers are equipped with a siphon tube that can inject chemical cleaners.
The standard water pressure at a garden hose is typically around sixty pounds per square inch (60 psi). Consumer grade pressure washers can significantly boost the water pressure to levels that make it much faster and easier to remove dirt and grime from exterior surfaces. Some electric driven units can provide water pressure as high as two thousand pounds per square inch (2,000 psi) while the larger gasoline driven pressure washers can reach pressures up to five thousand pounds per square inch (5,000 psi).
Care should always be taken when using a pressure washer. The high pressure, high velocity water can cause bodily injury and property damage. Always read and follow the safety instructions.
Pressure washers range in price from about $250 for a small electric unit to more than $1,000 for a larger gasoline driven unit. Rentals are typically in the range of $50-$90 per day. Because most residential cleaning projects can be accomplished in a day, renting may be the more economical approach.
A pump sprayer is a tool designed to deliver low pressure and low volume spray. A typical pump sprayer consists of a small tank generally between one and four gallons, piston pump, hose, and wand with an adjustable tip. Some units are equipped with a 12 volt battery operated pump instead of the hand driven piston pump. Pump sprayers are typically produced with plastic or stainless steel.
Pump sprayers are a multi-use tool. They are well suited for the application of liquid cleaning products, etches, and liquid penetrating sealers. They can even be used to apply a liquid mixture for wallpaper removal. In most cases a pump sprayer is a much faster method of applying a liquid solution than with a sponge or brush.
Be sure to take all necessary safety precautions when working with toxic chemicals. Proper respiratory protection should be taken for any spray application.
Even though scrub brushes are the least expensive among cleaning tools, they play an important role in the washing process of exterior surfaces such as siding, eaves, and decks. Chemical cleaners and pressurized water may not always be sufficient to remove all contaminants from painted and stained surfaces. The scouring motion from a scrub brush can help eliminate stubborn dirt and grime. Scrub brushes that can be attached to adjustable extension poles are a big time saver.
A HEPA vacuum is a high efficiency particulate air vacuum. Government standards require that HEPA filters eliminate a minimum of 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 micrometers from the air stream passing through the vacuum. In Order for a HEPA vac to meet the required Government standards, it must be designed in a manner so as not to allow any air to bypass the filter system.
HEPA vacuums are recommended to be used for cleanup of hazardous materials, such as paint debris and dust particles containing lead or asbestos.
A shop vac can be used for general cleanup of dry debris and liquids. Shop vacuums range in size from about 1.5 gallons to 15 gallons or larger. A shop vac is a handy tool for cleaning paint debris and sanding dust that does not contain lead. These vacuums should never be used for cleaning leaded materials. Instead, a HEPA vacuum should be used to clean up these hazardous materials.
Miscellaneous Cleaning Tools
Additional multi use cleaning tools can be of use for paint prep and clean-up. An air blower or leaf blower can be used to remove loose particles from exterior surfaces. A broomcan function as a scrubbing tool for decks and siding. Clean plastic buckets are useful for preparing cleaning solutions. Sponges work well for cleaning smooth interior and exterior surfaces.