Nozzles: Using the Right Tool for the Job

Understanding how different sprays can focus your cleaning

Not all dirt is created equally, and not all dirt can be washed away with the same tools. Hot-water and cold-water pressure washers offer different benefits, as do your different detergent solutions that help clear away grime, grease, oil and more. But did you know that the nozzle you use on your pressure washer can play an equally important role? Or that using the wrong nozzle could cause more issues than you might think?

Purpose-Built Patterns

Each spray nozzle available from WET is designed to provide a specific spray pattern. The nozzle itself throttles the angle and intensity of water spray, which in turn affects how large or small an area you can spray at once as well as how much pressure is exerted on dirt. Matching the area that you need to clean with the right nozzle can have a world of difference on how well you clean.

Spray the Rainbow

Sometimes while washing you may have enough water in the air to cast a small rainbow. That’s a perfect way to help you remember the different types of standard pressure-washing nozzles, as they’re all conveniently color coded to make them easy to recognize and use.

Red

The red nozzle is the highest intensity – 0 degrees – and should be almost never used. Think of red like a stop light, where you should stop and look around before proceeding. The high-power jet of water from a 0-degree nozzle is very narrow, making it difficult to wash large areas. It’s also intense enough to strip paint and even dent or puncture soft materials like wood, fabric or weakened metal. Use this nozzle only in the most extreme circumstances.

Yellow

The yellow nozzle is lower intensity, but still packs a punch so – like a yellow light – you should approach using it with caution. At 15 degrees, this spray pattern is most appropriate for heavy-duty dirt and grime, and is frequently used for stripping paint from a surface or blasting away heavy mud or animal waste from driveways or barn stalls. This nozzle should be used selectively on soft or painted surfaces so as to not cause damage.

Green

Green means go, and that’s typically the case with the 25-degree green nozzle that is used for most cleaning applications. This nozzle has a wide spray angle while still providing a powerful stream of water to wash away grime from vehicles, metal siding, lawn furniture and much more. This tip can be used on all but the most fragile or sensitive surfaces.

White

Think of the white nozzle as the one to use on anything that requires more of a white-glove treatment. This nozzle sprays at 40 degrees – much less intense than the other nozzles, but enough to clean surfaces that may not stand up to the impact of higher pressure. This nozzle is best suited for soft or sensitive surfaces, including materials like windows or wood that could be damaged by higher spray intensity.

Black

Finally, the black nozzle is very low pressure, but is used to apply soaps and detergents as you start cleaning. If you’re hosing down something that’s black with dirt, use the black nozzle first. This nozzle has a greater opening that makes it easier to spray on cleaning agents and with the widest spray radius, it applies your detergents easily and broadly, helping accelerate the cleaning process.

Specialty Nozzles

WET also offers specialized nozzles that offer further customization and capabilities. Rotating nozzles, for example, combine the higher power of narrower angle nozzles with a broader radius, allowing you to continue to wash with high intensity across a larger area. These nozzles typically spray in a circular or cone-shaped pattern at a rapid speed, delivering intense cleaning power for the most stubborn dirt and stain

Other nozzles can attach for specific situations, like duct cleaning nozzles that spray in a 360-degree radius or foaming nozzles that can spray foaming cleaners and disinfectants at a high pressure. There are also variable intensity nozzles that are great for applying detergent at low intensity and switching to high pressure for washing.

Nozzle Size and Pressure

It’s also important to keep in mind that you need to select a nozzle size that works with your pressure washer. This is determined by the gallons per minute of output and the hole size on the nozzle, and is independent of the spray angle. Using a nozzle with too large of a hole means that you won’t achieve the desired PSI for washing. Using a nozzle too small, on the other hand, can damage your equipment, leading to costly part replacement or equipment repairs. Hotsy offers a handy nozzle sizing chart in its annual catalog (page 66).

Choosing the Right Nozzle

Selecting the right nozzle can be one of the most important parts of cleaning. The last thing you want to do is select a nozzle that’s too intense and ends up blasting away the paint from your equipment or damaging sensitive surfaces. The best practice is to always err on the side of caution and choose a lower intensity nozzle if you’re unsure. It’s better to have to wash a second time at higher pressure than to have stripped paint or broken windows.

Find What You Need With WET

At WET, we offer a full range of pressure washer nozzles to outfit your equipment with the right spray for any job. Choose from an array of standard and specialty nozzles to suit your cleaning needs. Find everything you need – and more – by stopping by to see us today.




What Gives CLEAN its ‘Oomph’? The Answer Is pH

How Acidity and Alkalinity – and Beer – Impact Cleaning

Cleaning different surfaces or grime requires a different approach. While this is fairly common knowledge, what is less commonly understood is the impact that pH has on your success. How acidic or how basic (or alkaline) a cleaning solution is can dramatically influence how well a cleaning product or approach works on different kinds of dirt or materials.

So, What Is pH?

pH stands for the “potential of hydrogen,” and indicates if a solution is acidic or alkaline, also known as basic. This is measured on a 14-point scale: a pH of 7 is neutral, with acids measuring less than 7 and alkalines measuring higher than 7. But where did pH come from? The answer may make you want to crack a beer.

Dr. Søren Sørensen, working as the head of The Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark, first introduced the pH scale in 1909, as the Science History Institute reports. Sørensen was working at the time to determine how ion concentrations impacted protein analysis and introduced this new standard scale.

The lab itself was named after its largest benefactor – Carlsberg beer. The brewery supported the lab’s operations, and in fact, the company still lists the lab on its website today:

"The principal task of The Carlsberg Laboratory shall be to develop as complete a scientific basis as possible for malting, brewing and fermenting operations." - J.C.  Jacobsen, founder of Carlsberg

So in some ways, the way we choose a detergent solution relies on innovations brought to us by beer.

How Does pH Work?

While the numeric value assigned to a material denotes whether it’s an acid or alkaline, values are measured logarithmically. That means that something registering as a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than a substance with a pH of 6.

pH is also measured as the intensity of a substance, not the concentration or capacity. It’s in some ways like how we measure temperature – an item that measures a heat reading of 80 degrees F lets you know that it’s warm, but doesn’t measure how much heat is carried by that item. And, like hot and cold, pH is measured in the extremes as acidity and alkalinity.

Understanding How to Choose a Detergent

When approaching your cleaning project, you should first assess what kind of substance you need to clean. Broadly speaking, whether an alkaline or acid solution should be used depends on the kind of grime that needs to be cleaned. Most often this can be divided by whether you have organic or inorganic materials to clean. Typically, acidic solutions are more well suited to cleaning inorganic surfaces while alkalines are best for organic soils.

When to Use Acidic Solutions

Acids are highly effective at blasting away minerals, salts and other kinds of substances that are produced in the natural world, not from organic life. An acidic detergent works well to clean away oxides, salts and other general types of dirt. They’re also a good choice for brightening metal surfaces, like in Phosphatizer No. 2 often used for metal prepping before painting.

When to Use Alkaline Solutions

At the other extreme, alkaline detergent excels at cleaning away greases, oil, fats and other organic substances. Many detergents – even in day-to-day uses, like laundry soap – are on the basic end of the pH spectrum, making them well suited to clean away organic dirt. At WET, products like the Ripper 1 are high on the pH scale, while still biodegradable.

Find the Right Solution for CLEAN

No matter what you need to keep clean, WET has a variety of solutions to help you work more efficiently and effectively. We offer a full range of detergents to meet each of your specific cleaning needs. We also offer an analysis of your current cleaning system and recommendations for the best detergents for your operations. Your water source may have a specific pH that is impacting your cleaning power, and we can inspect your operations and recommend a solution for you.

Contact us today and schedule your consultation with WET.




Who Washes the Washman

Managing wastewater and runoff is critical when cleaning

Washing away dirt and grime is the main goal of any cleaning job. Whether you’re removing grease and oil from machinery, rinsing off dirt and mud from a surface, or hosing out delivery trailers or animal stalls, your Hotsy pressure washer from WET does a great job at removing all the gunk you want gone. But this dirt doesn’t just disappear into thin air – it ends up in your wash water.

Wastewater from washing is loaded with grime, particulates and other granular materials, and often detergent, which means that it needs to be properly handled to prevent contamination with local water systems or ground water. Let’s look at a few ways to make sure your wastewater ends up where it should.

Storm Drain Covers

For washing done near a municipal storm drain, employing a cover or mat can be an integral part of a wastewater solution. These devices simply lay overtop of a drain and are often held in place with blocks or other weights to ensure a stable seal. As wastewater pools, it pools around and over the drain and can be collected with a sump pump or vacuum pump.

Oil-Absorbent Mats

Another option is to use a specialized mat material that is designed to soak up harmful waste products while you work. Oil-absorbent materials are made to collect oils from water, reducing the spread of oils on a wash site. If you’ll be washing machinery or other grease- and oil-stained equipment, use these mats to help make cleaning up from cleaning up easier.

Berms

It’s also possible to surround a washing area with berms that can prevent water from flowing outside of a controlled area. This helps to collect all runoff in a single location where it can be vacuumed up and pumped into storage containers for later treatment or disposal, as appropriate. Berms can be made of a variety of materials – sand bags, 2x4’s, PVC pipes and more – and paired with tarps or other material to create a fully enclosed area for retaining wastewater.

Vacuum Boom

A vacuum boom is a great option that works on solid, flat surfaces with an incline. With a boom, you can just lay out the boom around your wash area in the direction water flows, and the boom directs and contains water, vacuuming it up through small holes at the bottom of the hose. This is a great portable solution for mobile wash units.

Small Wash Area

If you’ll be washing smaller items – parts, tools, components and other gear – you can create a small wash area with a portable containment pool or even a large drum. By localizing your washing activities to a small and confined area, you can ensure that all runoff is easily contained and not drained into sewers or other bodies of water.

Be Aware of Local Requirements

While these options are all great ways to control the collection and management of your wastewater and runoff, local requirements may be more stringent and have additional standards that must be met. At WET, we’ve worked with customers throughout the region for more than 60 years, and can help deliver a solution that works for your cleaning projects.

Manage Wastewater Effectively with WET

From runoff collection systems to wastewater treatment and recovery, WET offers solutions to help make your cleaning projects more efficient, effective and – of course – clean. Dealing with wastewater doesn’t stop at water management, and our experts can help you with wastewater treatment and recovery solutions to work smarter, not harder. To learn more, stop in and speak with a technician today or give us a call at 865-525-1515.




Wash Away Dirt and Grime in Less Time

Use Hotsy accessories to clean flat surfaces this spring

Spring is a beautiful time of year, but it’s also a dirty one. After the cold and wet winter season, spring brings more rain showers and mud – not to mention all the other sources of grime and gunk. Whether you’ve got salt and sand settled on your driveway, oil stains on the shop floor, or mud or gum caked on the sidewalk, your Hotsy pressure washer from WET can help you blast away the grime in no time. 

Specialized Nozzles

Using a specialized nozzle, you can better direct the flow of water from your pressure washer to deliver the most powerful clean. High-pressure nozzles are available in a range of configurations, allowing you to create a directional spray for washing down flat surfaces. Turbo nozzles offer even more power, combining a wide coverage pattern with the high-impact force delivered with a zero-degree nozzle.

Flat Surface Cleaner

The most effective method, however, is a flat surface cleaner. These devices attach to your pressure washer and roll over dirty surfaces. Simply squeeze the handle and wheel the flat surface cleaner over the area to clean like you would push a lawnmower. This offers the concentrated power of your pressure washer over a targeted area, washing away dirt and focusing the spray exclusively beneath the cleaner. In many cases, this specialized attachment can cut the amount of time to clean in half, saving on labor and time that could be spent on other priorities. 

See the flat surface cleaner in action in videos from Hotsy below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp9g4_l-w6I 

Defeat Dirt with Detergent

In addition to using technology, chemistry can help make cleaning more effective, too. WET offers a full range of detergent formulas that are made to help loosen and remove a full range of grime and dirt. There are a number of different options available that offer specialized capabilities. Some detergents can help eliminate grease and oil, while others are effective at eliminating odor- and disease-causing bacteria in food service and farm environments. No matter what needs to be cleaned, there’s a detergent solution. 

Get All You Need from WET

With dozens of different accessories and detergent formulas available at WET, you’re sure to find the perfect solution for any need or any application. Our team can help you pick the right products for your needs. Call us today at 865-525-1515 to discuss your cleaning projects and learn more about the different available options.