In some cases, washing your home with a high-pressure hose can actually cause illness. It’s usually a rare occurrence, but it does happen when someone is using an old or defective pressure washer. The risk is higher if you’re washing any sort of tile, slate or marble — all picked surfaces that are more likely to be slippery than smooth.
There are two main causes of Sickness after pressure washing: exposure to toxic chemicals and microorganisms (like bacteria) in the water. The latter can be caused by improper cleaning, mislabeling of the product or even inadequate labeling in general. Many companies don’t provide adequate warning labels on their products, and they may not list the ingredients in the product at all.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your backyard pressure wash, remember that it’s best to use common sense and do your research before hiring anyone to wash your house. If you have any doubts about the quality of the product or its safety, don’t use it. Some states have regulations regarding how much information must be included on a pressure washer label; be sure to check yours for further details.
Health Risks Associated with Pressure Washing
You’ve probably heard that pressure washing can be dangerous to your health and is a potential cause of respiratory disease, but it’s difficult to know whether or not you’re at risk.
The American Lung Association lists some common concerns about pressure washing:
- Respiratory irritation. This can happen when the water’s pH level is too high, which is common with hard-water areas. Water that’s too alkaline can irritate the mucous membranes of your nose or throat, which increases your risk of a sinus infection or other infections like pneumonia. As always, you should wear rubber gloves and goggles when handling pressure washers to avoid contact with acidic water.
- Coughing and wheezing. As with other forms of cleaning, people who clean up chemicals on site are at risk for inhaling them as they work. And because air pollution in cities has gotten worse over the years, you are also exposed to more pollutants than ever before. This means the lungs are exposed to more contaminants — both in terms of what’s in the air and what’s in the water.
- Skin irritation. Some people have reactions to chemical compounds found in detergents used for pressure washing. A lot of these are related to allergies and sensitivities so extreme that they might need to visit health facilities for neutralization of the toxins in their blood streams.
- You can get sick even if you don’t touch the floor. The problem here is that the Pressure is on the person doing the cleaning. If they’re not wearing gloves, they’re not washing their hands after each task and they don’t wash their face or hair afterward, then they’re at risk of contracting a disease from a customer or host.
In many cases, this isn’t as big a risk as it sounds. But illness can pop up for any number of reasons. In one case, a woman came to work with her husband and found her throat closing up from the dust she was breathing in. She later tested positive for tuberculosis.
You should be careful when using the pressure washer. You should not leave it under the management of minors when you are not around to oversee. Visit Giraffetools collections for a deeper guide on the health risks associated with pressure washers.