Commercial Sidewalk Setup - Upgrade

Hello everyone! My first question on here, or should I say questions… I am still a newbie when it comes to pressure washing even though we do a little bit of already for a number of years. I wanted to pick up my game for next year and upgrade my setup and would love your suggestions and help. I probably should break this up into multiple posts so forgive me if I am flooding this one post. But here goes:

We currently have a hot water machine (3.3GPM and 3500psi) and cold water machine (4GPM and 3700psi) and have been putting solution manually prior to going over it with a pressure washer.

  1. What detergent/cleaner would you use for regular city (NYC) sidewalk cleaning/maintenance – primarily dealing with gum, garbage leakage, food related spills etc. We have been using a Spartan product - Chlorinated Degreaser and for heavier restoration we dilute down Presto Restorations - Stone Restore HD. But I have a feeling I should consider switching over to some of the stuff you guys have been using instead.

  2. What would be your suggested method/product for dispensing the cleaner – downstream it? We work overnight so there is still foot traffic we have to work around. Keep it mind it is a NYC sidewalk so we can’t realistically close the sidewalk down completely… in parts possibly.

  3. What are your feelings on the rotating nozzle, or would that not be suitable for our sort of work? Maybe just the gum work?

  4. We are interested in using a surface cleaner but that would not help with gum. Has anyone custom built a gun in line that we can switch over too when we get near the gum? Or should we just make one pass for gum and then switch over to the surface cleaner and finish off that way?

I am very excited about building up thise side of the business and look forward to going after a certification or two next year. I appreciate all your help in advance!

Congratulations on picking up your game.

  1. I can’t help with cleaning solutions because the one we use isn’t available in NYC. You’ll have to try a few until you find one that does what you want.
  2. I wouldn’t downstream it in the city with foot traffic, not enough control. We use a pump up sprayer or just pour it out and spread it with a brush.
  3. Rotating nozzles work great but most gum will come up with hot water and the tip held close.
  4. We don’t use the surface cleaners on sidewalks because you have to come back and get the gum separately. It’s faster just to use the gun and get the gum at the same time.

Thank you! I agree with you. When we factor in the gum I think sticking with the gun would be best. I think it might be helpful when we have a job we do every weekday or 3 times a week. We can focus on gum 1 or 2 days of the week and then hit it with the surface cleaner the rest of the time. Maybe I am trying to reinvent the wheel here, I am just trying to pick up productivity a little.


I thought about the conversation we had and I couldn’t recall you saying anything about recovery. If you’re doing sidewalks with any kind of traffic, you should make sure you’re recovery is up to par.

We’ve had walkers stop and take pictures of us even though we always do water recovery the right way. There are more and more people who know about the need for recovery so make sure your procedure is 100%.

That is real funny. I just posted in the waste water recovery thread. We currently don’t do it, and I haven’t noticed anyone here doing it either. But I have been looking into it and am looking for suggestions.

I suggest yo use this as a chance to raise yourself above the competition. All large companies know recovery is required and you can make yourself the local go-to company. It works for us. Check the recovery information on our site.

Wash On Wheels EPA Water Recovery :: Denver Pressure Washing Service | Wash On Wheels

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Thank you so much! I am very interested in following in your steps. I know there will be a significant investment in equipment but I think it will be worth it. Is this something you can partner with your local EPA office to develop a program and/or even become a model in your city?

We were in contact with the Colorado Department of Health about training a few years ago but everything went on hold when the economy crashed.

The biggest issue is that no one entity controls water recovery procedures. If you’re going to collect the water and pump it into the sanitary sewer, then each wastewater district controls what you can put in their system, and you have to have a permit from every district. Then each city, county and state is responsible for everything else.

Jurisdictions overlap and you may have to satisfy more than one inspector at the same time. If you demonstrate that you’re doing everything you can to comply with all the regulations, the inspectors will usually work with you in the event there’s a problem.

Until they’re able to centralize control, its difficult to know who would define the right training. Right now, you just have to make sure you’re doing what is required for the district you’re working in.

Stormwater Regulations :: Denver Pressure Washing Service | Wash On Wheels

The link to stormwater regulations concerns Colorado but will give you some guidelines for what to look for in your area.

Good luck,

Wash On Wheels
Denver, Colorado
Denver Pressure Washing Service | A+ Rated Since 1985 :: Denver Pressure Washing Service | Wash On Wheels

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try a turbo nozzle for the gum.