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Pressure Washing Terminology and Jargon

The world of pressure washing is quite the daunting place, especially with all of the abbreviations being used. Pressure washing terminology can be a bit of a mine field and you may find yourself asking what certain things mean. That’s where we come in! We are here to help, many things have several names but using the list below will help you navigate the choppy seas of pressure washing terminology.

pressure washing jargon and terminology
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Here is a list of common Pressure Washing Terminology

  • 12v – 12 Volts, normally produced by batteries for electric starts and softwash pumps.

  • 240v – 240 Volts, a UK mains voltage, many household and hot water machines use this power.

  • 2SC  – 2 Wire Compact Hose, specifically high pressure hose for hydraulics and pressure washing.

  • BAR  – A metric unit of pressure, it is used to indicate the output of a pressure washer.

  • Belt Driven – This refers to a drive belt fitted in between the pump and pressure washer engine. Helping reduce load on the engine.

  • BSP British Standard Pipe is a common thread form, especially in hydraulics and fluid distribution.

  • Carrier – Also known as a Female for quick releases, this is the carrying side of a quick release set. They commonly have a collar which is pulled back to fit the male/probe side.

  • Courier – A delivery service.

  • Diaphragm Pump – A type of pump that uses a flexible diaphragm to move fluid in and out of it’s housing. They are commonly used for fluid distribution including chemicals.

  • Electric Start – A method of starting an engine, using a key.

  • Female – Also known as a carrier for quick releases. This term is used for the carrying side of a quick release. It also the name of the internal thread of a pipe fitting.

  • Flow Rate – The amount of fluid (water) leaving your machine in a certain timeframe.


  • Gearbox – A gearbox fitted in between the engine and pump helps reduce load on the engine.

  • Hypo – Sodium Hypochlorite, a corrosive chemical used in the cleaning industry.

  • Jet – Water leaving an orifice under pressure.

  • Lance – A tool used to apply a jet of water to a surface. Normally a high pressure tube with a trigger at one end and a jet at the other.

  • LPM Litres Per Minute is a measurement of flowrate, this is a good indicator of cleaning speed.

  • M22 Metric 22mm is a thread commonly used on pressure washers, they are designed to be hand tightened. Often having a black ‘cuff’ on the female side.

  • Male – Also known as a probe for quick releases, this term is used for the spigot side of a quick release and is also the name of the external thread of a pipe fitting.

  • MIDI Middle Quick Release, the term used for a style of high pressure quick release, not as large as a TEMA and not as small as a MINI.

  • MINI – Mini Quick Release, the term used for a style of high pressure quick release, often used on the end of a lance to house quick release fan jets, they are one of the smallest quick releases you will come across.



  • O-Ring – A rubber collar used for sealing two surfaces.

  • One Wire – This refers to a type of high pressure hose, consisting of 1 wire wrapped in a helix inside the wall of the hose to allow it to hold high pressures. One wire hose is generally lighter that its two-wire counterpart.

  • Probe – Also known as a Male for quick releases, this is the spigot side of a quick release set.

  • PSI Pounds Per Inch are an imperial unit of measuring pressure.

  • PTO Power Take Off – Using the power from an existing engine, these can be fitted with a pressure washer pump. Normally found on tractors and plant/agricultural machinery.

  • Pump – A pump is a mechanical device fitted to all pressure washers, they provide the pressure needed for cleaning. Normally ran from either an engine, PTO or electric motor.

  • Quick Release – A coupling found on both high and low pressure hoses, triggers and lances. They enable a quick fitting and removal without the use of tools.

  • Recoil Start – A method of starting a petrol or diesel engine, pulling the recoil cord cranks the engine and starts combustion.


  • Roller Pump – A type of pump, popular in agriculture, designed to work well with chemicals, it receives fluid which is moved by the internal rollers and is then ejected under pressure.

  • SDS – Safety Data Sheets are documents which display the properties, health and environmental hazards of it’s respective chemical. 

  • Skid Mount – A term used for a pressure washer that is mounted onto a fabricated place rather than a mobile trolley, they are static (they do not move).

  • Softwash – A popular term used for exterior cleaning using low pressure chemical application.

  • Steam Clean – Often referred to as “super heated water cleaning”, this is a method of cleaning using low pressure and high temperatures. Popular for roof cleaning, paint removal and stone restoration.

  • TEMA – The term used for a style of quick release coupling, very common on petrol and diesel pressure washers, the probe measures 19.9mm on the outside diameter.

  • Trolley – A frame for a pressure washer or hose reel which is mobile.

  • Turbo Nozzle – A type of nozzle which uses a zero degree fan jet, spinning rapidly, to create fast and powerful cleaning.

  • Two Wire – This refers to a type of high pressure hose, consisting of 2 wires wrapped in a helix inside the wall of the hose to allow it to hold high pressures. Two wire can generally operate at higher pressures than one/single wire.

  • VarioA term used by Suttner, meaning variable, commonly used for adjustable nozzles and flow rate controllers.

  • WFP Water Fed Poles are light weight, telescopic poles used widely for window cleaning, they can be converted into high pressure poles for use with a nozzle/small fsc and pressure washer for roof and high reach cleaning.

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