Cleaning Door Jambs: Can you pressure wash this vehicle area?

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When you are detailing your car, it is easy to remember to clean the outside of the car, and easy to remember to clean the inside! However most people tend to forget to clean the in between, the door jambs! Most people like to clean their door jambs with a pressure washer, but is that actually wise?

Can you pressure wash car door jambs? You can pressure wash your door jambs. As long as you have a car paint safe pressure washer (not too much psi) you will have no problem on the paint side. As long as you use the pressure washer at a steep angle, you likely won’t get any water into the interior of the vehicle while doing it.

Best practices for pressure washing your door jambs

Pressure washing is actually one of the best ways to clean out your door jambs, and even rear hatch jams on SUVs (also floor mats). It is quick, effective, and means more time to clean other parts of the vehicle. That said, here are the things you need to be keeping in mind when pressure washing out those areas.

1. Use the washer at a steep angle

The main reason why most people will find that they are getting water into the interior of their vehicle with a pressure washer, is because they are aiming directly onto the door jams! This causes the water to splatter out from the impact point and go everywhere.

Instead, if you keep the pressure washer at a steep angle to the paint and bodywork, you will find that you are able to direction the water flow away from the interior of your vehicle.

This allows you to get as close, or as far away from the vehicle as you would want, which means a cleaner and more precise detail.

2. Keep at a lower PSI

As we will learn a bit later in this article, paint is actually thinner in the door jambs of a vehicle! This means you need to be extra careful to not over-do the pressure washer and use too high of PSI on this area. Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend anything more than 1500-1900 PSI (like this budget friendly option here) in this area.

This lower pressure will also allow for less splatter of water and grime, and leave your vehicle cleaner with a more manageable water flow.

3. Use a boars hair brush

If you are finding that you need to get into an area with your pressure washer that is difficult to get to, and likes to splatter water everywhere such as in the hinge area of the door, you might want to think about using a horse hair brush beforehand.

These boars brushes (like this set here) will easily dislodge any built up dirt that has worked its way into these areas. Once you do this, you can then quickly pressure wash away the dirt, instead of spending so much time on it with the pressure washer that it makes a mess.

Alternatives to pressure washing for cleaning your door jambs

If you aren’t quite comfortable with pressure washing your door jambs, or you just don’t have a pressure washer at all, there is another great way to clean your door jambs below!

All Purpose Cleaner, Brush and a Spray Bottle

This is by far one of the best ways to manually clean your door jambs if a pressure washer is not right for you! Essentially you will take all purpose cleaner (something like this Meguiars version) that is diluted down, spray it on all of the dirty components of your door jamb and let it sit for a moment.

Then you will take your boars hair brush (here’s a link to my favorite ones here again) and agitate up all of the different areas that need cleaning! Once this is done, you will wash it away with a solid stream from your spray bottle.

Just make sure during this process that you have plenty of all purpose cleaner on the surface, and nothing is dry! The cleaner acts as a lubricant and keeps the dirt that is being agitated from scratching the surface.

Should you prepare the door jamb with any cleaner?

Regardless of how you clean your vehicle’s door jambs, it is best practice to prepare the door jamb with some degreaser! Grease likes to build up on the hinge side of the door jambs, as there is plenty of grease there to allow for easy functionality, and to keep it from squeaking.

Quickly spraying down the door jambs with a good automative degreaser before starting the detail will make the job considerably easier in this area! This is something most all purpose cleaners aren’t able to get quite as well, so it always helps to prepare the area

Should you do anything after cleaning the door jambs?

If you want to keep your door jambs looking nice, I highly recommend adding a ceramic coating to the flat surfaces of your door jambs! This coating will help keep your door jambs free from grease, grime, and dirt for a long period of time. This one right here should do just fine on a budget!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do car detailers use a pressure washer?

Most professional detailers actually do use a pressure washer to clean their door jambs! This tool speeds up the job, and is actually quite effective in getting things clean without damaging any paint.

What is a safe psi for car wash?

Generally speaking, you will want to keep the PSI of a pressure washer down to around 1500 – 1900 psi. This is enough to wash away any debris, but not enough that you will cause any paint chips.

Is car paint thinner on door jambs?

Due to the fact that door jambs are not regularly inspected, and are not open to the environment, paint is actually thinner in these areas! This is a cost cutting measure from the manufacturer.


So there you have it! Pressure washing the door jambs on your car is not only possible, but is actually the preferred method. As long as you keep the pressure washer at an angle, and position it to spray outside of the vehicle, instead of in, you should be able to keep your car clean from water and grime at the same time.