It was an organic process. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a dermatologist named Sandra Lee who treated skin conditions on YouTube under the name Dr. Pimple Popper. I had no idea what a huge sensation she would go on to be, but I did know that, for some reason, watching her extract blackheads and leave behind clear skin was strangely soothing to me. For a long time, I watched her channel and others like it while I was winding down at night, much to my husband’s utter befuddlement.
Then I got pregnant last summer, and suddenly I did not have the stomach for my guilty pleasure. Even the thought of watching blackhead extractions was enough to send me running to the nearest commode.
Unwilling to give up my nightly relaxation sesh, I started to seek out other kinds of satisfying videos. I tried to turn to the makeup artists that I used to love, but as a busy mom with literally five minutes a day to dedicate to my face, I found them exhausting. These whippersnappers are using more than one type of under eye concealer and fifteen dedicated brushes. I’m lucky to start with a clean face.
I don’t remember how it happened, but one afternoon, I stumbled upon a video of an art conservator cleaning and restoring an old painting. This second-generation conservator uses tiny cotton swabs and highly specialized solvents to clean and restore works of art that have been neglected or seen better days. It’s fascinating. After voraciously consuming all the art restoration content I could get my hands on, I looked up “satisfying cleaning videos,” hoping for more of the gratification I felt watching old varnish melt off the faces of 150-year-old portraits.
I started out watching a channel dedicated to car detailing, but the sparkling after photos made me feel kind of bad about the lack of frequency with which I clean the rolling dumpster that is my minivan.
Then it happened. I stumbled upon my true love, and I’ve never gone back.
Power washing videos.
Oh, sweet baby Jesus, give me all the power washing videos.
When I see a green algae-covered wooden fence restored to its former glory with a concentrated stream of water, it makes me feel all tingly.
A formerly black, filthy driveway glistening white in the sun? DELISH.
I’ve watched some guy power wash the cab of his semi-truck more times than I care to admit to you here.
I’m a mom of three. Everything in my house is subject to becoming gross or broken or stained every single day. I never know the new ways my kids will invent to ruin things. One of my sons finger-painted on a wall with a banana recently, and I didn’t see it until it was dry. That was shockingly difficult to remove.
So, is it any wonder that watching grime melt away before my eyes has become somewhat of a fantasy for me?
This particular obsession has also crept into our real life. My husband bought a pressure washer recently to clean the front of our house. He had barely fired up the machine before I was flying outside with my shoes in my hand, begging to take over. My family sat on the front porch staring at me with a mix of awe and concern on their faces, as I washed every surface I could get my wand to reach.
It was glorious, but power washing in real life is messy and wet. It’s seven billion degrees outside here, and I’m prone to sunburn. Power washing my house? That’s a once-in-a-while-pleasure.
Power washing videos still have my heart.
And I am by no means alone in this obsession.
YouTube is full of these videos. Some people prefer compilations, so they are abundant. If you have a short attention span or you’re not sure if this is going to be your thing, check one of those out.
I like full videos. For me, the process is the soothing part. I have watched so many giant area rugs transformed from foul to fabulous that I have lost count.
It’s not just YouTube, either! There is a whole entire Subreddit dedicated to power washing porn. I still have never figured out Twitter, and I am barely squeaking by on Instagram. I certainly don’t know how to participate on Reddit. But I still managed to find my way over there just for the videos and the links. Even the before-and-after photos make my heart sing. So much grime melted away. So many dirty things returned to clean and shiny. Ahhh…
If that’s not enough for you, you can check out the subreddit dedicated to power washing art. You would not believe some of the amazing stuff people make by selectively cleaning the dirt off of grubby objects or filthy sidewalks. When we aren’t too busy arguing over whether or not we should wear a mask and stay home during a pandemic, people really are capable of the most incredible things.
You can even search #powerwashing on TikTok and find some pretty great content. (And also a lot of weird stuff. I think I’m too old for TikTok, but I’m hanging in there.)
I don’t know who first thought of whipping out a camera while they were cleaning some weird mold off the outside of a building, but I’d like to shake their hand or kiss them right on the face. It’s the guilty pleasure I never knew I always needed.
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