Soft Washing vs. Presssure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is surprising how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get over the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give your home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of whether you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be destructive to both your health and to your home. They create allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing company in Pasadena, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most common time of the year to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather permits.


All of the following surfaces need to be power washed from time to time:

• Vinyl siding
• Rock and stone
• Brick
• Concrete and asphalt

Pressure washing used to be the only way to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names suggest, one method is a lot gentler than the other, but there’s a little more to it than that. Let’s go over the features of each method to help you determine which is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash system uses much less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than your backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses detergent, bleach and water in combination to eliminate organic matter from your home, roof and other outdoor surfaces. The solution used in a soft washing process can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help slow further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water is needed. This means that soft washing should be used for delicate surfaces that could otherwise be harmed by higher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed off, but not always. This just depends on what type of solution is used in the process, if there’s plant or animal life that might be impacted by the runoff, and if the chemicals are strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last much longer than traditional power washing.


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is very effective and efficient, which is why most home and business owners still prefer it over soft washing.

This cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to remove stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant plus to home and business owners that don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing requires somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out of a small nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, prohibiting their growth and renewing the appearance of your home.

One drawback to power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


The real question for most homeowners is, “Which one should I choose?”

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play equipment, yard tools, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to damage plastic and wood. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It eliminates organisms currently present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for much longer than power washing can.

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plant life underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water before spraying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Pasadena might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to remove problematic stains, but they need to tell you if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does power washing often are going to know how to protect vulnerable pieces, but a amateur could do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is definitely off limits for power washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water might damage these materials and require you to replace your home’s roof a lot earlier than expected.

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give TruClean Pressure Washing a call at 281-524-3011 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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