Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the outside of your house can get over a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give your house an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest time and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to both your health and your house. They produce allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your house.

As a professional power washing company in Arlington, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most common time to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


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

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

Power washing used to be the only way to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s a little more to it than that. Let’s cover the features of each method to help you judge which one is best for your house.


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

Soft washing uses soap, bleach and water in combination to remove organic matter from your home, roof and other exterior surfaces. The cleaning solution used in a soft washing system can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes cleaned off, but not every time. This just depends on what type of chemicals are used in the process, if there is plant or animal life that can be affected by the runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to eliminate unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than traditional power washing.


Pressure washing has long been the standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and fast, which is why most home and business owners prefer it over soft washing.

This cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and mold from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big advantage to home and business owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home and business owners frequently choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out of a small nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials are sprayed from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the appearance of your house.

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


The obvious question for homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be performed by a professional – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, yard equipment, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to harm plastic and wood. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It removes organisms that are present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for a lot longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the preferred method for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Arlington might use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf problematic stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for decades) so long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break fragile or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a first-timer could do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give AllClean Arlington Pressure Wash a call at 817-242-9227 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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