Soft Washing vs Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give any home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest time and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be destructive to both your health and your home. These contaminants produce allergens that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Marietta, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is typically the most popular time of the year to do an extreme home exterior cleaning, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather permits.


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

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

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

As the names imply, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s more to it than just that. Let’s review the features of each to help you decide which is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash method uses less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lower spray is produced from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than your backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of detergent, bleach and water in combination to get rid of organic matter from your home, roof and other surfaces. The mixture used in a soft washing system can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing should be used for more delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of reaching down into cracks to kill unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last longer than pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the gold standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and quick, which is why many home and business owners prefer it over soft washing.

This particular cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big advantage 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 many different materials. Home and business owners often choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, more efficient and cost-effective.

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

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can harm the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


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

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

Soft washing is great for outdoor toys, gardening tools, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to harm wood and plastic. It’s also a safe choice for vinyl siding.

It kills organisms currently present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for longer than pressure washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the best choice for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Marietta might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of problematic stains, but they should let you know if they will be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can damage weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing all the time will know how to protect weak pieces, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

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

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give PRO Marietta Pressure Wash a call at 770-626-4116 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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