Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing 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 will give any house an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest a lot of time and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be destructive to both your health and your house. These contaminants produce allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your house.

As a professional pressure washing service in Quincy, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is typically the most common time of the year to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time as long as the weather allows.


All of the following home 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 way to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash method uses much less pressure 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than a backyard hose.

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

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are responsible for cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is necessary. This means that soft washing should be used for fragile surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching down into small cracks to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last longer than pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and fast, which is why a lot of home and business owners prefer it.

This cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to eliminate stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a significant advantage to property owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on many different materials. Home and business owners frequently prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing needs 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 materials are blasted from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and renewing the appearance of your house.

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can damage 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 brick or stone.


The real question for 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 cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

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

It eliminates organisms that are present on the surface, and it stops future growth for longer than pressure 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 putting the soft wash chemicals on your house or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the recommended method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial properties. A local pressure washing service in Quincy might use a mix of detergents and water pressure to get rid of problematic stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often will know how to protect these areas, but a first-timer can do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your house? Give Quincy Pressure Washing a call at 781-208-5981 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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