Soft Washing vs. Pressure 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 any home an unkempt, messy appearance, even though you invest time, money and care into it.

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

As a professional pressure washing company in Grand Prairie, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most common time to do an intense home 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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of getting into small cracks to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its results can last a lot longer than pressure washing.


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant plus to property owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home and business owners often choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and affordable.

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

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can damage the surfaces you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut deep grooves in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of stone or brick.


The ultimate 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 done by a professional company – and truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor toys, yard tools, roof shingles, 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 eliminates organisms currently present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for a lot longer than pressure washing can.

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plant life underneath the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before spraying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the preferred method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing company in Grand Prairie might use a mix of detergents and water pressure to remove difficult stains, but they should let you know if they will be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect fragile pieces, but a first-timer might do a lot of harm.

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

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give Grand Prairie Pressure Washing a call at 469-217-3734 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!