Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just 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 things can give any house an unkempt, messy appearance, regardless of whether you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mold can be harmful to both your health and your house. They produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your house.

As a professional power washing company in Augusta, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is the most common time of the year to do an extreme home exterior cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


All of the following home surfaces need to be cleaned 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 home surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system uses less power 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 a little more powerful than your standard backyard hose.

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

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are responsible for cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water is required. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its impact can last a lot longer than standard power washing.


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

This particular cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big advantage to home owners that don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home owners frequently choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing uses anywhere 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 curb appeal of your house.

One drawback to power washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can damage the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to cut 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 choices for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

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

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

Pressure washing is the preferred method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial properties. A local pressure washing company in Augusta might use a combination of detergents and water pressure to get rid of tough stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can be used for siding as well (and has been for decades) so long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break off fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A local company that does power washing often will know how to protect these pieces, but a DIYer 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 pressure of the water might damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof a lot faster than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give GLO Augusta Pressure Washing a call at 706-365-0721 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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