Soft Washing vs Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get over the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any home an unkempt, messy appearance, regardless of whether you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be damaging to your health and to your home. These contaminants create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing company in Cleveland, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most common time of the year to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can do it any time as long as the weather permits.


All of the following surfaces need to be cleaned from time to time:

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

Pressure washing used to be the only method to thoroughly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners in Cleveland have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names imply, one method is a lot gentler than the other one, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s look at the features of each to help you determine which one 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 used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than a standard backyard hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its results can last longer than standard pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is highly effective and efficient, which is why many home and business owners prefer it.

This cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to clean off stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major plus to home and business owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on several different materials. Home owners frequently choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing requires anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out of a small nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials 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 lead to damaging the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put deep grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor toys, yard equipment, roof shingles, 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 currently present on the exterior surface, and it prevents 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 with water before applying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the best choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred process for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Cleveland may use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they should let you know if they will be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used on siding as well (and has been for decades) as long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can damage fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a amateur might 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 extreme pressure of the water can damage these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof a lot earlier than expected.

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Cleveland Pressure Washing a call at 216-238-5239 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button