Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just how dirty the outside of your home can get throughout a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains will give any home an unkempt, messy look, even though you invest a lot of time and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to both your health and to your home. They create allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing service in Davie, we recommend that 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 exterior cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather permits.


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

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

Pressure washing used to be the only way to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names suggest, 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 determine which one is best for your home.


The soft wash method 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 a standard backyard garden hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for more fragile surfaces that could otherwise be harmed by more powerful pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of reaching into cracks to eliminate unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last much longer than power washing.


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, 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 environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

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

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out from a small nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, preventing their growth and renewing the curb appeal of your home.

One negative about power 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 into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off chunks of stone or brick.


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

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 company – and truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play equipment, yard 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 eliminates organisms currently present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for much longer than power 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 applying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the best choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Davie might use a mix of detergents and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A local service that does power washing often will know how to protect fragile pieces, but a amateur could do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is definitely off limits for power washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water will likely damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof much earlier than expected.

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Davie Pressure Washing a call at 954-231-2456 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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