Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is surprising just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get throughout the course of 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, uncared for look, regardless of if you invest time and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be harmful to your health and to your home. They produce allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

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


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

As the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other one, but there’s more to it than just that. Let’s cover the features of each method to help you judge which one is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash method uses much less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lower spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than your standard backyard garden hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of detergent, bleach and water in combination to remove organic matter 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 slow further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

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

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into cracks to eliminate unseen organisms, meaning that its impact can last a lot longer than pressure washing.


Pressure washing has long 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 over soft washing.

This cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a significant advantage to home and business owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

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

Pressure washing needs anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials 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 can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


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, as well as 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 perfect for outdoor play sets, gardening equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to harm plastic and wood. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It removes organisms that are present on the surface, and it stops future growth for a lot longer than pressure washing can.

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plant life under the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water right before putting the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Greenville may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to remove difficult stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for several years) so long as it is done correctly. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A company that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a amateur can do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give Greenville Pressure Washing a call at 864-453-8995 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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