Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

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

As a professional power washing company in Tamarac, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is typically the most popular time of the year to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can do it any time as long as the weather allows.


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

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

Power washing used to be the only way to thoroughly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


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

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

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

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting into cracks to kill even unseen bacteria, meaning that its results can last much longer than power washing.


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

This cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant advantage to property owners that don’t want to use chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home owners prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, efficient and affordable.

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 stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, stopping their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

One negative about power 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 strong enough to cut deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


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

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 performed by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor toys, yard equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to damage wood and plastic. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

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

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plants underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before spraying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial properties. A local pressure washing company in Tamarac might use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to remove tough stains, but they should let you know if they will be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used for siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can damage weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect these areas, but a DIYer could do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Tamarac Pressure Washing a call at 954-231-0954 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button