Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking just how dirty the exterior of your house can get throughout the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give any house an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of if you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be damaging to both your health and your house. They produce allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your house.

As a professional power washing company in Philadelphia, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is typically the most common time to do an intense home exterior cleaning, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather allows.


All of the following 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 option to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing,” says Maryland Pro Wash, a power washing company in York, PA just down the road.

Like 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 cover the features of each to help you decide which one is best for your house.


The soft wash method uses much less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lower spray is produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than your backyard hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for more fragile surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of getting down into small cracks to eliminate unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last longer than traditional power washing.


Pressure washing has long been the standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is very effective and fast, which is why a lot of home and business owners still prefer it over soft washing.

This particular cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to remove stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big advantage to property 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 choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is quick, more efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing needs somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, preventing their growth and restoring the appearance of your house.

One drawback to power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong 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 choices for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional company – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play sets, yard tools, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to harm wood and plastic. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It removes organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for 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 won’t be an issue.

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 properties. A professional pressure washing company in Philadelphia may use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate difficult 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 several years) as long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can break off weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A company that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect weak areas, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is off limits for power washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The extreme pressure of the water could damage these materials and require you to replace your home’s roof far sooner than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give AllPro Philadelphia Pressure Washing a call at 267-263-7362 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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