Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is surprising how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give any home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of if you invest a lot of time and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mold can be damaging to your health and to your home. These contaminants produce 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 your home.

As a professional power washing company in Franklin, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most popular time to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time as long as the weather permits.


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 way to thoroughly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash method uses much 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than a standard backyard garden hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of soap, bleach and water in some combination to remove organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other outdoor surfaces. The mixture used in a soft washing process can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop further growth of these types of 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 fragile surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing offers the advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last a lot longer than traditional power washing.


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big plus to home and business owners who don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is fast, efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing uses anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out of a tiny nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic materials are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, stopping their growth and renewing the appearance of your home.

One drawback to 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 powerful enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


The real question for 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 of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

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

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

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

Pressure washing is considered the preferred method for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Franklin may use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf problematic stains, but they need to tell you if they are going to be using chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break off weak or smaller pieces of vinyl. A company that does power washing all the time will know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a amateur can do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give AllPro Franklin Pressure Washing a call at 615-880-9983 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

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