Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the outside of your house can get during the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any house an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of whether you invest time, money and care into it.

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

As a professional power washing service in Gilbert, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most common time of the year to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year 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

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

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


The soft wash system 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 lighter spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than your standard backyard garden hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of reaching down into small cracks and crevices to kill unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last much longer than traditional power washing.


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

This particular cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to eliminate stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a significant plus 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 several different materials. Home owners prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is fast, more efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing requires somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out of a small nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic materials are blasted from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the curb appeal of your house.

One negative about power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of brick or stone.


The obvious question for homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good choices 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 equipment, gardening equipment, roof shingles, 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 removes organisms currently present on the surface, and it stops future growth for much longer than power washing can.

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plants under the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water before spraying the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it probably won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Gilbert may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to clean offf tough stains, but they need to tell you if they will be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can break off fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A local service that does power washing often are going to know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a first-timer might 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 pressure of the water will likely damage these materials and require you to replace your home’s roof much earlier than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your house? Give Gilbert Pressure Washing a call at 480-618-1664 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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