Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the exterior of your home can get throughout the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give your home an unkempt, messy look, even though you invest time and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be destructive to both your health and your home. These contaminants create allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing service in High Point, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most popular time of the year to do an intense home washing, but you can really do it any time as long as the weather permits.


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

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


The soft wash process uses 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 created from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than a backyard hose.

Soft washing uses detergent, bleach and water in combination to get rid of organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other exterior surfaces. The solution used in a soft washing system can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop 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 needed. This means that soft washing can be used for more fragile surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its impact can last much longer than standard power washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big plus to home owners who don’t want to use chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

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

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

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


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is great for outdoor toys, gardening 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 currently present on the surface, and it stops future growth for much longer than power washing can.

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plants underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before applying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the best choice for severe stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in High Point might use a combination of detergents and water pressure to remove difficult stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break weak or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does power washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a amateur could do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give High Point Pressure Washing a call at 336-360-3771 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

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