Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be harmful to your health and your home. These contaminants create 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 into your home.

As a professional power washing service in Pearland, 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 do it any time so 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

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

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


The soft wash method uses much less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure used 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 lawn hose.

Soft washing uses detergent, bleach and water in combination to remove organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other outdoor surfaces. The solution used in a soft washing system can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help prevent 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 should be used for more delicate surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes rinsed 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 impacted by the solution runoff, and if the solution itself is strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the advantage of getting into cracks and crevices to kill even unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last much longer than traditional power washing.


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

This cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to eliminate stains and mold from 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.

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home owners frequently choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, more efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out of a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the curb appeal 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’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push 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 methods 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 correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, yard tools, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to damage wood and plastic. It’s also a safe choice for vinyl siding.

It removes organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for much 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 with water before spraying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the recommended method for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial properties. A local pressure washing service in Pearland may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can be used for siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break off fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does power washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a first-timer might do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give PRO Pearland Pressure Washing a call at 832-345-3433 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!