Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing how dirty the outside of your home can get over a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give your home an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest time, money and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and to your home. These contaminants create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing company in Akron, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most popular time of the year to do an extreme home cleaning, but you can do it any time so long as the weather allows.


All of the following surfaces need to be cleaned from time to time:

• Vinyl siding
• Rock and stone
• Brick
• Concrete and asphalt

Pressure washing used to be the only option to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system 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 lighter spray is generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than your standard backyard hose.

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

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

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’s plant or animal life that might be affected by the solution runoff, and if the chemicals are strong enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last 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 most home and business owners still prefer it over soft washing.

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free 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.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing requires somewhere 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 blasted from your home’s surface, stopping their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

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


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good choices for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be performed by a professional – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

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

It kills organisms that are present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is considered the best method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing company in Akron may use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate difficult stains, but they should let you know if they will be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for several years) so long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can damage weak or small 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 definitely off limits for power washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water could ruin 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 pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Akron Pressure Washing a call at 330-237-4828 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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