Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is amazing how dirty the outside of your home can get throughout the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These stains can give any home an unkempt, messy look, regardless of whether you invest time, money and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to both your health and to your home. These contaminants create allergens that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Alhambra, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is typically the most popular time to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather permits.


All of the following home surfaces need to be cleaned 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 siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Alhambra have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s go over the features of each to help you judge which is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash system uses much less pressure 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 slightly more powerful than a typical backyard hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks to kill even unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last longer than standard pressure washing.


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

This particular cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to eliminate stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major 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 many different materials. Home owners choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and affordable.

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

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good choices for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both 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 sets, 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 choice for vinyl siding.

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

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

Pressure washing is considered the recommended method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Alhambra might use a combination of detergents and water pressure to eliminate difficult stains, but they should let you know if they will be spraying chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these areas, but a amateur could do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Alhambra Pressure Washing a call at 626-382-7163 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button