Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking just how dirty the outside of your house can get over the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These stains can give your house 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 your house. These contaminants create allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your house.

As a professional power washing company in New Braunfels, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most popular time to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time so 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

Pressure washing used to be the only method to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners 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 a little more to it than just that. Let’s look at the features of each method to help you decide which is the right choice for your house.


The soft wash process 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 lower spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than a standard backyard lawn hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water is required. This means that soft washing should be used for more fragile surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by more powerful pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching down into small cracks to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last longer than standard power washing.


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

This particular cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to clean off stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major 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 several different materials. Home owners choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, 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 from a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are blasted from your home’s exterior surface, preventing their growth and renewing the appearance of your house.

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


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

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

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play equipment, yard equipment, shingle roofs, 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 kills organisms currently present on the exterior 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 you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water right before putting the soft wash chemicals on your house or roof, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing company in New Braunfels might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of tough stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding as well (and has been for decades) so long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does power washing often will know how to protect fragile pieces, but a amateur could do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give New Braunfels Pressure Wash Plus a call at 830-251-4255 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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