Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s shocking how dirty the exterior of your house can get over the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any house an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest time and maintenance into it.

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

As a professional pressure washing company in Georgetown, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is the most common time of the year to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time throughout the year 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 option to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system uses less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lower spray is produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than your typical backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of soap, bleach and water in combination to remove organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other surfaces. The mixture 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 key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that would otherwise be harmed by higher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes rinsed off, but not every 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 solution runoff, and if the chemicals are strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching into cracks and crevices to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than standard pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the gold standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is very effective and efficient, which is why most home and business owners prefer it.

This cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a significant plus to property owners that 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 frequently choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is fast, efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing needs anywhere 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 sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, preventing their growth and renewing the appearance of your house.

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


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good choices for your home’s exterior, as well as 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 great for outdoor toys, gardening equipment, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to damage 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 a lot longer than pressure washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the best choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Georgetown might use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf difficult stains, but they need to let you know if they will be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) so long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a DIYer might do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give GTX Georgetown Pressure Washing a call at 512-559-118 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!