Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give any home an unkempt, messy look, even though you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mildew can be damaging to both your health and your home. They produce allergens that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing company in Sugar Land, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is the most common time to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather permits.


All of the following home surfaces need to be pressure washed from time to time:

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

Power washing used to be the only option to thoroughly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have another 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 just that. Let’s cover the features of each method to help you decide which one is best for your home.


The soft wash method uses less pressure 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than a standard backyard hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of soap, bleach and water in some combination to get rid of organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other exterior surfaces. The mixture used in a soft washing system can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop 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 needed. This means that soft washing should be used for more fragile surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

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

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


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major advantage to home owners that don’t want to use chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

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

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out of a tiny nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, preventing their growth and restoring the curb appeal of your home.

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


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 cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

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

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plant life underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water before spraying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the preferred method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Sugar Land might use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of problematic stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break off fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these areas, but a first-timer can do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give Supreme Sugar Land Pressure Washing a call at 281-524-2661 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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