Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is amazing how dirty the outside of your house can get throughout a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains will give any house an unkempt, messy appearance, even though you invest time and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and to your house. These contaminants produce allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your house.

As a professional pressure washing service in Rancho Cordova , we recommend that 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 cleaning, but you can do it any time as long as the weather permits.


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

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

Pressure washing used to be the only method to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash process uses much less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure 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 your backyard hose.

Soft washing uses soap, bleach and water in combination to get rid of organic matter from your home, roof and other exterior surfaces. The cleaning mixture used in a soft washing process can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors which will prevent 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 necessary. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by more powerful pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes rinsed off, but not every time. This just depends on the type of solution is used, if there is plant or animal life that might be impacted by the solution runoff, and if the chemicals are powerful enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the advantage of getting into cracks to eliminate unseen bacteria, meaning that its results can last much longer than standard pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to clean off stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major advantage to property owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on several different materials. Home owners choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out from a small nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are blasted from your home’s exterior surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the appearance of your house.

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and can damage the surfaces of your home you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


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, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play equipment, gardening equipment, roof shingles, 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 currently present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for much longer than pressure washing can.

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plant life under the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water before applying the soft wash chemicals on your house or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the recommended method for severe stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Rancho Cordova might use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate difficult stains, but they need to tell you if they will be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used for siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can damage fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A service that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect fragile pieces, but a first-timer might do a lot of damage.

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

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your house? Give Rancho Cordova Pressure Washing a call at 916-269-1887 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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