Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s shocking how dirty the exterior of your home can get over a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains will give your home an unkempt, messy look, regardless of if you invest a lot of time and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be destructive to both your health and your home. These contaminants produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing service in Peoria, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is the most popular time to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather allows.


All of the following surfaces need to be power 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 surfaces. Now, homeowners in Peoria have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names imply, one method is much 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 judge which one is best for your home.


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

Soft washing uses a mixture of soap, bleach and water in combination to eliminate organic matter from your home, roof and other surfaces. The cleaning solution used in a soft washing process 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 needed. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into cracks and crevices to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last much longer than standard power washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and mold from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant plus to home and business owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on several different materials. Home and business owners choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

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

One negative about power 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 strong enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off chunks of stone or brick.


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

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 done by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor toys, yard tools, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to damage plastic and wood. It’s also a safe choice for vinyl siding.

It removes organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for much longer than power washing can.

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plant life under 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 considered the recommended method for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Peoria might use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they should let you know if they will be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can be used for siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done correctly. High water pressure can break off fragile or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect fragile areas, but a amateur could do a lot of damage.

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Peoria Pressure Washing a call at 623-246-7384 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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