Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing 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 things can give your home an unkempt, messy look, even though you invest time, money and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be damaging to your health and to your home. They create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in The Woodlands, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most common time to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather allows.


All of the following 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 surfaces. Now, homeowners in The Woodlands have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash process 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 lighter spray is produced from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than a backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of soap, bleach and water in some combination to remove organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other outdoor surfaces. The cleaning mixture used in a soft washing system can include algaecides and residual inhibitors which will deter further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is required. This means that soft washing can be used for fragile surfaces that would otherwise be harmed by higher pressure washing.

The soft wash solution is sometimes rinsed off, but not always. This just depends on the type of solution is used in the process, if there’s 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 offers the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last longer than traditional pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mold from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant advantage to home owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

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

Pressure washing needs anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out from a small nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, prohibiting their growth and renewing the appearance of your home.

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks 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, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor toys, gardening equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to damage wood and plastic. It’s also a safe choice for vinyl siding.

It eliminates organisms currently present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for longer than pressure washing can.

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

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial properties. A local pressure washing service in The Woodlands may use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to remove problematic stains, but they should tell you if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can be used for siding as well (and has been for decades) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect fragile pieces, but a DIYer could 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 extreme pressure of the water could damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof much earlier than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Woodlands Pressure Wash Plus a call at 281-524-2553 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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