Soft Washing vs Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the outside of your home can get throughout the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any home an unkempt, uncared for look, regardless of if you invest a lot of time, money and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mold can be damaging to your health and your home. They create allergens that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your home.

As a professional power washing company in Smyrna, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most popular time of the year to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can do it any time as long as the weather permits.


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

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

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

Like the names imply, one method is a lot gentler than the other one, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s review the features of each method to help you decide which is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash method uses less power 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than a typical backyard garden 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 system can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help prevent further growth of these 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 should be used for more delicate surfaces that could otherwise be harmed by higher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed off, but not every time. This just depends on the type of solution is used in the process, if there’s plant or animal life that could be impacted by the runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the advantage of getting into small cracks to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last much longer than power 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 still prefer it over soft washing.

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

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners frequently prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is quick, more efficient and cost-effective.

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

One negative about power washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can damage the surfaces you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of brick or stone.


The obvious 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 truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

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

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

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plants underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water before putting the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing company in Smyrna may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to eliminate difficult stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break off fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does power washing all the time will know how to protect these areas, but a first-timer might do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Supreme Smyrna Pressure Wash a call at 678-403-6864 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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