Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your house can get during a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These stains will give your house an unkempt, messy appearance, regardless of whether you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

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

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


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 siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

As the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other one, but there’s more to it than just that. Let’s go over the features of each method to help you decide which one is best for your house.


The soft wash system 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 lighter spray is generated from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than a standard backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of detergent, bleach and water in combination to get rid of organic matter from your home, roof and other surfaces. The cleaning mixture used in a soft washing process can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help deter further growth of these organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water pressure is required. This means that soft washing should be used for more delicate surfaces that would otherwise be harmed by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting down into cracks and crevices to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than standard power washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big advantage to home and business owners who 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 several different materials. Home owners often prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, more efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing requires somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are blasted from your home’s surface, preventing their growth and renewing the appearance of your house.

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 powerful enough to put grooves into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


The obvious question for most homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

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 performed by a professional company – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is great for outdoor play equipment, yard equipment, shingle roofs, 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 surface, and it stops future growth for a lot longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is considered the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Irving may use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to remove difficult stains, but they should let you know if they will be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break off weak or smaller pieces of vinyl. A local company that does power washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a DIYer could do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between soft washing or power washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give Irving Pressure Washing a call at 214-393-6643 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!