Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and to your house. These contaminants 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 house.

As a professional pressure washing service in Escondido, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is typically the most popular time to do an intense home cleaning, but you can really do it any time so 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

Power washing used to be the only option to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Escondido have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names imply, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s a little 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 process uses less pressure 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than your backyard lawn hose.

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

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are responsible for cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that might otherwise be harmed by harsher pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last longer than traditional pressure washing.


Pressure washing has long been the standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and quick, which is why a lot of home and business owners still prefer it.

This particular cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big plus to home 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 a lot of different materials. Home and business owners prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing requires anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a small nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the curb appeal 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 want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


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

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 – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

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

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

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

Pressure washing is the best method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Escondido might use a mix of detergents and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they should tell you if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for several years) so long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can break weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A company that does pressure washing often will know how to protect these areas, but a amateur might do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water will likely damage 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 pressure washing service. Which method is right for your house? Give Escondido Pressure Washing a call at 760-280-9630 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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