Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s shocking just how dirty the outside of your house can get throughout a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give any house an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of if you invest time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and to your house. They create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your house.

As a professional power washing company in Lehigh Acres, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most common time of the year to do an intense home washing, but you can really do it any time 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 method to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Lehigh Acres have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names suggest, 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 judge which is best for your house.


The soft wash process uses 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than your typical backyard garden hose.

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

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for more fragile surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing offers the advantage of reaching down into small cracks to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last a lot longer than traditional power washing.


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

This particular cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big plus to home owners who don’t want to use chemicals, either 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 frequently choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, more efficient and cost-effective.

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

One drawback to 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 in wood and plastic, and it can push 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 for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor toys, yard equipment, 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 removes organisms currently present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for a lot longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the preferred choice for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Lehigh Acres might use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate difficult stains, but they need to tell you if they are going to be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done correctly. High water pressure can break fragile or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does power washing often are going to know how to protect fragile pieces, but a first-timer can 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 will likely damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof much faster than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give Lehigh Acres Pressure Washing a call at 239-230-1497 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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