Soft Washing vs Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising just how dirty the exterior 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 types of stains can give any house an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest time and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, 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 even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your house.

As a professional pressure washing company in Sandy Springs, we recommend that 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 do it any time as long as the weather permits.


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

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

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

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


The soft wash system 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than a standard backyard garden hose.

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

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

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed off, but not always. This just depends on the type of solution is used, if there’s plant or animal life that can 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 getting into cracks to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last longer than standard pressure washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to remove stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a significant plus to home and business owners that don’t want to use chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home and business owners often prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, more efficient and affordable.

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

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to cut deep 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 are good for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is great 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 removes organisms currently present on the surface, and it stops 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 putting the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it probably won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the best choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Sandy Springs might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to get rid of problematic 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. Powerful water pressure can break fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A company that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a amateur could do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is 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 far 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 Sandy Springs Pressure WashCo. a call at 404-905-1920 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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