Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is amazing just how dirty the exterior of your house can get during a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give your house an unkempt, messy appearance, even though you invest a lot of time and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be damaging to both your health and your house. These contaminants create allergens that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your house.

As a professional power washing company in Chino, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most popular time to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year 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 way to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted home 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 determine which is the right choice for your house.


The soft wash method uses much less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than a backyard 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 mixture used in a soft washing process can include algaecides and residual inhibitors which will prevent further growth of these types of 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 delicate surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing.

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed off, but not all of the 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 solution runoff, and if the chemicals are powerful enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the advantage of reaching down into small cracks and crevices to kill unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last longer than traditional power washing.


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major advantage to home owners who don’t want to use chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners frequently choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

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

One negative about power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging 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 chunks of stone or brick.


The ultimate question for homeowners is, “Which one should I choose?”

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

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, yard tools, 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 eliminates organisms currently present on the surface, and it stops future growth for longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing company in Chino may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to eliminate problematic stains, but they need to tell you if they will be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does power washing often will know how to protect vulnerable pieces, but a first-timer can do a lot of damage.

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

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give Chino Pressure Washing a call at 909-235-5675 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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