Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the exterior of your home can get throughout a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give any home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of if you invest a lot of time and care into it.

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

As a professional pressure washing service in Aurora, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most popular time to do an intense home exterior cleaning, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather allows.


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 way to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s look at the features of each method to help you judge which is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash process uses much less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than a typical backyard hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is required. This means that soft washing can be used for fragile surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by more powerful pressure washing.

The soft wash solution is sometimes rinsed 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 might be impacted by the solution runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching down into cracks to kill unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last much longer than traditional pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to eliminate stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant advantage to home and business owners who don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners often prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

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

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces of your home you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of brick or stone.


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good choices for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play sets, gardening equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to harm plastic and wood. It’s also a safe choice for vinyl siding.

It eliminates organisms currently present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for much longer than pressure washing can.

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plants underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water right before spraying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for severe stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Aurora might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to get rid of tough stains, but they need to tell you if they will be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break fragile or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A service that does pressure washing all the time will know how to protect these pieces, but a amateur could do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give Aurora Pressure Washing a call at 630-354-0551 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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