Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s shocking how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your house can get during a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These 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 mildew can be destructive to your health and to your house. These contaminants produce allergens that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your house.

As a professional power washing service in Chandler, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most popular time of the year to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time as long as the weather permits.


All of the following 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 option to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Chandler have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names imply, one method is a lot 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 best 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than your backyard 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 exterior surfaces. The solution used in a soft washing system can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

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

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last much longer than traditional power washing.


Pressure washing has always been the gold standard for cleaning exterior surfaces. It is very effective and efficient, which is why a lot of home and business owners prefer it over soft washing.

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

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

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, stopping their growth and renewing the curb appeal 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 strong enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good choices for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is great for outdoor toys, gardening equipment, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to damage wood and plastic. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It kills organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for much longer than power 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 house or roof, and it probably won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the recommended choice for severe stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Chandler may use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate problematic stains, but they need to tell you if they will be using chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can break off weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does power washing often are going to know how to protect fragile pieces, but a amateur 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 pressure of the water could ruin these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof far sooner than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which process is right for your house? Give Chandler Pressure Washing a call at 480-576-5388 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

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