Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s shocking just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get over the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, 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 or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be destructive to your health and your home. These contaminants create allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing service in Winston-Salem, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is typically the most common time to do an intense home exterior cleaning, 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 cleaned from time to time:

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

Power washing used to be the only way to thoroughly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Winston-Salem have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names suggest, one method is a lot 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 is best for your home.


The soft wash process uses 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 a little more powerful than your typical backyard garden hose.

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

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are responsible for cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing should be used for fragile surfaces that would otherwise be harmed by harsher pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to kill even unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last much longer than power washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major advantage to home and business owners that don’t want to use chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on several different materials. Home owners prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and affordable.

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

One negative about power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and can damage the surfaces of your home you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to put deep 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 choices for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is great for outdoor toys, yard equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to harm plastic and wood. 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 plant life underneath the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water before putting the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Winston-Salem might use a mix of detergents and water pressure to remove difficult stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can be used for siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A company that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect weak areas, but a first-timer might do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is definitely off limits for power washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The high pressure of the water might damage these materials and require you to replace your home’s roof far faster than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Winston-Salem Pressure Washing a call at 336-360-6755 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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