Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking just how dirty the exterior of your home can get over the course of 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, even though you invest time and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mold can be damaging to your health and your home. These contaminants create allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your home.

As a professional power washing company in League City, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most popular time to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


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 siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system uses less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure 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 your backyard hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of detergent, bleach and water in combination to get rid of organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other surfaces. The cleaning mixture used in a soft washing system can also 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 exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for more delicate surfaces that could otherwise be harmed by more powerful pressure washing equipment.

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

Soft washing offers the advantage of reaching into cracks to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last much longer than standard power washing.


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is highly effective and fast, which is why a lot of home and business owners prefer it.

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major advantage to home owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

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

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out of a small 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 is sometimes too powerful and can damage the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put grooves in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


The obvious 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 – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor toys, gardening equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to damage plastic and wood. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It eliminates organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for much longer than power washing can.

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plants under the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before applying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the preferred choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial properties. A local pressure washing company in League City might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate tough stains, but they should tell you if they will be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a DIYer could 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 high pressure of the water might ruin these materials and cause you to replace your roof a lot earlier than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give LTX League City Pressure Washing a call at 281-626-5733 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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