Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just how dirty the outside of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These stains can give your home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be damaging to both your health and your home. They create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your home.

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


All of the following home surfaces need to be power washed from time to time:

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

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

Like the names imply, one method is much gentler than the other one, but there’s more to it than just that. Let’s cover the features of each to help you decide which is the right choice 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 slightly more powerful than a backyard garden hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing offers the advantage of reaching down into small cracks to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last a lot longer than traditional power washing.


Pressure washing has always been the gold standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is highly effective and fast, which is why many home and business owners still prefer it over soft washing.

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

It can be used on many different materials. Home and business owners frequently prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing uses 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 sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

One drawback to power washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can harm the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


The ultimate question for most homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

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 truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, gardening equipment, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to damage 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 a lot longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Fontana may use a mix of detergents and water pressure to clean offf difficult stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be using chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can break fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does power washing often are going to know how to protect fragile areas, but a amateur could do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give Fontana Pressure Washing a call at 323-576-7187 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button