Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get over a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any home an unkempt, messy appearance, regardless of if you invest time, money and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to both your health and your home. These contaminants produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Burbank, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is the most popular time of the year to do an extreme home washing, 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 pressure 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, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash method 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 lower spray is generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than your typical backyard garden hose.

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

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes washed off, but not all of the time. This just depends on what type of chemicals are used in the process, if there is plant or animal life that might be affected by the runoff, and if the chemicals are strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

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


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big advantage to property owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners often choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and cost-effective.

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

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can damage the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.


The obvious 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 honestly, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, yard tools, 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 removes organisms that are present on the surface, and it stops future growth for a lot longer than pressure 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 applying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for severe stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Burbank might use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf tough stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your consultation.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break off fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing often will know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a amateur might do a lot of damage.

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

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give Burbank Pressure Washing a call at 818-275-6714 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button