Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is surprising how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get over the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains will 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, are harmless, but algae and mold can be destructive to your health and to your home. These contaminants create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

As a professional power washing company in Brandon, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is the most popular time to do an extreme home cleaning, but you can do it any time so long as the weather allows.


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 method to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners in Brandon have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s review the features of each to help you determine which one is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash method uses much 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only slightly more powerful than your typical backyard lawn hose.

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

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes cleaned off, but not always. This just depends on what type of chemicals are used in the process, if there is plant or animal life that could be impacted by the runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

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


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

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

It can be used on several different materials. Home owners frequently prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and cost-effective.

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

One drawback to power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and can harm the surfaces you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


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

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

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

It removes organisms that are present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for 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 down with water right before putting the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred method for severe stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Brandon may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to eliminate tough stains, but they need to tell you if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can be used for siding too (and has been for several years) so long as it is done correctly. High water pressure can damage weak or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A company that does power washing often are going to know how to protect fragile areas, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

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

Deciding between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give Brandon Pressure Washing a call at 813-491-1941 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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