Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the exterior of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give any home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest a lot of time, money and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be damaging to your health and to your home. These contaminants create 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 power washing company in Lakewood, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most common time of the year to do an intense home cleaning, but you can really do it any time so long as the weather permits.


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 method 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, but there’s a little more to it than that. Let’s look at the features of each method to help you judge which one is best for your home.


The soft wash process uses much less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than a backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses soap, bleach and water in some 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 also include algaecides and residual inhibitors which will slow further growth of these organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is necessary. This means that soft washing should be used for delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing.

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

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


Pressure washing has always been the gold standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is very effective and quick, which is why many home and business owners prefer it.

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

It can be used on several different materials. Home and business owners often choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing needs somewhere 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, stopping their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

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


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

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

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

It removes organisms currently present on the surface, and it prevents 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 that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water right before applying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the best choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Lakewood may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to remove difficult stains, but they should tell you if they will be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can break off weak or small pieces of vinyl. A local company that does power washing all the time will 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 pressure of the water can ruin these materials and require you to replace your roof much faster than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Lakewood Pressure Washing a call at 720-702-1697 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

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