Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is amazing how dirty the exterior of your house can get during a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These stains will give any house an unkempt, uncared for look, regardless of if you invest a lot of time and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be harmful to your health and to your house. They produce allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your house.

As a professional power washing service in Cedar Park, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most popular time to do an extreme home exterior cleaning, but you can do it any time so long as the weather permits.


All of the following surfaces need to be cleaned 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 siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners in Cedar Park have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system 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 lower spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than your typical backyard garden hose.

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

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water is required. This means that soft washing can be used for more delicate surfaces that might otherwise be harmed by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of reaching down into small cracks and crevices to kill even unseen organisms, meaning that its impact can last a lot longer than power washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to eliminate stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big plus to property owners that don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

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

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

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


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

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

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play equipment, 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 choice for vinyl siding.

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

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

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for severe stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Cedar Park may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to get rid of problematic stains, but they need to tell you if they are going to be using chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) so long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can break fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does power washing often are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a DIYer 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 high pressure of the water might damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof a lot faster than expected.

Deciding between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your house? Give Cedar Park Pressure Washing a call at 512-559-1034 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!