Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the exterior of your home can get throughout a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, regardless of whether you invest a lot of time and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and your home. These contaminants produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Baytown, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most common time to do an intense home 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

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

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


The soft wash process uses much less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum 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 backyard lawn hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks and crevices to kill unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last a lot longer than traditional pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mold from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big advantage to property owners who don’t want to use chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on many different materials. Home owners choose pressure 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 tiny nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s surface, stopping their growth and renewing the curb appeal of your home.

One negative about pressure washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and can harm the surfaces of your home you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of brick or stone.


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good choices for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both 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 equipment, yard tools, roof shingles, 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 eliminates organisms currently 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 plants underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water right before applying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the recommended method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Baytown may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to clean offf difficult stains, but they need to tell you if they will be using chemicals during your estimate.

It can be used for siding as well (and has been for decades) so long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can damage weak or small pieces of vinyl. A company that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a first-timer can do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water might damage these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof a lot faster than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Xtreme Baytown Pressure Washing a call at 281-524-2752 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!