Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is amazing how dirty the siding, wood or brick 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 your home an unkempt, messy look, regardless of if you invest a lot of time and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be damaging to both your health and your home. These contaminants create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing company in Largo, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most popular time to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather allows.


All of the following home 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 way to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners in Largo have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major advantage to home 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 and business owners frequently choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and affordable.

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

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


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

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

Soft washing is great for outdoor play equipment, gardening equipment, roof shingles, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is unlikely to damage plastic and wood. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

It eliminates organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for a lot longer than pressure 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 putting the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the preferred choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial properties. A local pressure washing company in Largo may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to get rid of tough stains, but they need to let you know if they will be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. Powerful water pressure can break weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a first-timer can 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 extreme pressure of the water could damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof far sooner than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Largo Pressure Washing a call at 727-235-7500 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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