Soft Washing vs Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be harmful to your health and to your house. These contaminants create allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your house.

As a professional power washing company in Macon, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most common time to do an extreme home washing, but you can really do it any time so long as the weather permits.

WHAT NEEDS PRESSURE WASHING?

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 in 2021, homeowners have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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

WHAT IS SOFT WASHING?

The soft wash system uses less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure used 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 a backyard lawn hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is required. 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 always. This just depends on what type of chemicals are used, if there is plant or animal life that might be impacted by the runoff, and if the chemicals are powerful enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks to kill unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last longer than power washing.

WHAT IS PRESSURE WASHING?

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

This particular cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major advantage to property owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners frequently choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing needs somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water 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 curb appeal of your house.

One negative about power washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off chunks of brick or stone.

IS PRESSURE WASHING OR SOFT WASHING BETTER?

The obvious question for most 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 performed by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, yard equipment, shingle roofs, 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 eliminates organisms currently 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 plant life underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water before applying the soft wash chemicals on your house or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial properties. A local pressure washing company in Macon may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to clean offf difficult stains, but they need to let you know if they will be spraying chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a DIYer can do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is definitely 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 much faster than expected.

Deciding between soft washing or power washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give Macon Pressure Washing a call at 478-215-5595 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!