Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is amazing how dirty the exterior of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These stains will give your home an unkempt, messy appearance, regardless of if you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

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

As a professional pressure washing service in Union City, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most popular time of the year to do an intense home exterior cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


All of the following surfaces need to be pressure washed 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, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Union City have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash process uses much less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lower spray is created from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than a standard backyard garden hose.

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

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes cleaned off, but not all of the time. This just depends on the type of chemicals are used, if there’s plant or animal life that can be impacted by the solution runoff, and if the chemicals are strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the advantage of getting down into small cracks to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last longer than standard pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to clean off stains and mildew from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major plus to home owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on several different materials. Home owners often choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, more efficient and cost-effective.

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

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


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

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 done by a professional – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

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

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plant life under the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water right before spraying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial properties. A local pressure washing service in Union City might use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they should tell you if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) so long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can break off fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a amateur 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 might damage these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof much sooner than expected.

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give Union City Pressure Washing a call at 510-216-1853 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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