Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking just how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your house can get over a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give your house an unkempt, messy look, regardless of if you invest time and maintenance into it.

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

As a professional pressure washing company in Ontario, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most common time of the year to do an extreme home washing, but you can really do it any time as 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 method to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names imply, one method is a lot gentler than the other, but there’s a little more to it than just that. Let’s cover the features of each method to help you judge which one is best for your house.


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

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water pressure is required. This means that soft washing should be used for more fragile surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks and crevices to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact 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 many home and business owners prefer it.

This cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to eliminate stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major plus to property owners that 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 many different materials. Home and business owners frequently prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways 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 of a small nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic materials are sprayed from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the appearance of your house.

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging 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 push into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


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

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

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

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

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plant life underneath the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before applying the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the preferred choice for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Ontario may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to eliminate tough stains, but they need to let you know if they will be using chemicals after your estimate.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often will know how to protect fragile areas, but a DIYer might do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water could ruin these materials and require you to replace your roof much faster than expected.

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give Ontario Pressure Washing a call at 909-273-6836 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button