Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your home can get throughout a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains will give any home an unkempt, uncared for look, regardless of if you invest time, money and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mold can be damaging to your health and to your home. They produce allergens that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Fayetteville, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is typically the most common time to do an intense home cleaning, but you can do it any time as long as the weather permits.


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 way to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners in Fayetteville have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash process uses less pressure 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than a typical backyard hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting into cracks to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its results can last a lot longer than pressure washing.


Pressure washing has long 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, there are no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mold from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major plus to home owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home owners often prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is quick, more efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing requires anywhere 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 blasted from your home’s surface, preventing their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can harm the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to put deep grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces 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, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play sets, yard equipment, 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 kills organisms that are present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for a lot longer than pressure washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the best method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Fayetteville might use a combination of detergents and water pressure to eliminate tough stains, but they should tell you if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage fragile or smaller pieces of vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect vulnerable areas, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which process is right for your home? Give Fayetteville Pressure Washing a call at 910-335-8712 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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