Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising just how dirty the exterior 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 any home an unkempt, messy appearance, even though you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be destructive to both your health and 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 material and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing company in Mt. Pleasant, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most common time of the year to do an extreme home washing, but you can do it any time so long as the weather permits.


All of the following home 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 home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have a second 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 just that. Let’s go over the features of each to help you judge which is the right choice for your home.


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

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is necessary. This means that soft washing should be used for more delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes rinsed off, but not all of the time. 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 solution itself is powerful enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks to kill even unseen bacteria, meaning that its impact can last much longer than traditional pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to remove stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major plus to home and business owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on several different materials. Home and business owners choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks 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 small nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s surface, stopping their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

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


The real question for 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 truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play sets, yard 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 eliminates organisms that are present on the surface, and it stops future growth for much longer than pressure washing can.

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

Pressure washing is considered the preferred method for severe stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred choice for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Mt. Pleasant may use a mix of chemicals and water pressure to remove tough stains, but they need to let you know if they will be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done correctly. High water pressure can break weak or smaller pieces of vinyl. A service that does pressure washing often will know how to protect fragile areas, but a DIYer might do a lot of damage.

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

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give Mt. Pleasant Pressure Washing a call at 843-350-5255 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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