Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing how dirty the outside of your house can get over the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains will give your house an unkempt, messy look, regardless of whether you invest a lot of time, money and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be destructive to your health and your house. These contaminants produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your house.

As a professional pressure washing company in Arvada, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most popular time of the year to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather permits.


All of the following home surfaces need to be cleaned from time to time:

• Vinyl siding
• Rock and stone
• Brick
• Concrete and asphalt

Power washing used to be the only method to thoroughly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have a second 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 that. Let’s review the features of each to help you decide which one is best for your house.


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 slightly more powerful than a typical backyard lawn hose.

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

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

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting into cracks and crevices to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last much longer than traditional pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the gold standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and quick, which is why a lot of home and business owners prefer it over soft washing.

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

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners often choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is fast, more efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing needs anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials are blasted from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the appearance of your house.

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can damage the surfaces of your home you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to cut deep 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 for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

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

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

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Arvada may use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf problematic stains, but they should tell you if they will be using chemicals after your estimate.

It can be used for siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can break weak or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect these areas, but a first-timer might do a lot of harm.

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

Deciding between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your house? Give Arvada Pressure Washing a call at 720-640-9558 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

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