Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is surprising how dirty the outside of your house can get throughout the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give any house an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest time, money and care into it.

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

As a professional pressure washing company in Newton, we recommend 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 throughout the year as long as the weather allows.


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 option to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Newton have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

As the names suggest, one method is a lot gentler than the other, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s look at the features of each method to help you determine which one is the right choice for your house.


The soft wash process uses much 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 your backyard 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 also include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop further growth of these organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by more powerful pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of reaching down into small cracks to eliminate unseen bacteria, meaning that its results can last longer than standard pressure washing.


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

This cleaning process uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major plus to property owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home owners choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

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

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 cut grooves in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of brick or stone.


The ultimate question for 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 cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

It eliminates organisms currently present on the surface, and it stops 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 putting the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the preferred method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial properties. A local pressure washing company in Newton may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to remove problematic stains, but they should let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can break weak or smaller pieces of vinyl. A local service that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a first-timer can 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 pressure of the water might ruin these materials and cause you to replace your roof far faster than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give Newton Pressure Washing a call at 617-219-3223 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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