Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the siding, wood or brick 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 things will give your house an unkempt, messy appearance, even though you invest time and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be damaging to your health and to your house. They create allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your house.

As a professional pressure washing company in Simi Valley, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. The spring season is typically the most common time to do an intense home washing, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


All of the following home 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 home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Simi Valley have a second option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


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

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

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes rinsed off, but not always. This just depends on the type of chemicals are used in the process, if there is plant or animal life that can be impacted by the solution runoff, and if the solution itself is strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

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


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is highly effective and efficient, which is why many home and business owners prefer it.

This particular cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to clean off stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a significant plus to home owners that don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake 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, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is fast, more efficient and affordable.

Pressure washing requires anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic materials are blasted from your home’s surface, stopping their growth and renewing 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 in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of stone or brick.


The ultimate question for most homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good choices for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional – and honestly, are more correctly 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 damage plastic and wood. It’s also a safe choice for vinyl siding.

It kills organisms currently present on the surface, and it stops future growth for much 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 with water before applying the soft wash chemicals on your house or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the preferred method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing company in Simi Valley might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to clean offf tough stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for several years) so long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break weak or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does pressure washing all the time will know how to protect weak pieces, but a first-timer can do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The extreme pressure of the water will likely ruin these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof much sooner than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give Simi Valley Pressure Washing a call at 805-232-7363 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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