Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just how dirty the exterior of your home can get over the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These stains can give any home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest time, money and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be harmful to your health and your home. They produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Springfield, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is typically the most common time to do an intense home cleaning, but you can really do it any time as long as the weather permits.

WHAT NEEDS PRESSURE WASHING?

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 thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names imply, one method is much gentler than the other, but there’s more to it than just that. Let’s look at the features of each method to help you determine which is best for your home.

WHAT IS SOFT WASHING?

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

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

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

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

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of reaching into small cracks and crevices to eliminate even unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than standard pressure washing.

WHAT IS PRESSURE WASHING?

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

This particular cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to eliminate stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major advantage to property owners who don’t want to use chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

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

Pressure washing uses 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 sprayed from your home’s surface, preventing their growth and renewing the curb appeal of your home.

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

IS PRESSURE WASHING OR SOFT WASHING BETTER?

The obvious question for homeowners is, “Which one should I choose?”

Both soft washing and pressure washing are good for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

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

It removes organisms currently 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 under the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water before spraying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Springfield might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to get rid of difficult stains, but they need to tell you if they will be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can break off weak or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A company that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a first-timer might do a lot of damage.

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

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Supreme Springfield Pressure Wash a call at 417-280-3305 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!