Soft Wash vs Pressure Washing: What’s the Difference?

Do you need a deep clean for your property, but are unsure whether to choose soft wash or pressure washing? You’ve come to the right place as this guide explains the differences between the two types of cleaning and helps you find out which one is best suited for your needs.

In this guide, we’ll uncover why one method might be better than another. So let’s dive in and discover the answers!


Soft washing and pressure washing are types of exterior cleaning methods commonly used to maintain the look of your home or property. In this article, we will provide an overview of each option to help you determine which one is most suitable for your needs.

Soft washing uses a combination of low pressures, specialized nozzles and cleaning chemicals to clean without causing any damage. Pressure washers, on the other hand, use much higher pressures (usually up to 4,000 PSI) to blast away dirt and debris from hard surfaces such as driveways, siding and decks.

To ensure the best results for your home or business exterior, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each cleaning method. In addition, it’s essential that anyone attempting soft or pressure washing should be knowledgeable in safety precautions and how to prevent damaging delicate surfaces while cleaning them efficiently.

Explanation of the topic

Soft washing and pressure washing are two popular methods used to clean the exterior surfaces of a home or other building. Although they have similarities, there are also many differences between the two. Below, we’ll discuss how the processes work, what their respective advantages and disadvantages are, and how you can decide which one is best for your specific project.

Both soft washing and pressure washing use highly pressurized water in order to effectively remove dirt, mold, mildew and other build-up from surfaces such as siding, decks and patios. The key difference between them lies in the amount of pressure used during the process. Pressure washing utilizes significantly higher levels of water pressure than that of soft washing. This is what gives it its superior cleaning power but can also cause permanent damage to certain materials if not used properly. Soft washing on the other hand relies heavily on a blend of detergents and cleaners in order to loosen up dirt and debris. It has less potential for damage but may require multiple applications before significant progress is made in deeply soiled or stained areas.

When it comes time to choose between these two services for your next exterior clean job, consider what kind of material needs to be cleaned (e.g., brickwork vs cement), its current aesthetic condition (i.e., new vs aged) as well as any existing damage which may need repairing prior to cleaning (e.g., faded paint or uneven seams from frost damage). Additionally, ask yourself if you have any special requirements or expectations regarding time frames or cost effectiveness when compared with other available options. Together these factors will help inform your decision about which form of high pressure cleaning solution is right for you!

Importance of knowing the difference

It’s important to know the difference between soft wash and pressure washing because each method provides different benefits and has its own unique uses. Soft washing is a gentler approach that avoids blasting paint, wood, and other delicate surfaces while still cleaning off dirt, mold, and other unwanted substances. Pressure washing is more powerful but can cause damage if used in the wrong way. Whether you’re looking to clean your home’s exterior or take care of a larger commercial project, understanding the differences between soft wash and pressure washing will help you choose which one will be most effective for your particular needs.

Soft washing utilizes low-pressure rinsing techniques combined with special detergents to clean surfaces, kill pests, and neutralize contaminants without any physical force or risk of damage. This makes it an ideal choice for cleaning roofs, siding, stucco walls, decks/patios, stone/brick walkways/walls as well as windows without any risk of harm or damage to the surface. The detergents used in soft wash methods also do a great job of killing bacteria such as mold spores and algae without having to use bleach-containing products that can be harsh on both the environment and human skin contact.

Soft Washing vs Power Washing: Which Is Better For What? | Washh

Pressure washing involves using high-pressure jets to forcefully spray water onto surfaces in order to remove dirt grime build up and other debris accumulated over time. This method works great on hardscape areas but should be used cautiously around more delicate materials like wood fence posts or window frames where it can easily cause damage if not done correctly. It is also important to note that power washers need more maintenance than soft washers due to their higher level of water pressure which can lead to more wear on their components over time if not properly cared for during use or when stored away between jobs.

Brief overview of the guide

This guide serves to provide an overview of the two main types of washing and pressure cleaning solutions used in the industry: soft wash and pressure washing. It includes a description of what they involve, their applications, advantages and disadvantages.

Additionally, it outlines recommendations for each type of pressure cleaning option based on different scenarios and objectives. After reading this guide, users should have a clear idea of how to select the most suitable type for their particular situation and be able to apply it with confidence.

Soft Washing

Soft washing is a process of cleaning surfaces, such as siding, roofs, and sidewalks, with low-pressure water and detergents. It’s designed to be a safe and effective alternative to high-pressure cleaning. The key difference between soft washing and pressure washing is that the machine used for soft washing emits a much lower pressure and works more slowly. This helps keep the surface clean while minimizing damage caused by water or chemicals.

The primary purpose of soft washing is to remove accumulated dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and other contaminants from surfaces without damaging them in the process. A qualified technician can safely use this method on many different types of materials including; most types of residential siding including vinyl, stucco, fiber cement board siding (HardiePlank), aluminum composite panels (ACP), aluminum siding, wood shake shingles or clapboard/lap siding, soil erosion control fabrics (like sod fabric), concrete patios/sidewalks/driveways/pool decks as well as asphalt shingle rooftops and other flat areas.

Soft wash technicians usually use environmentally friendly solutions such as algaecides or fungicides to help remove organic growths like algae or mildew from the surface being cleaned. These solutions are typically applied at low pressure before being agitated by manually scrubbing with brushes followed by a light rinse to rinse away any remaining residues. The end result should be a sparkling clean surface that looks like it was never dirty in the first place!


Soft washing, also referred to as low pressure washing or house washing, is a cleaning technique that uses a steady stream of low-pressure and biodegradable cleaning solutions to power through dirt and debris without damaging the surface below. It’s a great way to safely clean sensitive surfaces like stucco, vinyl siding, EIFS (Exterior Insulating Finish System) and more.

Pressure washing, sometimes referred to as power washing or steam cleaning, is a more intense technique that involves blasting high pressure water onto the surface at hand. This method works well for hard surfaces such as driveways and patios that deal with grease and heavy-duty grime on a regular basis. Power washing is also great for getting rid of dirt buildup, mold, algae and pollen on exterior walls without the fear of causing expensive damage.

Equipment and materials used

The equipment and materials used in soft washing are far more comprehensive and comprehensive than a typical pressure washer. For soft washing, a backpack sprayer is best used because it allows the user to adjust the pressure output and also disperse many types of detergent more evenly. Pressure washers typically rely solely on high-pressure water outputs, which are not suitable for delicate surfaces.

Soft Wash vs. Pressure Wash: Choosing the Right Method and Pump

In addition to specific tools such as brushes and nozzles that help direct the water, soft-washing solutions must also be considered. Some of the most commonly used solutions include: detergents with degreasers, specialized algae killers, mildewcide wash, rust inhibitors, surfactants and other organic cleaning compounds. All of these come in ready-to-mix formulas to customize your solution. Moreover, chlorine bleach is often added to help remove mold stains on rough surfaces if necessary.

Suitable surfaces and applications

Where soft washing is suitable for use on almost all surfaces and applications, pressure washing works best on hard surfaces such as wood, concrete, brick and stone. It should not be used on painted areas such as decks, house siding or any other surface where it may damage paint or cause warping.

Soft washing is an effective choice when dealing with a wide variety of outdoor surfaces and applications such as roofs, fences, decks, siding and more. It effectively eradicates algae, moss and other unwanted growths without the additional force of pressurized water. Soft wash is also the preferred choice when treating composite materials that can’t withstand high pressure levels or detergents.

When it comes to cleaning large open surfaces like concrete driveways or parking lots, pressure washing may be your best bet as it can quickly blast away dirt and dust from the surface in a fraction of time compared to soft washing. If you’re looking for quick results for stubborn dirt buildup then pressure washing is your go-to option!

III. Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is a method of cleaning that uses high-velocity water spray to blast away mold, dirt, loose paint and grime from smooth surfaces. Pressure washers work by taking in water at a low pressure level and then compressing the water to create higher pressure levels. High-pressure levels are typically measured in pounds per square inch (psi) or bars. They can range from 1,000 – 10,000 psi depending on the type and size of the pressure washer. A professional pressure washer also includes other features such as adjustable wands that allow you to choose the right angle and pattern for optimal results.

The first step in pressure washing involves prepping the area by applying detergent or special cleaners to help break down dirt and grime so that it is easier to remove during the washing process. After allowing the detergent or cleaner enough time to loosen dirt and oils, a technician will start up the pressure washer and begin power washing away dirt particles at varying pressures ranging between 1000-5000 psi depending on job requirements. This method is often used for tougher stains like oil spills, grease spots, rust streaks, algae growths as well as soft orange staining caused by bacteria blooms. A commercial-grade hot water unit may be used instead for jobs with tough stains as it can reach temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit—ideal for breaking down heated oil & tough grease-based soils that are difficult to remove with cold water alone.


Soft Wash and Pressure Washing are two common terms used to describe exterior cleaning methods. Both of these methods use a combination of water and chemical solutions to clean exteriors and surfaces. The difference lies in how the methods are applied: Soft Washing is conducted by applying low pressure with a powerful stream of water, while Pressure Washing utilizes high pressure streaming of water to penetrate surfaces.

The method chosen will depend on the type of surface being cleaned, its condition, and the intended result. In general, Soft Wash is used as it is gentler on surfaces yet still powerful enough to efficiently remove dirt, grime, and mold that have built up over time. Soft Wash can safely be used on vinyl siding, stucco walls, brick and stone work, wood decks and fencing without causing damage or streaking.

Pressure Washing is often used in more difficult cases or when a deeper clean is needed — such as removing paint or graffiti from brick or concrete walls. While this can be a very effective method for certain projects it should be noted that Pressure Washing uses much higher amounts of water at an increased velocity so broken shingles, loose mortar / bricks may be suffered during the process if not handled correctly by a professional exterior contractor.

Equipment and materials used

Understanding the difference between soft washing and pressure washing begins with knowing the equipment and materials used in each type of cleaning. Soft wash uses low-pressure pumps to provide a gentle, consistent spray that covers a wide area without damaging surfaces or plants. Depending on the application, soft wash can use water heated to temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for added cleaning power. The pump is typically connected to a hose reinforced with stainless steel braiding and synthetic insulation that helps regulate temperature and prevent pinhole leaks. Soft washing often includes a biodegradable solution – known as an algaecide – which is injected into the water stream at the pump discharge port.

Pressure washing relies on much more powerful equipment than soft washing does, often reaching up to 4,000-PSI (pounds per square inch) for residential applications. Industrial pressure washers can reach up to 10,000 PSI or higher, so it’s important that only trained professionals utilize this type of cleaning method. Pressure washers depend on a motor-driven pump which works together with chemical injection systems and special pressurized nozzles to break down dirt and grime using intense force. Professional pressure washers use hoses made of synthetic rubber or reinforced vinyl designed with flexibility and strength in mind; generally they are rated up to 6,000 PSI even without reinforcement coats.

Suitable surfaces and applications

Soft washing is best for more delicate surfaces that can be damaged by pressure washing. It’s also effective for large surfaces, like the exterior of commercial buildings or apartment complexes. However, Soft washing can also be used on sidewalks, grime-covered siding and decks, vinyl gutters and downspouts and other hard surfaces to remove dirt and debris from hard-to-reach places.

Pressure Washing vs Soft Washing | Power Washing - Exterior Cleaning | Ocean Power WashingPower Washing – Exterior Cleaning | Ocean Power Washing

Pressure washing is best suited to deep cleaning stainless steel, brick or concrete that are not porous or delicate to high water pressure. Other uses include patios, driveways, parking lots and decks that are not made of wood or vinyl. Pressure cleaning is more time consuming than soft washing but it does make short work of external paint removals and concrete restoration. It’s also a great way to clean graffiti off walls as well as remove chewing gum from sidewalks and other outdoor surfaces.


In general, soft washing is the more effective and preferred method over pressure washing, although there are some surfaces that may require a combination of both methods. When it comes to keeping a home exterior looking great, soft washing should be the first step in any cleaning regimen. It does not rely on immense pressure to clean and instead relies on a chemical cleansing solution to break down dirt and debris for a thorough, deep clean.

Furthermore, unlike pressure washers which can damage certain surfaces or remove paint from the aluminum siding of homes, soft washers do not carry such risks. Therefore, it is typically the best option when it comes to maintaining any exterior surface with minimal damage and maximum results. By now you should have a better understanding of how soft wash versus pressure washing work and what type of surfaces each method can handle.

It is essential to remember that before taking on an exterior cleaning project yourself or hiring someone else to take care of it for you that you are aware of these differences so the job can be done effectively and safely with long-lasting results.

Recap of the main points

The main difference between a soft wash and pressure was is the way the cleaning solution is applied. A soft wash relies on low-pressure chemical application to deep-clean surface and eliminate the growth of algae, moss, and other organisms. Pressure washing uses high-pressure water spray to remove dirt, algae, grime, and other debris from surfaces.

Soft washing is a gentler process that works effectively on delicate surfaces like stucco siding or roofs without causing any damage. Pressure washing should be used for heavy-duty cleaning jobs that require a lot of scrubbing or powerful spray force such as unfinished concrete or industrial equipment.

When deciding whether to use soft washing or pressure washing for a particular job, consider its goals: Does it need deep cleaning with chemical agents? Does it require abrasive scrubbing? Is the surface delicate? Will there be complex shapes and details to navigate?

By taking the time to assess your specific cleaning needs you can determine which type of service would be best suited for your project. In most cases soft wash will do a great job but if you need faster results with more power then pressure washing may be your best bet!

See Also-

Leave a Comment