Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising just how dirty the outside of your house can get during a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give any house an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be harmful to both your health and to your house. They create allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your house.

As a professional pressure washing service in Round Rock, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is the most popular time to do an intense home cleaning, but you can really do it any time as long as the weather permits.


All of the following surfaces need to be pressure washed 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 siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash process uses much 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than your backyard garden hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water pressure is required. This means that soft washing can be used for fragile surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed 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 can be affected by the runoff, and if the solution itself is strong enough to harm surfaces over time.

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


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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major plus to home and business owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on several different materials. Home owners often choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, efficient and affordable.

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

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and can damage the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to put deep grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off pieces of stone or brick.


The real 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 experts.

Soft washing is excellent 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 choice for vinyl siding.

It eliminates 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 underneath 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 won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the preferred choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Round Rock may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to clean offf tough stains, but they need to tell you if they will be spraying chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can break weak or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect vulnerable pieces, but a amateur can do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water can damage 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 process is right for your house? Give RTX Round Rock Pressure Wash a call at 512-559-1188 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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