Soft Washing vs Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

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

As a professional power washing company in Athens, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most common time of the year to do an extreme home exterior cleaning, but you can do it any time so long as the weather permits.


All of the following home surfaces need to be cleaned 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, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Athens have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

Like the names imply, one method is a lot gentler than the other, but there’s a little more to it than just that. Let’s go over the features of each to help you judge which one is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash system uses much less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is generated from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than a backyard garden hose.

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

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

The soft wash solution is sometimes cleaned off, but not every time. This just depends on what type of solution is used, if there is plant or animal life that can be affected 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 down into cracks and crevices to eliminate unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than traditional power washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big advantage to home and business owners who don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home owners choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is fast, more efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing needs anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, preventing their growth and restoring the appearance of your home.

One negative about power washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging 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 obvious question for most 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 – and truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor play equipment, gardening equipment, 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 that are present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for a lot longer than power 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 applying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is considered the best method for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Athens might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf tough stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be using chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) so long as it is done safely. Powerful water pressure can damage weak or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect fragile areas, but a DIYer can do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is definitely off limits for power washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The high pressure of the water will likely damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof much faster than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your home? Give Athens Pressure Washing a call at 706-365-0790 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!