Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is surprising how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your house can get throughout a year. Some of the most common stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These things can give your house an unkempt, messy appearance, regardless of if you invest time and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be destructive to your health and to your house. These contaminants produce allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your house.

As a professional pressure washing service in Aurora, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is typically the most popular time of the year to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time as long as the weather allows.

WHAT NEEDS PRESSURE WASHING?

All of the following home 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 option to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners in Aurora have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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

WHAT IS SOFT WASHING?

The soft wash process uses much 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than your typical backyard hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water is needed. This means that soft washing should be used for more fragile surfaces that could otherwise be harmed by harsher pressure washing.

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed off, but not every time. This just depends on what type of solution is used, if there is plant or animal life that might be affected by the solution runoff, and if the solution itself is strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into cracks to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last longer than pressure washing.

WHAT IS PRESSURE WASHING?

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

This cleaning process uses water only, there are no chemicals, to remove stains and organisms from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a significant advantage to home owners that don’t want to use chemicals, either for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on many different materials. Home owners choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is quick, more efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing needs 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 renewing the appearance of your house.

One negative about pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces of your home you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to put deep grooves into wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off pieces of brick or stone.

IS PRESSURE WASHING OR SOFT WASHING BETTER?

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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods 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 experts.

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

It removes organisms that are present on the surface, and it prevents future growth for 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 down with water right before applying the soft wash chemicals on your house or roof, and it probably won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the recommended method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Aurora may use a mixture of chemicals and water pressure to eliminate problematic stains, but they need to let you know if they will be using chemicals after your consultation.

It can also be used for siding as well (and has been for decades) as long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A service that does pressure washing often will know how to protect vulnerable pieces, but a amateur might do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is definitely off limits for pressure washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water might damage these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof a lot sooner than expected.

Deciding between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your house? Give Aurora Pressure Washing a call at 720-513-3817 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!