Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

Some materials, like dirt, are harmless, but algae and mold can be harmful to both your health and your home. These contaminants produce allergens that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Laguna Niguel, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is typically the most common time of the year to do an extreme home cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


All of the following home surfaces need to be pressure washed from time to time:

• Vinyl siding
• Rock and stone
• Brick
• Concrete and asphalt

Pressure washing used to be the only method to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Laguna Niguel have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names imply, one method is a lot gentler than the other one, but there’s more to it than that. Let’s look at the features of each to help you determine which is the right choice for your home.


The soft wash method 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 generated from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than a standard backyard hose.

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

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes cleaned off, but not all of the time. This just depends on what type of chemicals are used, if there’s plant or animal life that might be affected by the runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting down into cracks and crevices to eliminate unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last longer than traditional pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and efficient, which is why many home and business owners still prefer it over soft washing.

This particular cleaning method uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and mildew from home 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 and business owners choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing uses somewhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water sprayed out of a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s surface, stopping their growth and renewing the curb appeal of your home.

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


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 performed by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

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

It kills organisms that are present on the surface, and it stops future growth for longer than pressure washing can.

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plant life underneath the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them down with water before putting the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the best method for severe stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended choice for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing service in Laguna Niguel might use a combination of detergents and water pressure to clean offf difficult stains, but they should tell you if they are going to be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) so long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break off fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A company that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a first-timer can do a lot of harm.

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

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Laguna Niguel Pressure Washing a call at 949-284-2898 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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