Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the outside of your home can get throughout a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These things will give your home an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest a lot of time and care into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be harmful to your health and to your home. They produce allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Baltimore, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most popular time of the year to do an extreme home exterior washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year so 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

Pressure washing used to be the only method to properly clean vinyl, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Baltimore have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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

WHAT IS SOFT WASHING?

The soft wash system uses less pressure 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 produced from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only slightly more powerful than your backyard lawn 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 exterior 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 pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water is needed. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing.

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

Soft washing provides the advantage of reaching into small cracks to eliminate even unseen organisms, meaning that its impact can last longer than standard pressure washing.

WHAT IS PRESSURE WASHING?

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

This particular cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to eliminate stains and mildew from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major plus to property owners that don’t want to use cleaning chemicals, either for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners prefer pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and affordable.

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

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

IS PRESSURE WASHING OR SOFT WASHING BETTER?

The ultimate question for most homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the experts.

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

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

A problem with soft washing is that it can kill plants under the surface that you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before spraying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the best method for severe stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Baltimore might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to remove problematic stains, but they need to tell you if they will be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

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 break weak or small pieces of vinyl. A service that does pressure washing all the time will know how to protect weak areas, but a amateur might do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The extreme pressure of the water will likely damage these materials and cause you to replace your roof a lot faster than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give PRO Baltimore Power Wash a call at 443-241-6416 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!