Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising just how dirty the siding, wood or brick 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 your home an unkempt, uncared for look, even though you invest a lot of time, money and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and your home. They produce allergens and bacteria that can impact your family, and some of them, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

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


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

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

Power washing used to be the only method to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners in Thornton have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

Like 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 go over the features of each to help you determine which is best for your home.


The soft wash process uses less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lower spray is generated from a nozzle with a wider spray option, only a little more powerful than your standard backyard hose.

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

Because chemicals, not pressure, are responsible for cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water is necessary. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that would otherwise be harmed by harsher pressure washing.

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes rinsed off, but not always. This just depends on the type of chemicals are used, if there’s 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 offers the advantage of reaching down into cracks to eliminate even unseen bacteria, 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 extremely effective and efficient, which is why a lot of home and business owners still prefer it.

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

The pressure washing process can be used on several different materials. Home owners often choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

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

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


The obvious question for 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 performed by a professional company – and truthfully, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

It removes organisms currently present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for a lot longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is considered the best choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial properties. A local pressure washing service in Thornton might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to eliminate difficult stains, but they should tell you if they will be using chemicals during your consultation.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) as long as it is done correctly. High water pressure can break off weak or smaller pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does power washing often are going to know how to protect weak pieces, but a amateur might 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 extreme pressure of the water could ruin these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof far sooner than expected.

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Thornton Pressure Washing a call at 720-702-1668 and we’ll send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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