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House Washing Showdown: Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

House Washing Showdown: Soft Washing vs. Pressure WashingPhoto from Unsplash

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What is the Difference Between Pressure Washing & Soft Washing?

Pressure washing has become a bit of a household name in recent years, maybe because there’s something satisfying about pressure washing before-and-after shots. From TikTok & YouTube videos, everyone loves to see and share the results of a great cleaning job!

However, there’s one alternative to pressure washing that you may not be as aware of: soft washing.


Choosing between soft washing vs. pressure washing is the key to cleaning without damaging your belongings, but it’s not always easy to tell when each option is best. If you’re thinking of getting your house washed, read on for a quick guide to when to try each method.

Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

Before we dig into the details, let’s look at the basic differences. Soft washing and pressure washing use different strategies for their cleaning power. With pressure washing, it’s the force of the pressurized water coming from the nozzle that blasts debris away. The force and high pressure make it great for cleaning deep stains and grime.


With soft washing, the cleaning power comes from the mix of soaps and surfactants. These chemicals break down grime without excess force. Often, the pressure level for cleaning is below 150 PSI.

What to Know About Pressure Washing

Pressure washing may be a term you hear more often than soft washing, but that doesn’t make it the right choice for every job. Here’s what to know before you reach out for pressure washing services.

Pressure Washing vs. Power Washing

You may also hear the term “power washing.” This label is thrown around interchangeably with “pressure washing,” and both of these strategies are similar. However, power washing uses some detergent, which adds more grime-busting strength to your cleaning efforts.

Pros of Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is not gentle! The high-pressure nozzle can climb up to several thousand PSI. Thanks to the force of the water, this option doesn’t always need any additional cleaning chemicals to work.


Pressure washers are strong enough to cut through anything from oil stains on your garage floor, sidewalk or driveway, to grime on your lawn furniture. They’re also fast, allowing you to clean a large surface area in a short period.

Cons of Pressure Washing

What makes a pressure washer so useful – its powerful spray of water – also makes it dangerous.

The force can be enough to damage or cut through human skin! Add in heat from power washing, and the steam can cause serious burns. This is why we don’t recommend DIY pressure or power washing.


The powerful spray also translates to a longer learning curve. These washers can be surprisingly tricky to get the hang of, as their high force causes a small amount of recoil, making getting on a ladder a very risky proposition.


In addition, because pressure washers are so powerful, they aren’t ideal for cleaning everything. Even at their lowest pressure, they can cause damage to delicate materials. If you aren’t careful, for example, cleaning algae off your roof could just ruin your shingles!

What to Know About Soft Washing

Next, let’s move on to soft washing. This option is a bit more complex than pressure washing, but it’s still a good way to break down dirt and grime.

Pros of Soft Washing

As stated above, soft washing’s strength lies in its cleaning solutions, not in forceful water pressure. This gentler approach makes it ideal for any surfaces that high pressure might harm.

The lower pressure of soft washing also makes it a bit safer to clean with. While users still have to be careful how they handle the spray, there’s a far lower risk of injury from force.

Cons of Soft Washing

Like pressure washing, soft washing comes with a few drawbacks.

The biggest is that it won’t remove certain stains. Because it lacks the force of pressure washing, it may not always remove set-in grime or embedded dirt on concrete, for example.


You’ll also need to spend more time soft washing than you would pressure washing. Often, you’ll need to lay down the cleaning solution, let it sit on the surface for a while, and then wash it away. You may even need to repeat this more than once.

Common Soft Wash Solutions

Depending on the job, there are a few common chemicals used in soft washing solutions.

Bleach is a popular choice, as this household staple can disinfect and clean at the same time. However, traditional bleach can also be damaging to plants and animals, so many solutions will use eco-friendly alternatives instead.


In addition, your soft washing solution may contain surfactants, which reduce the surface tension of a liquid. This is a fancy way of saying that they help a solution spread and break through grime.


If needed, algaecides and fungicides can help break down organic stains like algae, mold, and mildew. Other chemicals like odor removers can also be included.


Some solutions also contain neutralizers, which may help the clean surface stand up against further grime and debris.

When to Use Pressure vs. Soft Washing

Given everything we’ve mentioned above, where are the best areas to use these cleaning strategies?

You should use pressure washing for hard ground surfaces like cement. This includes sidewalk, patio, and driveway cleaning. Vehicles, gutters, vinyl siding, plastic or metal lawn furniture, and treated wooden decks may also be ideal for pressure washing.


You should use soft washing for more delicate surfaces and porous materials. This includes certain types of home siding, stucco, and your roof, especially if you have wood shake. Certain types of pavers and masonry may also be better for soft washing over pressure washing.

Get the Right Cleaning for the Job

Choosing between soft washing vs. pressure washing can be tough, but the decision depends on your needs and goals. As long as you consider the material you’re cleaning, you should have no trouble landing on the perfect solution for your home.

To make sure you’re choosing the best option and getting a professional cleaning every time, reach out to the experts at Strong Cleaning Co.! With a wealth of experience helping Hilliard-area homes and businesses improve their appearance and boost their curb appeal, we’d be happy to make sure your property shines. Contact us for a free, no-obligation estimate today.

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