Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s shocking 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 stains can give your house an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest time and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be damaging to your health and to your house. They produce allergens that can affect your family, and some, like algae, can grow directly underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter your house.

As a professional power washing company in Fishers, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most common time to do an extreme home washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather permits.


All of the following surfaces need to be cleaned from time to time:

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

Pressure washing used to be the only way to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now, homeowners in Fishers have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash process uses less power than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The maximum water pressure used 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 a typical backyard garden hose.

Soft washing uses detergent, bleach and water in combination to eliminate organic matter from your home, roof and other surfaces. The cleaning mixture 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 key to cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water pressure is required. This means that soft washing can be used for fragile surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by higher 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 could be affected by the runoff, and if the solution itself is strong enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the distinct advantage of getting down into small cracks to eliminate unseen organisms, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than traditional power washing.


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

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

It can be used on many different materials. Home owners often choose power washing for cleaning their driveway, patio, decks, sidewalks and patio furniture because it is quick, 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 materials are blasted from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and restoring the appearance of your house.

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


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

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

Soft washing is great for outdoor toys, yard 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 that are present on the surface, and it stops 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 right before putting the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for severe stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended method for commercial surfaces. A local pressure washing company in Fishers may use a mixture 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 also be used on siding too (and has been for several years) so long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A local company that does power washing all the time will know how to protect weak pieces, but a first-timer can do a lot of damage.

Your home’s roof is off limits for power washing if there are slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water can ruin these materials and require you to replace your roof far sooner than expected.

Deciding between soft washing or power washing is best left for a pressure washing company. Which method is right for your house? Give Fishers Pressure Washing a call at 317-434-8155 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

Call Now Button