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Your home is an investment, and keeping it clean and well-maintained helps boost its value. There are a few ways to restore the luster of a home that has seen better days, including soft washing and power washing. But, what exactly is the difference between soft washing vs power washing?


Soft Washing vs Power Washing: What’s the Difference?

One of the most frequent questions property owners ask is the difference between soft washing vs power washing. It can get confusing when trying to decide what would be best for your home or particular areas you want to look better. After all, not all materials can take the sheer force of a power washer. But, which parts should you use soft washing on? And which parts call for the much stronger power washing?

Before we dive deeper into the details, let us first define the two terms.


What Is Soft Washing?

outdoor floor cleaning with a pressure water jet on street | pressure washing vs power washingSoft washing is a type of power washing that is not as rough and abrasive on surfaces, using a pressure level below 1,000 PSI. This method of cleaning uses a special nozzle that is attached to a pressure washer which reduces the speed and force of the water that comes out of the machine.

Unlike pressure washing or power washing, the water is not directly used to clean the surface. Instead, soft washing uses a cleaning solution, which is applied to the area that needs cleaning. After the solution has been applied, the soft wash is used to clean and remove the cleaning chemicals from the surfaces. This gives the cleaning solution time to seep into the tiny cracks and the surface itself providing an even deeper clean than power washing.


What Is Power Washing?

close up of outdoor floor cleaning with high pressure water jet | soft wash housePower washing is a common technique that is used to clean homes brick, siding, walkways, decks, and driveways, to name a few. It also relies on the pressure of the water to break down and wash away dirt, grime, mold, and other difficult to remove substances.

By using high-powered equipment, a stream of water is forcefully projected in a controlled flow that knocks out dirt and gets an area or surface looking like new instantly. Because of the intensity of the water being released, it is not meant for all surfaces or areas and cautions should be observed. However, most of the time, when power washing cannot be used, a soft wash could be the ideal option.


Pressure Washing vs Power Washing

Because these two terms are used interchangeably, you might think they are one and the same. While they both share the same general process and purpose, they are not exactly alike. Both methods use pressurized water of over 1,000 PSI to clean surfaces. Compared to pressure washing, power washing uses heated water for more effective results.


Can Power Washing and Soft Washing Be Used Together?

One thing customers frequently ask is whether power washing and soft washing need to be scheduled on different days or times. Luckily, both soft and power washing go hand-in-hand and can be used at the same time. By using both techniques simultaneously, it increases the options professionals have for cleaning and getting any space looking fabulous.


Soft Washing vs Power Washing: Which One Is Better?

When it comes to different parts of your property, professionals usually know which method to use to effectively clean them. That is why it is better to outsource the task to a professional service company than to do it yourself. For your own benefit and education, though, let us tackle which surfaces require power washing and which ones need the gentler soft washing.


1. Vinyl, Cedar Shake, or Wood Panel Siding

cleaning dirty wall with high pressure water jet | what is soft washingYou can probably tell from just one look that these types of siding are fragile and more vulnerable to force. They are easily damaged by high-pressure water.

Soft washing, on the other hand, effectively cleans contaminants such as dirt, mold, and mildew from these surfaces. For this reason, it is better to use the soft washing method on vinyl, cedar shake, and wood panel siding.


2. Roof

You might think your roof can take a good beating, but it stands no chance against highly pressurized water. While you can still get a roof to look sparkly and new with power washing, the intensity of the water stream can knock your roof shingles loose. This increases the risk of damage and water leaks. So, for your roof, soft washing is a must.


3. Concrete Driveway and Patio

As you may already know, concrete is a durable material used on many driveways and outdoor patios. Over time, though, it can accumulate mold, mildew, and algae, creating health hazards and advancing the risks of injury. Concrete can generally take the force of a power washer when used properly. So, if the time calls for cleaning, go with power washing.


4. Stucco Surface

Stucco can beautify any property thanks to its unique texture, but it’s this very texture that could secure its downfall. Due to its uneven surface, stucco has many cavities where dirt, grime, and other pollutants can accumulate. Although high-pressure water can knock those bad boys right off, you might end up damaging the surface beneath. If you have a stucco surface, it’s generally better to use the soft wash method.


5. Paver, Brick, and Tile

Paver, brick, and tiles are held together by mortar and sand, creating the patterned effect that can increase the curb appeal of any home. Unfortunately, these materials also get dirty with time, resulting in a need for cleaning. When deciding whether to use soft washing vs power washing, you must take the mortar and sand into consideration.

A high level of pressure can damage these adhesives, knocking pavers, bricks, and tiles loose in the process. It can even etch brick! In these cases, soft washing is much gentler yet just as effective.


6. Wood Deck

man cleaning wooden deck of terrace with a power washer | what is soft washingNothing beats a barbecue out on your wood deck during a warm July summer’s day, but time and weather can seriously wear out this surface. When it comes to wood decks, power washing is a good cleaning method, but only when used properly. Power washers are strong enough to damage brick, so imagine what it can do to your wood deck!

If you hire a professional to do the work, you can definitely power wash a wood deck. However, if you intend to do it yourself, it is better to go with soft washing. Leave the high-powered machines to professionals.


Soft Washing vs Power Washing: Make the Right Choice

In the right hands, a power washer is a substantial tool that can deliver the right results, but the strength of a power washer can sometimes be too forceful to handle, especially by more delicate surfaces. These situations call for the soft washing method. It is important to know the difference between soft washing vs power washing and which one is best for your home. Otherwise, you will end up with damages that may require expensive repairs.

Call on professionals to power wash and soft wash houses. Let Washh take care of your cleaning needs.