Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

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

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mold can be harmful to your health and to your home. They create allergens and bacteria that can affect your family, and some of them, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing material and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing company in Miami, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. The spring season is typically the most popular time to do an intense home exterior washing, but you can do it any time as long as the weather allows.


All of the following surfaces need to be pressure 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, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Miami have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

As the names suggest, one method is much gentler than the other one, but there’s a little more to it than just that. Let’s look at the features of each method to help you judge which one is best for your home.


The soft wash system uses less pressure 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 setting, only slightly more powerful than a backyard hose.

Soft washing uses detergent, bleach and water in some combination to get rid of organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other surfaces. The mixture used in a soft washing process can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors which will prevent further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not pressure, are key to cleaning the exterior surfaces, no powerful water pressure is necessary. This means that soft washing should be used for more delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by higher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes cleaned off, but not always. This just depends on the type of solution is used, if there’s plant or animal life that might be impacted by the runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing provides the advantage of getting into small cracks and crevices to kill unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last longer than standard pressure washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to remove stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a big advantage to home and business owners that don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the sake of the environment or to avoid zoning violations.

It can be used on a lot of different materials. Home and business owners frequently choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is fast, more efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing requires anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out of a small nozzle for the most power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s exterior surface, stopping their growth and restoring the curb appeal of your home.

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


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, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more correctly done when left to the experts.

Soft washing is excellent for outdoor play equipment, yard equipment, shingle roofs, decks, gutters, patios and painted surfaces because it is less likely to harm plastic and wood. It’s also a safe and smart choice for vinyl siding.

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

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plant life under the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water right before applying the soft wash chemicals on your home or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the best method for severe stains, and harder surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the preferred method for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing company in Miami might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to clean offf difficult stains, but they need to let you know if they will be spraying chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used for siding too (and has been for several years) as long as it is done safely. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing often are going to know how to protect these areas, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is definitely off limits for pressure washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The extreme pressure of the water could ruin these materials and require you to replace your home’s roof far earlier than expected.

Choosing between soft washing or pressure washing is best left for a professional pressure washing company. Which process is right for your home? Give Miami Pressure Wash Co. a call at 786-321-2369 and we will send a trained technician over to take a look!

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