Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s surprising how dirty the outside of your house can get throughout the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include mud or dirt, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give any house an unkempt, messy look, even though you invest a lot of time and maintenance into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to both your health and your house. These contaminants create 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 pressure washing service in Alpharetta, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most common time of the year to do an extreme home cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year so long as the weather allows.


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

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

Power washing used to be the only option to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Alpharetta have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system uses less pressure than a typical pressure washer, hence the name. The highest water pressure used in a soft washing system is 500 PSI. This lighter spray is produced from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than your typical backyard garden hose.

Soft washing uses soap, bleach and water in some 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 prevent further growth of these organisms in the future.

Because chemicals, not water pressure, are responsible for cleaning the surfaces, no powerful water pressure is needed. This means that soft washing should be used for more delicate surfaces that might otherwise be damaged by more powerful pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes cleaned off, but not all of the time. This just depends on what type of chemicals are used, if there is plant or animal life that can be affected by the solution runoff, and if the solution itself is powerful enough to damage surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the distinct advantage of getting into cracks and crevices to eliminate unseen organisms, meaning that its impact can last a lot longer than traditional pressure washing.


Pressure washing has always been the standard for cleaning home exterior surfaces. It is extremely effective and fast, which is why a lot of home and business owners prefer it.

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

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

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

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water can sometimes be too powerful and lead to damaging the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to put deep grooves in wood and plastic, and it can push into cracks, breaking off chunks of stone or brick.


The obvious question for homeowners is, “Is pressure washing or soft washing better?”

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

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

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

A disadvantage of soft washing is that it can kill plants under the surface you’re cleaning. Remember to spray them with water before putting the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it probably shouldn’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is considered the best method for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like asphalt, stone and brick. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Alpharetta might use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to eliminate tough stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals after your estimate.

It can also be used on siding too (and has been for decades) so long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can damage fragile or small pieces of vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing all the time are going to know how to protect fragile pieces, but a first-timer could do a lot of damage.

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which process is right for your house? Give AGA Alpharetta Pressure Washing a call at 404-977-4720 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!