Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It’s amazing just how dirty the outside of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These stains will give your home an unkempt, uncared for appearance, even though you invest a lot of time and care into it.

Some materials, like dirt, don’t do much harm, but algae and mildew can be destructive to your health and your home. They produce allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can even grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter into your home.

As a professional pressure washing service in Kansas City, we recommend you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most common time to do an intense home washing, but you can do it any time throughout the year as 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 way to thoroughly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted home surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Kansas City have another option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


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

Soft washing uses soap, bleach and water in combination to eliminate organic matter and debris from your home, roof and other exterior surfaces. The mixture used in a soft washing system can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors which will deter further growth of these types of organisms in the future.

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

The soft wash chemicals are sometimes cleaned off, but not every 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 harm surfaces over time.

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


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

This cleaning method uses water only, there are no chemicals, to clean off stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of plain water is a major advantage to property owners who 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 owners frequently choose pressure washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and outdoor furniture because it is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

Pressure washing uses anywhere from 1300 to 3100 PSI water pressure with water being sprayed out from a tiny nozzle for maximum power. Both organic and inorganic stains are sprayed from your home’s surface, prohibiting their growth and renewing the appearance of your home.

One drawback to pressure washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can harm the surfaces of your home you’re attempting to clean. Pressure washing is powerful enough to cut deep grooves in 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 for your home’s exterior, as well as sidewalks, driveways and more. Both cleaning systems can be performed by a professional – and truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

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

It kills organisms that are 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 down with water right before applying the soft wash solution on your home or roof, and it probably won’t be an issue.

Pressure washing is the best method for difficult stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the recommended process for commercial properties. A professional pressure washing service in Kansas City may use a mixture of detergents and water pressure to eliminate problematic stains, but they need to let you know if they are going to be spraying chemicals during your consultation.

It can be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done correctly. Powerful water pressure can break fragile or small pieces of the vinyl. A local company that does pressure washing all the time will know how to protect fragile areas, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

Your home’s roof is off limits for pressure washing if you have slate, tile or asphalt shingles. The pressure of the water can damage these materials and cause you to replace your home’s roof a lot sooner than expected.

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give KC Pressure Wash Co. a call at 816-227-6615 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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