Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the outside of your home can get during the course of a year. Some of the most typical stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give any home an unkempt, messy look, regardless of if you invest a lot of time and maintenance into it.

Some of these materials, like dirt or mud, are harmless, but algae and mold can be damaging to both your health and your home. They create allergens that can impact your family, and some, like algae, can grow underneath vinyl or roofing and enter your home.

As a professional power washing service in Oxnard, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once a year. Spring is the most popular time to do an extreme home exterior cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year as 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 method to properly clean vinyl siding, brick and painted surfaces. Now in 2021, homeowners in Oxnard have a second option for exterior home cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system uses much less power 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 slightly more powerful than a typical backyard lawn hose.

Soft washing uses a mixture of detergent, bleach and water in some combination to get rid of organic matter from your home, roof and other outdoor surfaces. The mixture used in a soft washing system can also include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help 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 is required. This means that soft washing can be used for delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged by harsher pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes rinsed off, but not always. This just depends on what type of solution is used, if there is plant or animal life that could be affected by the runoff, and if the chemicals are strong enough to harm surfaces over time.

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


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

This cleaning system uses water only, no chemicals, to get rid of stains and organisms from exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a major plus to property owners who don’t want to use chemicals, whether for the environment’s sake or to avoid zoning violations.

The pressure washing process can be used on a lot of different materials. Home owners frequently prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, walkways and patio furniture because it is fast, efficient and affordable.

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

One negative about power washing is that the water is sometimes too powerful and can harm the surfaces you want to clean. Pressure washing is strong enough to put grooves in wood and plastic, and it can get into cracks, breaking off chunks of stone or brick.


The ultimate 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 of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional – and truthfully, are more correctly done when left to the pros.

Soft washing is perfect for outdoor toys, gardening 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 removes organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it prevents future growth for longer than power washing can.

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

Pressure washing is the recommended choice for difficult stains, and hard surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred process for commercial surfaces. A professional pressure washing service in Oxnard may use a combination of detergents and water pressure to remove tough stains, but they need to let you know if they will be using chemicals during your estimate.

It can also be used on siding as well (and has been for several years) as long as it is done carefully. High water pressure can break off weak or small pieces of the vinyl. A local service that does power washing all the time are going to know how to protect these pieces, but a amateur might do a lot of harm.

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

Deciding between soft washing or power washing is best left for a professional pressure washing service. Which method is right for your home? Give Oxnard Pressure Washing a call at 805-272-7545 and we’ll send a trained technician over to take a look!

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