Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

soft washing gutters on a roof

It is shocking how dirty the siding, wood or brick of your house can get during the course of a year. Some of the most common stains include dirt or mud splatter, algae, mold and mildew. These types of stains can give any house an unkempt, messy look, even though you invest a lot of time, money and care into it.

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

As a professional power washing service in McKinney, we recommend that you have your home’s exterior cleaned once every 12 months. Spring is the most common time to do an intense home exterior cleaning, but you can really do it any time throughout the year as long as the weather permits.


All of the following home 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, brick and painted home surfaces. Now, homeowners in McKinney have another option for exterior house cleaning: soft washing.

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


The soft wash system uses much less power 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 created from a nozzle with a wider spray setting, only a little more powerful than a typical backyard hose.

Soft washing uses detergent, bleach and water in combination to remove organic matter from your home, roof and other exterior surfaces. The solution used in a soft washing process can include algaecides and residual inhibitors to help stop 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 needed. This means that soft washing should be used for more delicate surfaces that would otherwise be damaged by more powerful pressure washing equipment.

The soft wash solution is sometimes washed 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 chemicals are powerful enough to harm surfaces over time.

Soft washing offers the advantage of getting into cracks to kill even unseen bacteria, meaning that its effects can last a lot longer than power washing.


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

This cleaning system uses water only, there are no chemicals, to remove stains and mold from home exterior surfaces. The use of chemical-free water is a big advantage to home 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 many different materials. Home owners frequently prefer power washing for cleaning their driveway, porches, decks, sidewalks and outdoor furniture because it is quick, more efficient and affordable.

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

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


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

Both soft washing and pressure washing methods are good for your home’s exterior, including sidewalks, driveways and more. Both of these cleaning systems can be done by a professional company – and honestly, are more effectively done when left to the pros.

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

It eliminates organisms that are present on the exterior surface, and it stops future growth for a lot 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 with water before spraying the soft wash solution on your house or roof, and it won’t be a problem.

Pressure washing is the recommended method for severe stains, and harder surfaces like concrete, brick and stone. Pressure washing is the preferred process for commercial properties. A local pressure washing service in McKinney might use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to get rid of tough stains, but they need to tell you if they will be spraying chemicals after your consultation.

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

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

Choosing between pressure washing or soft washing is best left for a pressure washing service. Which process is right for your house? Give MXG McKinney Pressure Washing a call at 214-544-9349 and we will send an experienced technician over to take a look!

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