Soft Wash vs. Power Wash: Which Is Better For Your Home

While washing the exterior of your home regularly can help to keep it clean and protect the paint, washing your home by hand can be a time consuming process. Yet, many homeowners are hesitant to power wash their homes due to the risk that it could damage their roof, siding, or nearby plants. This has caused a rise in popularity of house soft washing.

Soft washing is similar to power washing except that instead of high pressure water it uses a gentle stream of water together with cleaners to remove dirt, mold, and mildew from a home’s exterior. Is soft washing the best choice when cleaning your home?

In this article we will examine the difference between soft washing and power washing and explain why soft washing is usually the preferable solution for cleaning your home’s exterior.

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What Is Soft Washing?

Soft washing is a process that uses low pressure water to safely clean the exterior of your home. This cleaning system uses detergents that are specifically meant for soft washing. Some of these detergents will have a bleach base so that they quickly break down mold, algae, and other biological contaminants. Other cleansers used for soft washing will be very gentle and biodegradable, so they’re safe around your garden, flowerbeds, and other such landscape features. As a result of the cleaning solutions, everything gets removed quickly at a low pressure.

What Is Power Washing?

Power washing is a procedure that uses high pressure water flow to clean your home’s exterior. A power washer can generate up to 4000 psi (pounds per square inch) of water pressure (by contrast a soft wash operates at 250-300 psi) more than enough force to damage your home’s siding, roofing material, and other surfaces.

How Are They Alike?

Both methods use water to clean surfaces, soft washing uses low pressure while power washing uses high pressure.

Both methods can be used to clean a variety of surfaces including siding, roofing, concrete, brick, stone, etc.

Both methods are effective at removing dirt, grime, moss, and algae from exterior surfaces.

Head-to-Head: Soft Washing vs. Power Washing

Cleaning Efficiency

Soft washing is more efficient than power washing. It takes less time to clean surfaces with detergent and soft water than with high pressure water. The job can be done quickly and for less money. Additionally, you won’t have any leftover stains from the use of too much pressure, like what can happen when a high pressure washer is applied unevenly to your home.


Harm to Surfaces

One of the biggest risks of power washing is that it can cause consequential damage to your home’s exterior surfaces. High pressure can damage siding and roofing materials, and even produce holes in the surface if not used correctly. Soft washing is a safer choice because it does not utilize any high pressure water.

Moss and Algae Eradication

Moss and algae can prove difficult to remove with a power washer because they become entrenched in the surface of your home’s exterior. Using high pressure to extricate these stubborn contaminants can easily cause damage to your surfaces. Soft washing is a better option because using less pressure minimizes the risk of damage while trying to remove these pesky organisms.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that using just pressure to wash away mold, algae, and mildew may not be sufficient for a thorough cleaning. A power wash might rinse away the surface of these substances, but force alone won’t kill their spores. In turn, you may soon see your roof or concrete driveway covered again with moss and other unwanted growth, even after those surfaces are power washed.

The cleansers used for soft washing, however, are specifically meant to kill biological growth including the spores of mold, algae, mildew, and the like as well as bacteria, germs, and other harmful substances. Killing these spores is like killing the roots of a plant so that nothing grows back. Removing germs and bacteria also means fewer irritants on your property, so the air is fresher and safer for both people and pets.

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Cost and Time Saving

Because soft washing cleans more effectively and lasts 4-6 times longer than power washing, you won’t need to get a cleaning as often. Fewer cleaning means less exterior maintenance. That’s a statement every homeowner can get behind! Soft washing is also the preferred way to clean your wood decks.

Plus, because soft washing is also safer, you’ll have less expenses from repairing damaged roofs, fences, siding, or landscaping. Also, with regular roof cleaning to prevent build up of algae, mildew, and mold, you can save money on roof repairs and replacements. With soft washing, spending some money now to save a lot of money later is definitely worth your while.

Higher Pressure Means More Water Waste

Power washers use anywhere from 3 to 8 gallons of water per minute. In one hour of cleaning, a pressure washer can use from 180 gallons upward to 480 gallons of water!

Alternatively, soft washing just applies roughly 60 gallons of cleaning which amounts to about 40 gallons of water. That’s a huge savings on the environment, your roof, and your water bill.


With power washing you need to be close to the surface you are cleaning. If you want to clean the second story exteriors or the roof, you will need to set up a ladder or scaffolding. It may also take a long time because you have to take more precautions when using high pressure water.

In comparison, a soft wash requires less set-up time, as the process can be done entirely from the ground, and thus results in less labor.

How Do You Know If It’s Time for a Wash

There are some key signs that it’s time to give the exterior of your home some attention, but some of those signs may not be so obvious. The aesthetics of your home are a great reason to get your home washed, but there are other signs that it’s time to call in professionals beyond just things looking a bit dirty.


The roof is discolored and has streaks.

This is more than a cosmetic issue, though it’s certainly unsightly. Over time, algae can cause  streaks or discoloration on your roof, which can cause serious damage. Repairing damage can cost significantly more than just having your roof professionally cleaned a few times a year, depending on the severity.

You’re paying more for your power.

In some cases, the build up on the outside of your home can impact how well temperatures are regulated which means that your AC unit, furnace, heat pump, or gas fireplace has to work that much harder to make your home comfortable.

Your gutters are overflowing.

Gutter cleaning is often a neglected homeowner task, but it’s essential. When gutters are fully clogged and overflowing, water can’t drain from your roof. Damage to your roof and home is often a result. A soft wash can remove those clogs and regular gutter cleaning can keep it from getting worse.

The exterior of your home looks dirty.

This one seems obvious, but when your house looks dirty it’s just unsightly.

A Few Tips on Keeping Your Property Clean and Free of Damage

Having the exterior surfaces of your property properly soft washed is one of the best ways of keeping everything clean and in good repair, but note a few simple tips for maintaining the exterior surfaces of any residential or commercial property.

  • Trim tree branches that hang over a structure’s roof. Cutting back branches will reduce the amount of debris that drops onto the roof including: seeds, twigs, leaves, pine straw, and bird droppings. Exposing the roof to sunlight may also reduce the risk of mold, mildew, and algae growing under the shingles.
  • Be sure to have wood and stone fences and concrete surfaces properly sealed as needed. Regular application of sealants will protect these materials from absorbing moisture and humidity so they don’t get soft and then crack, chip, or outright crumble.
  • If your vehicle leaks fluid on your residential driveway, have the leak fixed, or park the car over some cardboard to protect the concrete asphalt from getting cracked or chipped.
  • Clean dropped food and spilled beverages as well as pet stains from a wooden deck as quickly as possible so the wood doesn’t absorb those stains and become soft and warped.
  • Be sure you’re using the right type of paint for any exterior surface and for your local climate. Paint helps protect surfaces from damage, but only if you use the right type for the job, apply it correctly, and reapply it as needed over the years.
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Which One to Choose?

Soft washing is a more efficient, safe, and environmentally-friendly way to clean the exterior surfaces of your home. It causes less damage while still getting rid of all the dirt, grime, algae, moss, and mildew from your house.

Summing Up the Benefits of Soft Washing

If you have not had your home soft washed, here are just the few benefits that this process could provide you with:

Prevents Damage

One of the main reasons why soft washing is so popular amongst homeowners is that soft washing is less likely to damage their home’s exterior. One of the main problems with power washing is that it can cause damage if it’s not done right. Additionally, the high pressure at which water is sprayed onto a home’s exterior can also force water underneath the home’s siding which can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage. Soft washing will still allow you to get all of the dirt and grime off your home’s exterior while mitigating the risk of damage.

Protects Your Family

Not only does soft washing protect your home, but it can also help to protect your family. Soft washing is extremely effective at killing mold, mildew, and bacteria that may be living on your home’s exterior. Not only does it protect your home from damage, but it also protects your family’s health as mold and mildew can cause a variety of respiratory problems including allergies and asthma.

Improves Curb Appeal

Of course having your home soft washed will also help to improve your home’s curb appeal by removing years of dirt, grime, and debris. You will be surprised by the extent to which washing your home’s exterior can transform the way it looks. Soft washing can even help to remove unsightly stains that may have been on your home’s exterior for years without damaging the siding or causing it to fade.

Looking for a Soft Washing Company?

Looking for a local soft washing company that can get the job done right? Look no further than Southern Style Soft Wash serving Bluffton, SC, and Hilton Head, SC, as well as Pooler, GA.

Contact us today to learn about our services or to schedule a free consultation.