Pressure washing isn’t a one-stop-shop solution. In some cases, you might want to consider soft washing.
One is perfect for challenging surfaces, and the other is ideal for fragile areas, but like most things, there’s a lot to learn.
This article will help you differentiate soft washing vs. pressure washing by definition, similarities, differences, pros, and cons.
Plus, we’ll also throw in some frequently asked questions to wrap things up. Let’s begin!
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Co-owner & Service Director
Hey there, I’m Cody.
A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you.
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Before we get into details, check out this brief overview.
What is soft washing?
Soft washing is a low-pressure method that safely cleans delicate surfaces. It typically utilizes a low pressure, less than 500 psi, that allows you to safely wash roof shingles.
Aside from that, the soft washing technique also applies cleaning solutions such as bleach, surfactant, neutralizers, and odor removers.
These solutions soften organisms like algae, mold, moss, and dirt, thus, slowly but effectively cleaning delicate surfaces.
What is pressure washing?
Pressure washing operates with a high-pressure water spray between 1,300 to 3500 PSI or more, depending on the project.
This cleaning method blasts tough stains and organic matter from various surfaces but is not recommended for brittle materials such as wood.
With this, pressure washers come in an electric and gas-powered models with different nozzles.
However, the downside is that pressure washers can cause severe damage if not operated appropriately.
Relevant characteristics chart
Utilizes 500 PSI or less plus cleaning solutions
Recommended for fragile surfaces/materials such as:
Recommended for hard surfaces such as:
Similarities and differences explained
Now, let’s break down the similarities and differences between pressure washing and soft washing.
Let’s start with the differences:
Soft wash is for gentle work, which is why it operates at 500 PSI or less. Cleaning solutions are applied first, slowly disintegrating the microorganisms, and will be rinsed with a soft wash afterward.
While pressure washing takes advantage of its pressurized power, the range is roughly 1,500 PSI and above, depending on the chore. This method doesn’t typically use cleaning agents.
Soft washing is perfect for any brittle areas or surfaces, reducing the risk of damage.
On the other hand, pressure washing is recommended for tough materials.
Both models can remove specific dirt using water with their recommended PSI.
What about power washing?
Power washing is very similar to pressure washing; however, it blasts hot water.
Additionally, power washing is mainly for outdoor areas such as driveways, rough concrete, etc.
This method is considered heavy-duty and used by professionals in commercial and industrial settings.
Power washing is not recommended for beginners because of the danger it poses to you and your surroundings.
The temperature can get up to 311 °F, so it is best to understand the melting point of any particular object or area to be cleaned.
Since power washing releases hot, high-pressure water, it is also fit for sanitizing areas and surfaces.
In a nutshell, soft washing, and pressure washing are effective methods to tackle specific projects.
- Soft washing eradicates stubborn microorganisms from delicate structures
- While pressure washing blasts away grime from more durable areas.
Beginners can use both with great caution.
However, soft washing is more user-friendly since it has 500 PSI or less than pressure washing.
If you are concerned about a surface’s material being harmed, then you can always seek the help of experts like us!
Frequently asked questions
We compiled some of the most common questions to clear up any hesitations:
Is soft washing better than pressure washing?
No, both methods are great; soft wash systems use low-pressure wash and cleaning agents to eliminate pollutants without damaging fragile surfaces.
On the other hand, pressure washing uses extremely powerful high-pressure wash to clean concrete and tough areas.
Overall, it depends on what needs to be cleaned.
What is soft washing good for?
Soft washing is perfect for fragile house exteriors and roof systems with bacteria, moss, mold, mildew, and other contaminants. This method can safely eradicate the surface without harming the material.
How long does a soft wash on a house last?
A soft wash can last up to 12-18, depending on the surface’s state and the area’s season. The season can greatly welcome the growth of bacteria, etc.
Is pressure washing a good idea?
Absolutely; for a thorough and faster cleaning, pressure washing is perfect.
What shouldn’t I pressure wash?
It’s no secret that pressure washing can help blast away dirt, but it can also cause severe damage (and injuries) if mishandled.
Below are some of the things that you should not pressure wash:
- Lead Paint
- Old Mortar
- Aircon Unit
- Asphalt Shingles
Can you damage concrete by pressure washing?
Without proper care and caution, you can damage concrete from pressure washing. Using the correct nozzle, applying the recommended PSI, and exercising the appropriate way to handle the equipment is vital.