It’s a question we often hear: pressure washing vs soft washing… which is better? Here’s what you need to know…
As the weather warms and Spring flowers are helping our homes look so fresh and beautiful—the last thing you want to see is grime (or worse), clinging to your siding, roof, deck and hardscapes.
Of course, keeping the exterior of your home clean isn’t just about aesthetics, either. Mildew, fungi, algae, and mold, can damage exterior surfaces and be a serious health hazard. The two main options you’re likely to encounter are pressure washing and soft washing.
To help know which is the better choice for getting that awful gunk off your home, it helps to understand their differences.
Pressure washing involves spraying water at very high intensity—often between 1300 and 3100 PSI (pounds per square Inch)—over surfaces that are stained. The force alone drives water into crevices and under stains, blasting all the unwanted matter away. Usually it’s a method reserved for hardscape, like stone, concrete, or brick pavers.
While this is effective—and a terrific choice for certain applications—using this method isn’t for every situation. It requires the right equipment, in the right hands on the right surfaces. For instance, if we’re cleaning a driveway, we’ll add a surface cleaner (an attachment that helps water at high pressure spray more evenly), to the pressure washing equipment so our trained team can safely create a clean, streak-less finish.
But in the wrong hands, without the correct tools, or on softer or porous surfaces like siding, roofs or decks, the downsides can quickly multiply.
What are the possible downsides to DIY pressure washing?
- Damaged surfaces: the directed pressure can be hard to control, and even hardscape surfaces can start to chip away if the stream lingers too long in one area. We’ve seen driveways or walkways that have started to flake as a result of past incorrect pressure washing. And when used on wood or siding, the high-pressure jets can inject water into wood and cause it to rot, or soak the insulation in walls.
- Unsightly streaks: as you direct the wand across a surface, the high-pressure stream can leave streaks that result in an unattractive striped or mottled appearance.
- Permanent dents and indentations: many surfaces—even those you think are plenty hard—are not at all suited for pressure washing. They can be easily damaged and dented by water at high pressure, especially in amateur hands. Siding, brick (grout, especially), and even driveways are more easily damaged than you may expect.
- Damage to landscape beds and plantings: A high-pressure jet can shred leaves and grass, and will certainly send mulch or gravel flying all over your lawn. Even the indirect spray that bounces off a cleaning area can be too intense for many plantings.
- Risk of serious injury: Water coming out of the pressure washer is much harder to control than most people realize. It’s truly demanding work that can leave you flat on your back for several days. And that high-pressure stream has an alarming cutting power that can easily cut deep if it accidentally comes into contact with your body.
Unfortunately, we see the results of disastrous pressure washing attempts all too often. It’s definitely not a job for the untrained!
So how does Soft Washing differ—and what sort of cleaning power will IT deliver?
Soft washing also involves higher-than-normal water pressure, but typically less than 500 PSI—meaning you can safely put your hand in its path. In addition to water under pressure, the soft washing stream includes a mixture of soap and bleach. (We’ve developed a proprietary blend that combines sodium hypochlorite and detergent in just the right balance to clean surfaces brilliantly, without entering chemical overdrive!)
This combination offers a trifecta of cleaning power that lifts, dissolves and/or rinses away all that dirt, algae, mold and mildew, restoring the dank and dark to fresh and bright, for just about every type of surface around your home:
- Vinyl siding, cedar shake siding, brick and stucco
- Decking, pergolas, wood stairs or railings
- Pressed and stained concrete
- Windows, screens and enclosures
- Roof shingles
Last but not least, it’s important, when cleaning in and around landscaping, to choose a professional who knows how to protect your valuable plantings. We’ve mastered the process! By lubricating greenery and shrubs before cleaning, and then rinsing thoroughly, we ensure the home’s exterior gets clean, and the plantings are protected! Here Ty shows you how…
So, Pressure Washing or Soft Washing…Which is Better?
At Dr Detail Pro, we can help you consider which is better, pressure washing vs soft washing, for your home’s surfaces. Plus, we have the experience and equipment to leave your home sparkling and ready for summer! We invite you to get your free quote today.