Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing: What You Need to Know [infographic]

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When it comes to exterior cleaning, there are two main methods to turn to – traditional pressure washing, and a newer alternative called soft washing. At first glance, these methods might appear so similar that it wouldn’t matter which you chose for your property, but that would be an incorrect assumption. Let’s explore these two methods and take a closer look at what distinguishes them.

Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing: What You Need to Know

Defining the Basics – Let’s start with a basic definition for each method.

  • Soft washing is a cleaning technique that combines low-pressure water and a specially developed cleaning blend to emulsify grime and lift it away from surfaces.
  • Pressure washing is a cleaning technique that mainly depends on high-pressure water to forcibly blast dirt and contaminants from a surface, though cleaners or detergents are occasionally used.

Units of Pressure – One of the key differences between soft washing and pressure washing is the PSI each method requires. PSI (pounds per square inch) is a measurement unit that represents the force exerted on a surface area.

  • Soft washing equipment typically reaches no higher than 200 PSI, and the pressure can be compared to that of a garden hose or a handheld sprayer, like what you might use to apply fertilizer to your lawn.
  • Pressure washing equipment can achieve a PSI range of anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 PSI, which is most common for equipment that you rent and operate yourself, but commercial or professional-grade pressure washing equipment can easily achieve a PSI rating of over 3,000. These models are easily strong enough to strip paint from a surface.

Water Usage – Another major difference between soft washing and pressure washing is how much water they require. The flow rate for each is measured in gallons per minute (GPM), and the lower the GPM, the less water being used.

  • Soft washing generally has a flow rate that ranges between .5 and 2 GPM.
  • Depending on the equipment model, pressure washing ranges between 1.5 and 4+ GPM.

Appropriate Surfaces – Regarding surface safety, there’s a clear winner between soft washing and pressure washing.

  • Soft washing is gentle and effective enough to be used on virtually any exterior surface, from roofing to siding to sidewalks.
  • Pressure washing is only appropriate for durable surfaces like concrete. Using it on other, more delicate surfaces poses the risk of cracking, pitting, scoring, and other damage.

Duration of Results – Another key difference is how long you can expect to enjoy the results of each cleaning method.

  • Soft washing requires a specially blended detergent that kills and emulsifies contaminants like mold, moss, mildew, algae, and bacteria. Because it targets the issue’s root, the results frequently last four to six times longer than pressure washing.
  • Pressure washing depends on force to remove contaminants. This means that roots and spores are often left on or around the surface, leading to significantly faster regrowth when compared to soft washing.

At Safely Softwash, we believe there is a clear winner for safe, effective exterior cleaning. To learn more about the benefits of soft washing or to schedule an appointment with our team, contact us today!