Keeping the exterior of your home, decks, and patios clean increases curb appeal, but it also deters the growth of mold and mildew. Professional cleaning is best in this case, and depending on what is being cleaned, will determine what method or combination of will work best. While both services offer numerous benefits, this guide explains when each is appropriate. 

Soft Washing

Soft washing is a somewhat new industry term that can have slight meaning differences.  But most professionals agree that, in general, soft washing uses special detergents and cleansers to break down organic growth, dirt, and grime, making it easy to rinse with low water pressure. These cleansers are applied via a cleaning wand, which uses light pressure and high water volume when spraying. Cleansing agents sit on the surface for a few minutes. This allows time for detergents to fully penetrate grime, which will then be efficiently removed via rinsing. Soft washing chemicals are usually applied either using a pressure washer via a downstream injector or with a dedicated pump system.

Because soft washing uses low pressure, it can be used on more delicate areas of the home.  It is also the best method to clean most types of siding, including vinyl, stucco, brick, aluminum, etc.  The technique is also used for cleaning most roofing materials, including asphalt, but usually requires stronger chemical mixes.

Pressure Washing

pressure washing

Pressure washing, to most professionals, has come to mean using only pressure to clean.  Instead of using chemicals to help kill organics and break down grime, these devices use a highly pressurized stream of water to physically remove dirt and grime from surfaces. While it can depend on equipment settings, some pressure washers are capable of reaching 3,000 PSI or more, which is an intense amount of force. 

While it can be very helpful in cleaning hard surfaces like concrete, that much force can damage the exterior of your home.  On oxidized/sunfaded surfaces, it can make the surface look uneven by removing some oxidation but not all of it.  Also, water pressure alone does not kill the organic growth like algae, moss, lichen, mildew.  This makes it much more difficult to remove and will result in the growth coming back much quicker, requiring more frequent cleaning.  Pressure alone is almost never used anymore by professional cleaners.

Most professional pressure washing/soft washing companies use both of these methods, depending on what type of material or surface is being cleaned.  In most applications, some combination of these methods is almost always used. These terms are sometimes used incorrectly and it can be confusing for homeowners. Even industry professionals sometimes use the wrong terms, but always ask to make sure that the company you hire does not use pressure only.  If they do not use some combination of these methods, they should not be cleaning your home.


Now that you know the difference between soft and pressure washing, you can make a decision with confidence. In Vernon, NJ, All County Window Cleaning is also happy to help customers make the right decision thanks to more than 20 years of experience. These skilled technicians combine their knowledge with state-of-the-art equipment to clean your home, driveway, windows, and more. They're also available all year long for optimum curb appeal. Learn more about the services they provide by visiting the website. You can also call (973) 827-8311 to schedule an appointment at your home today.