Soft Washing VS Pressure Washing: How Do They Differ and Which is Better?

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Soft Washing VS Pressure Washing

It’s only natural that any kind of exterior surface will slowly build up grime and dirt over time, eventually needing to be deep cleaned. While this is often a frustration, just one more item tacked onto our already full to-do lists, it’s still a problem that so many of us simply have to deal with. 

So now that you’ve decided that your house, deck, or other outdoor space needs a serious clean, the question that presents itself is – ”how best to do it?” Maybe you’ve heard of pressure washing being used to clean buildings before but aren’t certain if it’s the right choice for you or your home, or if soft washing might be a better choice. If that’s the case, read on! We’re excited to share our expertise with you, and offer up all the important information you’ll need to make an informed decision about the best cleaning method for your personal needs. 

The Basics

The most important baseline information to keep in mind is differentiating the three different methods: pressure washing, power washing, and soft washing. 

Confusingly enough, these three terms can sometimes be used somewhat interchangeably by both professionals and laypeople alike. However, generally speaking, most professionals will use the terms “power washing” or “pressure washing” as a generic way of referring to any kind of cleaning method using a stream of aimed, pressurised water. 

Even though these terms can be used somewhat generically, power washing, pressure washing, and soft washing are all separate practices that each refer to specific levels of cleaning. Power washing is the most forceful and extreme, soft washing the most gentle, and pressure washing falls in the middle. 

Power Washing

As we mentioned, power washing is the most powerful option of the three levels. Power washers are designed to blast surfaces with water that is both very hot and being sprayed with a very high PSI (pressure per square inch). This combination of high pressure and high heat means that power washers are a great option for their ability to sanitise surfaces and cut through organic matter and grime very quickly and efficiently, if the surface is strong enough to withstand the extreme pressure and heat. 

However, it has to be noted that, due to their high-powered nature, power washers are also potentially very dangerous in untrained hands. For this reason, these machines are not generally readily accessible to the public and are often only used by trained professionals for commercial and industrial purposes such as cleaning driveways, stone walls, and exterior concrete. 

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is the next level down in intensity – pressure washing still involves spraying highly pressured water, but not at high temperatures. Even with the added heat, pressure washers are still potentially dangerous if misused. At 60,000 PSI, a pressure washer is capable of carving a pumpkin, descaling a fish, or (more commonly) cutting a human finger down to the bone. 

The combination of high pressure and low heat make pressure washing an ideal choice for hard surfaces, especially those with difficult to clean deep grooves that collect dirt over time. Most often, this refers to walking surfaces, decks, patio furniture, or stone walkways or other features. Pressure washing can also be used to clean home sidings, though this requires care and expertise to avoid damaging softer materials like vinyl or wood shingles. 

Soft Washing

While soft washing is the gentlest cleaning method we’ll look at today, it is still a form of pressure washing. Generally, soft washing refers to washers that operate at less than 500 PSI, using a special tip to widen the spray of water, thus lowering pressure. 

Additionally, soft washing makes use of a specialised cleaning solution designed to break down dirt, algae, mould and mildew. This cleaning solution is eco friendly and specially designed to not harm softer woods or the protective coatings on the outside of buildings. For many older homes with softer wood construction, this is by far the best choice to clean and preserve the exterior.

Which Option is Right for You?

As you’ve no doubt gathered, each method of pressure washing is best suited to a different range of jobs. Additionally, the specialized machinery that keeps water under pressure can easily be dangerous to the user or harmful to the surface or structure being washed if not used correctly. So which option is the right one for you?

Generally speaking, power washing is something you’ll likely never DIY. The high temperature, high-pressure machine is dangerous unless used by trained professionals, so it’s seen chiefly in more industrial contexts such as cleaning large, stone buildings like schools. 

Pressure washing, on the other hand, is great for washing driveways and other hard surfaces, stripping loose paint from house siding, or removing old wood fibres or loose paint from a deck. 

Soft washing is excellent for cleaning more delicate materials and surfaces (like stucco), for removing dirt or mould from smooth surfaces, or just any surface that you want to clean without harming structural integrity. If you have a classic Queenslander home, soft washing should be the only option you consider to preserve the wood surface and paint work but still get an excellent clean.

Not Sure What Your Property Needs? Call the Experts!

We hope this article has given you some insight into the different forms of pressure washing available. 

​​No job is too big or small for Boost Exterior Cleaning. We specialise in soft washing and we provide a complete exterior cleaning service using the appropriate pressure for the job. 

At Boost, we offer a full range of exterior cleaning services to boost the appearance of your investment. We have the equipment to do the job right and take pride in every job we do. We will assess your premises and determine the best mix of chemicals and pressure to apply to clean your exterior surfaces without damaging your property.

Our cleaning process using the right pressure and chemicals for your job will ensure your building looks its best for years to come. Get your free quote today!

Located in Tarragindi and serving the Southside of the Brisbane area, we specialise in:

  • Softwashing
  • Industrial surface cleaning
  • Pressure cleaning
  • Commercial building exterior cleaning
  • House washing
  • Parking lots
  • Driveway pressure cleaning
  • Concrete cleaning
  • Body Corporate cleaning
  • Concrete & Tile sealing
  • Pre-sale house washing
  • End of lease cleaning
  • Tennis court cleaning
  • Shopping Centres
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