Cleaning Guides

Soft Washing or Pressure Washing? The Best Choice for You

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Keeping your property in tip-top shape is no easy feat, especially for us Aussies. With our humidity and dust storms, nature is always out to get your property in some way. All jokes aside, it’s no exaggeration to say that cleaning your home’s exterior requires some proactive steps.

When we talk about cleaning exteriors, pressure washing pops into mind, but it might not be the best option for some more delicate surfaces. Here comes soft washing! What exactly do soft washing and pressure washing entail? Well, buckle up, mates! In the next few paragraphs, you’ll become an expert on the art of soft washing versus pressure washing. We’re talking pros, cons, and real-world uses. By the time you reach the end, you’ll have the knowledge to clean like a pro. Let’s dive in, shall we?

What is soft washing?

Soft washing is a cleaning method that uses low-pressure water combined with special cleaning solutions or chemical solutions. Whereas traditional pressure washing uses high-pressure water to remove dirt and grime, soft washing uses a softer touch to clean delicate surfaces without causing damage. Its name fits it very well in that regard.

Because soft washing is more gentle, you can use it to clean sensitive surfaces such as roofs, sidings, painted surfaces, and delicate landscaping features. It removes dirt, mould, mildew, algae, and other organic stains, but doesn’t cause structural damage or surface erosion.

Advantages of soft washing

You already know the advantages of soft washing, and it’s time you learned more.

  • It’s safer for delicate surfaces compared to high-pressure methods. It reduces the risk of damage to paint, shingles, and other exterior materials;
  • Soft washing is very effective in eliminating organic growths like algae, mould, and mildew, which are common nuisances on outdoor surfaces;
  • Soft washing often involves the use of biodegradable detergents and cleaning solutions, thus it’s environmentally friendly if you use it near your garden;
  • The low-pressure application of soft washing helps protect surrounding landscaping and vegetation from damage, so there’s minimal disruption to your outdoor environment.

Disadvantages of soft washing

While soft washing offers many advantages, it also has its drawbacks:

  • Soft washing isn’t as effective for removing stubborn stains or heavily embedded dirt as high-pressure washing;
  • It may not be suitable for cleaning hard surfaces like concrete or brick as grime and dirt are very tough to remove once they settle;
  • The special cleaning solutions required can increase the overall cost of the cleaning process;
  • It might take more time and effort to achieve the desired results compared to pressure washing, especially for larger or heavily soiled areas.

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What is pressure washing?

Also known as power washing, uses a high-pressure water spray to remove dirt, grime, mould, mildew, and other impurities. The pressure at which water comes out of the washer is significantly higher than the one used in soft washing, so you can use it to clean outdoor areas that are exposed to heavy foot traffic, vehicle traffic, or environmental elements. These surfaces have a very stubborn dirt build-up, which you can’t remove otherwise.

While both methods use high-pressure water spray, power washing involves the use of hot water and not just pressure. This combination of heat and pressure in power washing makes it more effective for removing tough stains, grease, and oil residues from surfaces.

Advantages of pressure washing

Let’s look at the reasons why you’d need this kind of cleaning equipment.

  • Pressure washing can greatly reduce the time and effort it takes you to clean large or heavily soiled areas compared to manual scrubbing or traditional cleaning methods. That alone is a huge benefit;
  • Power washing is highly versatile and effective for cleaning various hard surfaces like concrete, stone pavers, brick, asphalt, and metal. It can remove tough stains, mould, mildew, algae, grease, and oil residues from driveways, sidewalks, patios, decks, and other outdoor surfaces;
  • Pressure washing is also an efficient method for preparing surfaces before painting, sealing, or refinishing, as it removes dirt, debris, and contaminants. When those are removed, it provides for better adhesion and longer-lasting results for the paint and coating.

Disadvantages of pressure washing

While pressure washing offers great advantages, as you can see, it also has its limitations:

  • The high-pressure water spray can damage delicate surfaces like ‌wood, vinyl siding, painted surfaces, and any fragile landscaping features. Furthermore, improper technique or excessive pressure can cause surface erosion and paint stripping;
  • You need proper training and safety precautions to use a pressure washer. The powerful water spray can cause bodily harm or damage to nearby objects if you’re not careful and responsible with it;
  • Power-washing consumes a significant amount of water, which can be wasteful in regions with water scarcity or drought conditions. Runoff containing detergents, chemicals, and contaminants can also pose environmental risks if not properly managed and disposed of.

How to determine which is the best choice for you?

Now you know a little more about each, but might still feel stuck on which to choose. If that’s the case, this is what you should consider before making up your mind.

  • Surface materials – Soft washing is perfect for delicate surfaces like vinyl siding, painted wood, stucco, and roofing materials. With its gentle application of cleaning solutions, it reduces the risk of damage to these fragile surfaces. On the other hand, pressure washing is best suited for durable surfaces such as concrete, brick, stone pavers, and metal. Its high-pressure water spray effectively eliminates tough stains and grime from the sturdy materials;
  • Level of dirtiness – When it comes to dirtiness, soft washing excels in handling light to moderate dirt, mould, and mildew. It’s your go-to choice for routine maintenance and preventive cleaning tasks. In contrast, pressure washing is more suitable for heavy stains, grease, oil residues, and deeply embedded dirt as it offers a powerful solution to tackle stubborn grime and restore heavily soiled surfaces effectively;
  • Environmental impact – Soft washing typically involves using biodegradable detergents and eco-friendly cleaning solutions, which minimises its environmental impact. Pressure washing, on the other hand, consumes a considerable amount of water, which can contribute to water wastage, especially in regions with water scarcity. The runoff may contain detergents, chemicals, and contaminants, posing risks to the environment if not handled responsibly.

Cost of the cleaning

When it comes to cost, both soft washing and pressure washing have their pros and cons to consider. It’s common for many people to wonder, “Is soft washing more expensive than pressure washing?”. Soft washing might seem a bit pricier upfront due to the specialised equipment and the cleaning solutions it requires. However, in the long run, it can actually save you money by preventing damage to delicate surfaces.

On the flip side, pressure washing tends to be more budget-friendly initially, both in terms of equipment and services. However, it’s essential to note that the potential for surface damage or the need for frequent maintenance and repairs could lead to additional costs down the road.

Deciding between a professional service and DYI

Considering your budget and the potential long-term expenses, it’s important to weigh the upfront costs against the potential savings and maintenance requirements for both soft washing and pressure washing methods. When deciding between hiring professionals and DIY approaches, consider factors such as equipment availability, safety concerns, and cost implications. While DIY methods may seem cost-effective, hiring experienced professionals to do the pressure or soft washing ensures proper equipment usage, safety protocols, and optimal results.uipment usage, safety protocols, and optimal results.

Whether you opt for soft washing or pressure washing, prioritising the appropriate method based on surface type, dirt level, environmental impact, and cost considerations will help you achieve a clean and well-maintained home exterior.

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  • Soft washing suits delicate surfaces and light to moderate dirt, while pressure washing is best for durable surfaces and heavy stains;
  • Soft washing may seem costlier upfront but prevents damage, while pressure washing is initially budget-friendly but could lead to future costs;
  • Soft washing minimises damage to delicate surfaces, while pressure washing effectively tackles tough stains.

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