The Difference Between Soft Washing & Power Washing

Even though the terms power washing and soft washing are often used as synonyms, there are differences between these two methods. Both services can create dramatic results by washing away the dirt and grime that builds up over time. Pressurized water is focused on the area that needs to be cleaned, helping to lift the dirt and restore the overall appearance (and cleanliness) of the original materials.

Both soft washing and power washing falls into the “pressure washing” category. The equipment directs water at high pressure, cutting away organic materials that need to be removed. Use caution, because the extreme pressure can be dangerous. Since the water is pushed at such a high rate, an accident can cut a finger to the bone. Or, the incorrect use of pressure washing could damage the exterior materials on your home. 

Pressure cleaning is one of the most effective ways to keep your costs low while giving a building a facelift. It’s a simple solution to ensure your building and property look clean. Many people feel deep satisfaction from removing the layers of dirt to uncover the original materials. 

Here are a few things you need to know about these two services:

What is Soft Washing?

Soft washing is similar to pressure washing or power washing, but the equipment is modified to reduce the Pressure per Square Inch (PSI). For a cleaning or rinsing application, soft wash systems use less than 500 PSI. The tip of the washer widens the spray (compared to regular pressure washing), which helps to reduce the point of pressure.

At the same time, soft washing methods can also use other cleaning solutions to optimize the results. For example, organisms and dirt can be broken down using specific ingredients. Rest assured knowing that these cleaning solutions are designed to be eco-friendly. Also, you can use soft washing on exterior surfaces without worrying about damage to the materials on your home.

The most effective application for soft washing is when you have soft surfaces that need to be cleaned, such as:

  • Screen enclosures
  • Stucco
  • Coquina
  • Rooted outdoor plants
  • Wood panel siding
  • Cedar shake siding
  • Vinyl siding
  • Outdoor furniture

When you are comparing the application of soft washing with power washing, you’ll see that soft washing delivers the water and cleanser products at lower pressure, but a higher volume of water is used to complete the job. The pressure is safer, with the cleansers being used to help break down the compounds that need to be removed.

What is Power Washing? 

Power washing works similarly to most pressure washers, but the notable difference is the application of heat. The combination of spraying hot water at high pressure not only breaks down the organic materials that need to be cleaned, but the heat of the water also helps by sanitizing the surfaces as well.

In the same way that hot water makes it easy to wash the dishes or clean your hands, this application of hot water provides healthy-duty results by lifting the grime that builds up over time.

These machines are heavy-duty, which means that power washing should only be done by professionals. The equipment can be dangerous to you and your home when used incorrectly, which is why it isn’t recommended that you try a DIY approach.

Power washing is commonly used for cleaning outdoor elements such as rough concrete, stone walls, and driveways. It can be a good option to remove mold and mildew and prevent these problems from returning. Often, power washing is used in industrial and commercial settings.

High-pressure water can be beneficial for a variety of cleaning projects:

  • Washing old concrete
  • Preparing decks before stain application
  • Preparing aluminum or wood surfaces for painting
  • Removing loose paint from siding
  • Cleaning up walkways, driveways, and patios
  • Public space cleanings such as parking garages, open-air plazas, stadiums, and cinemas

Keep in mind that pressure washing can easily damage the surfaces of your home when used incorrectly. So, it’s best to hire a professional team for assistance with the project.

Which is Better? 

Which cleaning method is best for your needs? It depends on the area of your home that should be cleaned. Power washing, pressure washing, and soft washing can all be used, but it’s smart to talk to a professional for custom recommendations for your exterior cleaning. Here are some of the most common applications of these services:

  • Soft Washing: This method works best for soft materials such as screens, stucco, wood siding, vinyl siding, or outdoor furniture. 
  • Pressure Washing: Most of the time, pressure washing is used for walking surfaces such as stone pathways and decks. Surfaces that are hard and consist of deep grooves often work best with pressure washing.
  • Power Washing: It is common to use power washing on rough concrete, stone walls, and driveways. This treatment is a great solution for industrial and commercial environments.

For general cleaning projects, soft washing is often the recommended application because you can clean the surface and minimize damage at the same time. If you need a standard cleaning, then we’ll likely recommend soft washing. If you are looking for heavy-duty cleaning, then power washing might be a better solution.

Do You Need a Professional? 

Since pressure washing can be dangerous, it’s best to hire a professional for these services. Incorrect use of the equipment can cause serious injury. Additionally, it could potentially result in expensive damage to wood, siding, and shingles. 

Not only do you need the right soft washing equipment, but specific training needs to be completed to protect your safety. It can be dangerous for a novice to use this equipment. Care needs to be taken to maintain the right distance and PSI of the power washer.

Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from professional washing services:

  • Deep Cleaning: Even if you are consistent with a regular cleaning schedule, all areas need to be deep cleaned occasionally. Pressure washing, including both power washing and soft washing, can be a great way to quickly clean the area without heavy labor.
  • Health: The build-up of mold, dirt, algae, and other organic matter can have an impact on your health. Ongoing exposure to these compounds can result in serious health consequences for everyone in the area. Pressure washing removes these compounds from the surfaces, helping to also reduce the likelihood of spores being released into the air.
  • Effectiveness: Sometimes, the buildup of these organic compounds can be difficult to eliminate. For example, you might try using a garden hose or cleaning products without success. If you want to remove the problem, then pressure washing is a fast and effective solution.
  • Safety: There are serious risks if something goes wrong with DIY pressure washing. Even if you have access to the right equipment, be careful to avoid injury. Also, consider the potential financial costs if you damage your home. You might need to pay an expensive bill for repairs or replacements if the siding is damaged.

You can talk to our team about personal recommendations for the types of services you need. The type of washing used will depend on the materials in your home. Usually, homeowners need either soft washing or power washing. But we can also offer a combination of both services if needed. For example, if the home is being cleaned from top to bottom, then power washing can be used for concrete and stone. Next, soft washing can be used for the siding, roof, and windows. 

Contact Tandem Contracting Today!

If you are going to hire a washing company, then it’s important to do your research. Anyone can buy a power washing machine and claim to be an expert. But hiring a reputable team is essential to protect your property and ensure the long-term results of this treatment.

As you are evaluating your options for soft washing or power washing, learn about the companies that offer this service. Talk to the team for information about licensing and certifications. Also, you should only hire a crew with insurance coverage. If something goes wrong, an insurance policy can offer the coverage you need for repairs or replacement.

Not only are pressure washing services available for large jobs like commercial sites. But we are also here to assist with the small jobs that tend to pile up over time. If you have a long list of home improvements that need to be handled, then talk to our experienced team to get the help that you need. We believe that no job is too big or too small – we’re here to help with anything that you need.

At Tandem Contracting, we work hard to offer quality services and the safety our customers need. If you’d like to learn more about power washing or soft washing, then contact us at your convenience. We’ll schedule a consultation to discuss the work and the potential results. We are also happy to offer an estimate so you know the anticipated cost of cleaning.

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