Pressure Washing vs. Soft Washing: Updated for 2019 [Infographic]
Soft Washing Vs. Pressure Washing
There are a ton of organizations offering a service called soft washing. They all pitch a similar thing: "safer than pressure cleaning," "get spotless with no pressure," "the best approach to clean your home," etc.
But is Soft Washing really a superior, more secure approach to clean your home? To start, let's look at how the two systems function. They both run water through a pump and a hose, and the water is then sprayed onto the house to remove dirt, mold, and the like. Cleaning solutions can be directed through the hoses and applied to the house or surface being cleaned effortlessly with these systems.
Here are the key contrasts between these systems: With pressure cleaning, the water is pressurized, so it sprays harder to remove mold, dirt, and so on. The advantages of this system are that you can utilize fewer chemicals when cleaning and that you can provide a more thorough cleaning for tougher surfaces such as a concrete driveway.
Is pressure cleaning safe? Yes. But like anything, if you don't utilize the equipment appropriately, you can cause harm. But if you appropriately use a pressure cleaning system, you will cause no harm to any surface and you can get surfaces clean with few, if any, chemicals.
Soft washing runs water through a pump with very little pressurization. This system normally consists of a higher volume of water rather than pressurized water being sprayed from the hose. Soft Washing also uses a higher concentration of chemicals or cleaning solutions when cleaning a home. Where a pressure cleaner may be able to remove some dirt with no chemicals because of the pressure, soft washing systems need the chemicals to loosen the dirt before the water is sprayed to remove it.
The benefit of soft washing is that there is less pressure being applied to a home, meaning there is a smaller chance of causing damage. But that benefit comes at the expense of more water and more chemicals having to be used. Is soft washing safe? Yes. Like pressure cleaning, though, if you do not use the system properly, you may cause damage. High chemical concentrates can kill plant life and damage certain surfaces. Properly used, though, soft washing is a safe way to clean.
So, which system is better? Well, from a selling aspect, soft washing wins. People hear soft opposed to pressure and automatically feel as though it's a safer method of cleaning. From a cleaning aspect, I believe that pressure cleaning is better. You need fewer chemicals, and this feature is better for the environment and plant life that surrounds a home. Pressure cleaning is also necessary for cleaning driveways, sidewalks, and other tough surfaces that soft washing cannot clean properly.
When You Should Pressure-Wash:
A Professional Pressure Washing Service would be a recommended application when the substrates are hard and very resilient to damage of any kind from pressure. They (Pro Pressure Cleaning Service) will have the proper ratios equipped in a downstream injector (the thing that sucks up the chemicals from the tank and into the hose) in order to not place too much or too little on the siding of your home.
Pressure Washing substrates include:
The thought here is to apply the solution and let it dwell long enough to loosen up the mildew or soiling where when you hit it with pressure or hot water. Since the solution concentrate is back seat to pressure, one can begin pressure washing within about 5 minutes of applying the solution. It is always best practice to apply the solution with a professional grade surfactant (contains wetting agents to keep the solution wet longer) in order to maximize the cleaning process and to kill any mildew spores that are present.
Follow chemical treatment with high-pressure wash and rinse and even heat in order to remove any contaminants from the surface.
When You Should Soft-Wash:
A Soft Washing Service will normally be a professional Pressure Washing Service with the right Soft Washing equipment. 90% of the time, the fly by nighters will not have the correct equipment in order to apply the right amount of chemical at the right ratios in order to perform a proper Soft Washing of your home. With that being said, I would recommend a Soft Washing process on substrates that are notoriously hard to get clean with pressure or would be damaged if one were to use high pressure on them.
Soft-Wash substrates include:
Soft Washing requires being cognitive of your landscape and of the substrate you are washing as direct harm can happen to landscape if the plants are not pre-soaked with water before treatment begins.
How To Soft Wash Your Home:
Start by premixing your Sodium Hypochlorite and your surfactant,(you want to make sure that you use the correct amount because you do not want visible bubble bath like suds on the house nor do you want to much SH as this could harm the siding) many Professional Soft Washing companies choose to use a proportioner system that does this automatically in order to control the flow and ratio of chemicals on the fly.
Then, after you have pre-soaked the landscape with water, start applying your mix, apply generously because if you have mixed your ratios correctly for the substrate you are cleaning you won't have to worry about over applying. Now, allow to dwell on the siding.
Come back in about 5 minutes and see what your effect to the mildew has been. When dealing with Vinyl Siding, you may only need to apply once, if you are cleaning a more porous stubborn substrate like stucco, you may need to up your concentration on your proportioner then reapply. Apply as many times as you need to in order to get the desired result, then turn all chemicals off and rinse with pure water. Make sure you rinse enough to dilute any and all chemicals that were present.
The secret to great results in pressure washing and soft washing is to understand the capabilities of your equipment and chemicals.
Many Professional Soft Washing Companies have access to chemicals at concentrations that consumers just cannot obtain at the local hardware store. This completely changes the game entirely, because they can also control what concentrations get sprayed where. (ex. Higher concentration for the roof, low concentration for vinyl siding) all on the truck, within the same day.
If you are considering getting this service for your home, make sure that you hire a reputable company with great reviews and a wealth of knowledge about what they will be applying to your home (also, weather soft washing or pressure washing would be a good fit). If they know what they're doing, you shouldn't have any problems and your home should shine bright when they're done!