Soft Wash or Pressure Wash: What is the difference?

Soft Wash or Pressure Wash: What is the difference?

There are many differences in lingo when it comes to pressure washing companies. Here we will look at the differences between Soft Washing, Pressure Washing and Power Washing. Most companies will do a combination of the 3.

Soft Wash:

Soft washing is when you use low pressure water and a combination of chemicals to remove dirt and algae from a surface. Soft washing typically uses a small 12 volt electric pumpĀ  with about 60 PSI to wash away dirt, debris and algae. This system is very versatile as it can use to clean many different types of building materials without the risk of damage from pressure. The only difference between the materials that will be cleaned will be the chemicals that are used to clean it with. This is where choosing the correct chemical is very important as one that is used on vinyl siding may not be the best for a concrete surface and vise versa. The chemicals used on brick may melt or discolor the vinyl if it is mix improperly or it is not a compatible material. The most critical part of this system is choosing the correct chemical. Soft washing is a great method for washing roofs, siding, fences and decks. There may be other requirements for washing the decks and fences depending on the surface finish.

Pressure Washing:

Pressure washing is exactly as it sounds. Using Pressure to knock off or remove something that is unsightly. Depending on the size of the Pressure Washer the amount of PSI is an important factor. most electric pressure washers range from 1,300 to 1,700 PSI and gas powered pressure washers ranging from 2,000 to 2,800 PSI. You can see our guide on PSI for more information. When pressure washing there are other factors you will have to take into account such as the nozzles that will be used to clean the surface. You can find a quick guide to pressure washing nozzles for more information. Using the wrong tip on a surface can completely demolish a surface that you are looking to wash. When using certain tips, they can have so much pressure that they will actually break the materials that you are trying to clean. They may also leave zebra or Zorro stripes if a red tip is used to reach long distances. Sometimes these will only be shown when the material dries. Pressure Washing is great for vehicles, driveways and sidewalks.

Power Washing;

Power washing is a combination of pressure and heat to remove the dirt and grime. Using high pressure and heat comes with many advantages in quickly removing unsightly dirt. It also comes with a warning as the heat that is used could potentially damage certain materials such as vinyl siding. Causing materials to warp, melt and with a combination of the wrong tip cut the material you are trying to clean. Some commercial units come with either an electric or diesel powered burner unit to heat the water for power washing.


Take a break, let the professionals handle all the outside cleaning and detailing. At Buffalo Pressure Washing, we pride ourselves on being perfectionists. We offer a wide range of services, including a comprehensive maintenance program for your building. Contact us to get a quote for your next project.

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