Soft Wash Info

Soft washing is a cleaning method using low pressure and specialized solutions (typically bleach, water, and sometimes a surfactant) to safely remove mildew, bacteria, algae and other organic stains from roofs and other building exteriors. It is so named to differentiate the method from power washing. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association recommends low-pressure bleach or detergent assisted washing as the preferred method for cleaning asphalt roofs in order to prevent damage to the shingles.

Soft washing is a cleaning technique that can be achieved either by using a pressure washer with a special tip that will reduce the pressure rating down to around 500 psi (or less), or using a tank, gun, hose, and a 12-volt, air diaphragm, or gas-engine style pump.

The term pressure washing can be a bit of a misnomer. It often brings up myths and confusion about what the service actually entails.

Potential clients often associate pressure washing with a stigma. They link it to worn out paint, blown windows seals, destroyed landscaping and/or other possible damage.

Whether this association derives from a bad experience with a previous contractor or from DIY experiences with a pressure washer themselves, it’s one I often address with the customer to educate them on the process. It’s also at this point where I introduce the customer to a term called “soft washing.”

What is soft washing?

A soft wash incorporates special low-pressure nozzles on the end of a pressure washing gun or wand. That’s combined with a biodegradable chemical that removes the biological elements (mold, algae, pollen, dirt, moss) and other stains without damaging surfaces on your home or killing your plants.

Not only does the soft washing method clean surfaces, such as you roof, deck, patio, siding or fence, safely and thoroughly, it also maintains paint and masonry longer.

The only time full pressure (4000 psi) should be used is to pressure wash concrete with a surface cleaner that defuses pressure through two nozzles.

Pressure washing still has a place

Both pressure washing and soft washing are done with a commercial pressure washing machine, which should be used on all jobs.

The commercial pressure washer machine will properly distribute and dilute chemicals during pre-rinse, and apply the proper volume/pressure ratio for the appropriate surfaces. This is where the two terms — pressure washing vs. soft washing — are usually confused.

In short, both pressure washing and soft washing can be used on your home by a professional pressure washer. A professional power washing company will know exactly what combination and nozzle extensions to use to achieve the proper pressure, volume and chemical mixture to clean all surfaces thoroughly, effectively and safely.