What is “Soft Washing”?

You have likely heard of power washing and soft washing when it comes to cleaning the exterior of your home. Using pressurized water can dramatically improve the appearance of siding, brick, wood decks, and stone terraces by washing away years of layers of dirt, grime, and algae.

Two men applying soft washing solution to a roof

Power washing uses hot water at a high pressure to blast away surface dirt and mildew. Pressure washing does the same but without hot water. Soft washing is similar to pressure washing, yet the pressure per square inch (PSI) is considerably lower to make sure no damage occurs to less durable surfaces.

Why Choose Soft Washing?

Soft washing is a great alternative to high-pressure washing when you are unsure of the condition or durability of the surfaces you want to clean. It is very appropriate for older buildings, especially ones that have a historic designation where the substrate conditions may have exhibited some deterioration.

This method of pressure washing is also more eco-friendly because it only addresses the surface dirt and is not intended to remove scaling paint and other loose materials. This is a good option for just cleaning surfaces.

What Surfaces are Good Candidates for Soft Washing?

Soft washing utilizes special cleaning solutions to break down dirt, micro-organisms, and other organic material residing on vertical and horizontal surfaces. These cleaning solutions are environmentally friendly and will not strip away any protective coatings on your home’s exterior. Soft washing is a good option for these surfaces:

  • Cedar plank and shake siding
  • Stucco
  • EIFS
  • Vinyl siding
  • Screened porches
  • Windows
  • Roofs
  • Wood decks and railings
  • Outdoor furniture

If you are planning on washing your driveway or stone patio, you might consider using a higher PSI pressure wash method.

Is Soft Washing a DIY Project?

You definitely can do this yourself. It is possible to rent a pressure washer from your local home supply store. However, there is a bit of a learning curve. It is helpful to have a little bit of experience handling this piece of equipment, if possible. If not, ask the store for a quick tutorial or watch an instructional video and then practice.

If you do decide to do this project yourself, you will need to use the right chemicals and be sure you have the appropriate nozzle. These chemicals are quite strong, so you have to use the correct dilution to get the right results without damaging the surface you are washing.


Soft washing is an excellent choice for cleaning the exterior of your home without causing damage to surfaces or the environment. There are professional companies that can do this for you. However, you can tackle this project yourself with the right equipment and cleaning solution.