Soft Washing Explained: What IS Soft Washing a House Anyways?

March 31, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking, what is soft washing a house? This is a fair question, as standard power washing often risks damaging exterior surfaces. On the other hand, soft washing is an excellent choice for keeping your property clean from top to bottom.

With this in mind, keep reading to find out more about soft washing a house. Then, discuss your home’s condition with a power washing contractor near you. They can offer more advice on what that structure needs for a thorough clean.


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What is Soft Washing a House?

Simply put, the soft washing method a house involves cleaning it with specialty surfactants, bleach mixtures, and other cleansers. Next, a technician uses low-pressure rinsing to remove the cleansers and dirt. In some cases, they might also scrub surfaces with outdoor brushes meant for exterior walls or pool decks.

Soft washing is different than standard house pressure washing in that the cleaners do most of the work! Rather than relying on high-pressure cleaning to “blast away” dirt, those detergents dissolve thick grime, dirt, dust, mold, and more. In turn, a technician doesn’t need powerful pressure rinses to ensure a thorough clean. It is a useful method for fragile surfaces especially.

A pressure washer might use a soft wash technique for a home’s roof, gutters, windows, outside walls, decks, pavers, and virtually all other surfaces. Soft wash pressure washing is also used for asphalt, concrete, brick, and stone. It addresses dirt, mud, mold, algae, and various stains around a property.

How Does Soft Washing Work?

The detergents a contractor uses during soft washing is why this process works so well! First, a technician should inspect surfaces needing cleaning, to choose the right cleanser. Second, they apply those cleansers as needed.

Next, your technician usually lets that cleanser sit for some time. This allows the detergent to dissolve thick dirt and grime and kill mold spores and algae roots. Those cleansers also seep into cracks and crevices along concrete, pavers, brick, and other porous materials.

Once the detergent has had a chance to dissolve that dirt, your contractor can then rinse everything away. In some cases, they might apply those detergents again, to dissolve and clean any dirt left behind. Your technician might also apply specialty cleansers on tough stains and growth. This entire process ensures a clean, pristine exterior space.

Also, note that many contractors use odor neutralizers during a soft wash cleaning process. This reduces lingering bleach smells or other bothersome odors. Those neutralizers can also eliminate smells left behind from animal waste, food stains, smoke, and more.

Is Soft Wash Better Than Pressure Washing?

First, note that soft wash cleaning does use pressurized water, only at a very low pressure. Second, consider the benefits of soft washing a house versus high-powered pressure cleaning:

  • High-pressure cleaning can damage brick, wood, metal siding, and other materials. It also strips roof shingles and can outright shatter glass! Low-pressure washing offers a safe cleaning for all these surfaces.
  • Cleansers used for soft wash dissolve dirt and mud more readily than standard detergents. In turn, soft washing a house often means a more thorough clean.
  • Low-pressure washing uses less water, making it an eco-friendly cleaning method.
  • High-pressure washing can risk messy, muddy splatter. Soft wash cleaning means less risk of creating a mess while washing a house.
  • Soft wash cleaning is safer for materials that might loosen under high pressure. This includes roof shingles, patio pavers, window screens, and wood fence and deck slats.
  • Even a trained contractor might struggle to control a power wash wand when using high pressure rinses. On the other hand, a low-pressure rinse ensures excellent control, for less risk of property damage during cleaning.

What Chemicals Are Used to Soft Wash a House?

Trained contractors use a variety of chemicals to soft wash a house. First, they might water down all plants and landscaping. Second, they often apply a neutralizer to those plants. This chemical protects plants from damage caused by soft wash cleansers. The water also helps those cleansers wash off the plants, which also protects them.

Additionally, soft wash contractors will typically use a diluted bleach cleanser for various exterior surfaces. Bleach helps kill mold spores and algae roots, and addresses tough stains. However, bleach doesn’t necessarily dissolve thick dirt, mud, dust, and other debris.

In turn, soft wash contractors often add a surfactant to a bleach solution. Surfactants spread out water which helps loosen dirt and grime. Most surfactants contain 12.5% sodium hypochlorite, a type of salt cleaner. Just as snow salt dissolves snow and ice, sodium hypochlorite dissolves dirt, mud, dust, and other materials.

Also, pressure washing experts might use an odor neutralizer or masking chemicals, as said. These neutralizers typically contain high levels of citric acid. The citrus masks or eliminates any bleach or cleanser smell. It can also help cover smells from animal waste, rubbish, smoke, and the like.

Lastly, note that many trained technicians might use various chemicals to address different properties. For instance, a hydrogen peroxide cleaner can remove hard water stains. Specialty degreasers tackle motor oil and other greasy messes. Using the right cleanser makes the process easier for the contractor overall!

Soft Washing Frequency

On average, a homeowner might schedule soft washing for their house every year, or every 3 years at most. If you wait any longer to schedule house washing, your home might suffer stains, mold growth, and other damage.

Also, remember that algae, mold, mildew, and other growth can damage roof shingles and similar exterior materials. The longer you ignore these growths, the more risk of damage! In turn, it’s vital that you don’t put off soft washing for too long.

Moreover, some homes might need annual cleaning or soft washing more often throughout the year. For instance, busy highways, marinas, and airports often mean thick soot settling onto nearby roofs and exterior walls. Outdoor cookers and smokers can also mean lots of smoke, ash, and other debris coating your home. Putting off cleaning for several months can allow those residues to build up, making them tough to clean.

Additionally, homes in tropical areas or near large water bodies often need cleaning every few months. Airborne sand often settles onto roofs, walls, patios, and other areas, where it’s then ground into those materials. Everyday garden hoses are often insufficient for washing away this debris. Sand and grit can also mean unsafe walking surfaces underfoot!

Moreover, consider if more frequent washing might benefit those with allergies, asthma, or other sensitivities. Dust, pollen, mold, and similar irritants on exterior surfaces can trigger attacks or interfere with healthy breathing. Additionally, some people are more sensitive to mold smells and other unpleasant odors. In turn, you might schedule soft washing as often as needed to ensure a pristine exterior space.


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Is Soft Washing Safe?

Soft washing a house is probably the safest cleaning method you can choose! Low-pressure rinsing reduces the risk of damage to exterior materials, as said. You also reduce the risk of splattering muddy rinse water around your property with soft wash cleaning.

However, this doesn’t mean that homeowners should attempt soft wash cleaning themselves. One reason to rely on pros is that a trained technician ensures a thorough clean of all nooks and crannies. Two, experienced contractors know how much cleaner to use, for a complete yet damage-free wash. They also make sure to rinse that cleaner thoroughly, to avoid drying out various materials.

Also, remember that it’s dangerous for homeowners to be on ladders or roofs. That danger increases when you’re trying to manage cumbersome power washing wands! On the other hand, calling a contractor keeps you safely off those ladders and on the ground.

Lastly, note that an untrained property owner can still damage materials and surfaces with a soft wash cleaning. Standing too close to materials or using the wrong angle when washing can still shred screens or dislodge roofing materials.

Overusing bleach or not rinsing properly risks damage especially to wood surfaces and porous materials. For all these reasons and more, always use a power washing contractor for soft washing you need to have done.

How Much Does It Cost to Soft Wash a House?

Generally speaking, homeowners might pay anywhere from $300 to $850 on average for soft washing a house. However, remember that these are just averages! Contractors set their own prices based on supply and labor costs, among other factors.

Also, some contractors might charge an added fee for especially thick dirt or mold cleaning. Homes difficult to access might also mean an additional charge. Specialty cleaning such as scrubbing around pool decks or sanitizing various surfaces can also result in higher costs.

If you’re thinking that these costs are too high for soft wash house washing, consider how this service protects your property! One, roof washing removes mold, algae, and other materials that can dislodge or damage shingles and tiles. Two, gutter cleaning removes thick dirt and sediment that risks clogs.

Both services help protect your home against foundation damage. Roof debris can end up in gutters, and clogged gutters let rain pool around a home’s foundation. That extra water can soften foundation concrete or get trapped in crawl spaces. These issues often risk a cracked foundation, structural wood rot, and interior water damage.

Also, note that leaving dirt and grime on exterior walls risks damage to brick and siding, and permanent stains. Gritty debris can also etch materials, especially on walkways and other areas with heavy foot traffic.

Consequently, soft wash costs are an investment in your home’s condition. It’s also typically cheaper than repairing or replacing exterior materials. This cost is also worth having a clean and healthy outdoor space, and stunning curb appeal.

House Soft Wash vs. a Power Washing

First note the difference between power washing and pressure washing. Any process using pressurized water is pressure washing. For instance, if you attach a nozzle to a garden hose, you’re technically pressure washing your property!

In most cases, pressure washing uses tepid or room temperature water. However, some machines have heating elements that heat the water you use during cleaning. Power washing refers to using hot water for cleaning, not tepid water.

Hot water power washing is excellent for tackling oily or greasy stains, as hot water breaks down grease. A technician might also suggest power washing for addressing mold, mildew, paint, and solvents. On the other hand, hot water washing can damage wood surfaces. It’s also not needed for every pressure washing project.

In turn, a soft wash cleaning might also be considered power wash if your contractor uses hot water. If not, your soft wash house washing is simply standard pressure wash, but with low-pressure rinses and cleaning solutions. Hopefully this information clears up that question for you!

Can You Use a Soft Wash for Everything Around Your Property?

Soft washing is excellent for virtually every exterior surface around your property. This includes metal siding, brick, wood, and glass. It’s also safe for roof shingles and tiles, as said. However, soft wash cleaning isn’t the right choice for everything around your property!

For instance, even soft wash equipment might scratch or otherwise damage a vehicle or camper or split rotted wood. Any cleaning using water can create a muddy surface underneath gravel, risking it washing away. Brittle glass, such as with old windows, might also crack with soft wash cleaning.

For all these reasons and more, it’s vital that homeowners call a pro for needed pressure washing. A trained technician can evaluate various surfaces and materials. They can then note if soft washing is safe and recommended. Also, a trained pro can adjust their cleansers and methods to ensure a safe clean for your property.

Clearwater Pressure Washing & Roof Cleaning is happy to help answer the question, what is soft washing a house. Hopefully we’ve given you lots of useful information on this subject! If you’re ready for expert services around your property, call our Clearwater pressure washing contractors. We’ll start you off with a FREE estimate and gladly answer all your questions. To find out more, contact us today.


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