soft wash

The Science Behind a Thorough Soft Wash

By Tyler Kirk | Softwashing

Spotted some algae growing on your siding?

Don't just hire a high-pressure washer.

This type of cleaning can seriously damage your roof if you aren't careful. Using a thorough soft wash is a safer and more effective option.

But what is a soft wash?

To better understand the science behind a good soft wash, we have to look at the difference between the two main pressure washing types.

The Different Types of Pressure Washing

Pressure washing uses a water tank powered by a motor and a pump to shoot water through a hose. This water comes out at a high pressure, so it's able to wash dirt and grime off surfaces without any trouble.

But there are two different types of pressure washing techniques: high-pressure washing and soft washing.

High-Pressure Washing

As the name suggests, the water in a high-pressure washing has a lot more power than the water in a soft wash. This allows it to remove thick layers of dirt. Even graffiti paint gets washed away when put against a high-pressure washing.

And a high-pressure wash can do all this because of kinetic energy.

Each drop of water has so much force it acts like a small hammer. The water literally beats away grime piled up on a dirty surface. A wash like this can make buildings, walkways, decks, etc. look as clean as they were when they were new.

But unfortunately, there are a lot of negative effects that come along with such a high-pressure wash.

Soft Washing

Though similar to a high-pressure wash, soft washes have a pressure below 500 PSI. This may sound like a lot of pressure, but it is much weaker than a normal, high-pressure wash.

In fact, you can stick your hand in the stream of a soft wash without hurting yourself.

This makes soft washing a popular choice for cleaning more delicate surfaces.

How Does High-Pressure Washing Work?

A high-pressure washer literally blows dirt off surfaces. Remember, each water drop acts like a hammer.

And though this pressure wash is effective at remove dirt, it can also damage your surfaces.

The Downside of a High-Pressure Wash

Because the water is sprayed at such a high pressure, it can start to blow away the surface you're trying to clean.

Let's say you want to wash a layer of dirt off your back deck. A high-pressure washer will get the dirt off, but the water will also start to break away the surface of your deck as well.

Even hard surfaces like asphalt can crumble under a high-pressure washer.

Now, this shouldn't be a problem in most cases. Your surfaces will only get damaged if you (or the person you've hired to do your pressure washing) get distracted or aren't paying attention.

But is it worth the risk?

Is the Damage That Bad?

Maybe not every time, but yes, the damage from a high-pressure washer can be substantial.

Then you either have to deal with a ruined deck, roof, shed, house, etc. or shell out a bunch of money to repair it. High-pressure washers can get rid of tough messes, but they can be dangerous if you're not paying attention.

How Does Soft Washing Work?

Soft washing doesn't forcefully blow dirt away from a surface. Instead, certain detergents and chemical solutions are added to the water. When sprayed over the dirty surface, these detergents settle inside of the dirt and deteriorate it from the inside.

The softer water pressure won't damage your surfaces, and the detergents are safe for residential use.

These things make soft washing a safer and more effective option for cleaning your property.

The First Step of Soft Washing

To get started, the water and detergents will be sprayed over your surface. This will allow it to get into all the dirty cracks and crevices. The chemical solution will start to break down any dirt it touches.

The Second Step of Soft Washing

The next part of the soft washing process is waiting.

The solution needs to sit on the surface for at least 5 minutes. But the exact time depends on how dirty the surface is. If there is a lot of grime or algae, the solution needs to sit for longer.

This is called the dwelling time.

The longer the solution dwells, the more it breaks down the dirt.

The Third Step of Soft Washing

After the solution has dwelled for the appropriate amount of time, it will be washed away with an ultra-low water pressure.

As the solution washes away, the broken down dirt will wash away with it.

Other Benefits of Soft Washing

Because soft washing involves chemical solutions, it gets rid of more than just the surface dirt. The detergents also remove the hidden bacteria underneath the dirt.

That means your house actually becomes healthier when you soft wash it.

The softer pressure also keeps your surfaces from breaking down and disintegrating with the dirt. In other words, a soft wash will keep your surfaces in good condition and clean them more thoroughly than a high-pressure wash.

Is a Soft Wash Always a Better Choice?

High-pressure washes and soft washes both have advantages and disadvantages.

For example, soft washes can damage plants. So getting a soft wash for a house that's surrounded by plants may not be a good decision.

But for the most part, a soft wash will protect your surfaces at the same time as cleaning them. If you aren't sure what type of pressure wash you should choose, spend some time talking to an expert. They'll know what method is best for your situation.

Do you have some dirty surfaces you need to clean with a soft wash? Take a look at some of our services and see how we can help you.

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