Pressure Washing VS. Soft Washing- What’s the Deal?
From a consumer standpoint, there are so many misconceptions surrounding high pressure cleaning. We hear comments like, “I don’t want you pressure washing my painted handrails” or “don’t touch my brick because it will remove the textured finish”. These are all valid concerns, especially when contracting with an inexperienced cleaning technician.
To ease some consumer’s minds and hopefully further the industry’s practices, I am going to share the difference between high pressure cleaning as compared to low pressure cleaning (AKA soft washing) and it’s applications.
Pressure washing is a method of delivering water at high pressure for cleaning or removing a material from a surface. A professional size pressure wash machine runs about 3500-4000 PSI (pounds per square inch), 11.5-14 horse power and anywhere from 4.5-10 gallons per minute. A pressure wash unit us equipped with high pressure hose, lance and nozzles that accommodate different spray patterns or degree of water out flow ranging from 45 degree- 0 degree. Everyone has seen squiggles on siding or in concrete where and inexperienced contractor tried to use a 0 degree nozzle to clean an up-close surface. No good, the general rule of thumb is the closer you are to the area being cleaned, the higher nozzle degree you use and vise versa. Still yet, High pressure cleaning should be reserved mostly for hard surfaces like concrete, brick and treated lumber decking boards. Many paint ready projects utilize high pressure cleaning to remove loose paint, this is about the only reason to force high pressure onto a home or building facade…..
Soft Washing is a solution based , low pressure type of cleaning. There are some amazing solutions out there that cleaning technicians are getting their hands on today- but for the most part their formulas are consistent of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and a surfactant (soap). These solutions, by their material safety data sheets, are recognized and formulated specifically for cleaning exterior surfaces, lending to be un harmful to paint and adjacent landscaping (when used responsibly). The solution mix (which is dependent on what is being cleaned) is down streamed through a soap nozzle after being picked up through a connected chemical injector on a pressure wash machine. The PSI of this application is about. Solutions are evenly sprayed onto surfaces being cleaned, left to dwell for up to 15 minutes and thoroughly rinsed clean utilizing low pressure nozzles. This is soft washing. It is important to understand that a high pressure unit can be utilized for soft washing by simply attaching low pressure nozzles to the lance.
Some contractors soft wash with a battery powered high flow pump. A true soft wash unit does not run with a machine, rather is powered by a marine or other battery. Most roof cleaning is performed via a soft wash pump. Soft washing via a battery powered pump has some limitations and yet other advantages. The general point with soft washing via pump systems is that solutions are heavily relied upon for the cleaning. Cleaning contractors know that any solution application must be completely clean rinsed to avoid caustic damage to surfaces.
In a nut shell:
- High pressure cleaning should be limited to hard surfaces like concrete, brick and treated lumber. High pressure is also preferred for isolated surface staining and removal of paint for a paint ready project.
- Soft Washing is how most home and building structures should be cleaned. Soft washing delivers solutions that kill mildew, removes various stains and brightens surfaces. Soft Washing can be delivered via the application of low pressure nozzles on a pressure wash lance or by utilizing a battery powered soft wash pump. Importantly, ensure your cleaning contractor is rinsing all solutions that are applied.
Either method, remember it is good maintenance to keep the exterior facade of your home clean. Debris builds up over time and must be removed. Mildew and other contaminants in the air can deteriorate building materials on your home or building’s exterior. Furthermore, exterior paint applications last longer if cleaned on a regular basis.
Call a professional cleaning contractor today and make sure you check their references. Your property will greatly benefit from it!
A+ Pro Services Inc.
980 Whiteville Road NW
Shallotte, NC 28470
Cities Served Brunswick County
Boiling Spring Lakes, Northwest, Southport, Belville, Bolivia, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Caswell Beach, Holden Beach, Leland, Winnabow, Navassa, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Sandy Creek, St. James, Sunset Beach, Varnamtown, Lockwood Folly, Northwest, Shallotte, Smithville Township, Town Creek, Waccamaw, Antioch, Ash, Batarora, Bell Swamp, Bishop, Biven, Bonaparte Landing, Boone’s Neck, Bowensville, Brunswick Station, Camp Branch, Cedar Grove, Civietown, Clairmont, Clarendon, Coolvale, Doe Creek, Eastbrook, Easy Hill, Longwood, Maco, Piney Grove, Red Bug, Sunset Harbor, Supply, Thomasboro, Winnabow