Pressure Washing, Power Washing, Soft Washing…What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference and which one do you need? The Pressure Washing industry has gone through several changes and many innovations over the years. For the most part however; it’s still basically the same concept. We have been in the business since 1995 and always kept up with the changing technology

Pressure Washing

As it stands; the whole industry can be summed up as Pressure Washing. All areas of the industry derive from the pressure washer itself. Without getting too far into it; a pressure washer simply amplifies the power of the water source going into it. A garden hose, for example, connected to a pressure washer will allow it to produce 3000 psi or more (or less) with much greater cleaning power.

Much like it’s counter parts, the pressure washer can be used to wash houses, decks, sidewalks, and much more. The amount of pressure can be adjustable as well. The operator can use 300 psi – 600 psi for delicate areas or rinsing. Likewise,  3000 psi, or more, might be used for heavy cleaning. The machines may also be set up to introduce detergents or chemicals for added cleaning ability.

Power Washing

Power Washing is basically the same thing as Pressure Washing, and most people will call it one or the other. Technically, the difference between the two is; Power Washing is just Pressure Washing but with hot water. Pressure Washers are available equipped with burners capable of heating the water (usually up to 200 degrees). As you can imagine, this may make a huge difference in how well you can clean! You might actually clean with hot soapy water depending on what you’re working on. Sometimes the heat just cleans faster, or it may clean much better. There are situations where the hot water is necessary to do the cleaning in the first place. Hot water pressure washers are better on oil and grease, and definitely on sidewalks for gum removal. Hot water will melt the gum right off of a sidewalk, greatly improving the look of a storefront.

Soft Washing

Soft Washing is currently the biggest rave in the pressure wash industry. The two main differences in this type of machine and a typical pressure washer lie in the pump. Soft Wash pumps are built to handle harsher chemicals at stronger percentages, such as straight bleach or Chlorine for example. They also produce far less pressure, often only 300 psi. With this type of machine the cleaning is accomplished primarily by the chemicals. People often feel it’s a safer cleaning method due to the lower pressure. However, they are capable of producing just as much damage, or more so, as any other method, and often do.

It’s important to note, for the most part; a Pressure Washer is capable of doing anything a Soft Washer does. The main difference is that the soft wash system can pump stronger strengths of harsh chemicals. For this reason, the time it is critical to have a soft wash system is when you are washing roofs. Roof washing requires a much stronger percentage of Chlorine, and lower pressure.

In Conclusion

Each machine and type of cleaning has it’s place. Any of the methods and equipment are more than capable of causing serious damage or quality results. If you’re a DIY person you are probably renting a machine or purchasing a small unit at a store. Either way you are very limited on what you can get, most likely a small pressure washer. If you hire a professional you won’t be too concerned on what they use, but rather the results they produce. Renting a machine is often more hassle than anticipated, while hiring a professional may cost less than you’d expect. Professionals in the industry should have better equipment, more experience, and be much more efficient than a Do it Yourselfer. 

If you’re in Chico, or surrounding areas of Butte County CA, contact SPEEDY-CLEAN Painting & Pressure Washing. You will enjoy the high quality results and professional service you receive.  Get it done right the first time without the hassle of doing it yourself!


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