What Is Soft Washing?
Learn the difference between using high pressure and chemicals to clean
Soft Wash vs. Pressure Wash
What Is Soft Washing?
Soft washing is a cleaning technique that involves using high volume pumps combined with low pressure to spray a variety of chemicals, water, and soaps to effectively and safely clean a surface. A mixture of acids, bleaches, and degreasers can be used to properly clean any problem area.
What is the difference between Soft Washing and Pressure Washing & Power Washing?
Although soft washing, pressure washing and power washing seem similar they all use different techniques, equipment, pressure and chemicals. Pressure washing and power washing utilize the sheer force of PSI (pounds per square inch) to clean a surface. Soft washing relies on chemicals to get the job done. Each cleaning method serves it's own unique purpose and a professional company should know when to use what.
When should you use Soft Washing method?
Soft washing should be used on any surface that can be easily damaged by high pressure. Surfaces such as wood (decks, shakes, etc.), roof shingles, vinyl and aluminum siding, windows, and any other part of your homes exterior should be soft washed. Using high pressure on these areas can have water travel to the path of least resistance and go behind seams to flood an area, or worse, cause damage such as puncture holes in siding, remove shingles, or splinter wood. Soft washing was initially designed for roof cleaning and has evolved as the cleaning process has improved.
Why should you soft wash your roof or home?
Gloeocapsa Magma (algae) is common on roofs and the signature look is black streaks all over your shingles. This is often accompanied by moss, lichen, dirt, and other forms of organic growth. These substance thrive in warm wet weather that is often facing the shadier part of your home. It can spread to siding as well, covering your home in a green layer of mildew. It feeds off the moisture that certain types of shingles hold on to. While the roof is effected, it begins to lose its ability to reflect UV rays and eventually rots the shingles. This has been said to effect roofs severely and can take up to 10 years off the life of a roof. The same goes for siding - as this organic growth gets near windows it can be harmful to your health to breathe in these spores. Soft washing is the only way to effectively remove this organic growth without damaging the shingles or siding and voiding any warranties. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association recommends low-pressure bleach or detergent assisted washing as the preferred method for cleaning asphalt roofs in order to prevent damage to the shingles.
Pressure washing a roof or siding, even at low pressure, can and will void your warranty and cause granular loss. This means that the integrity of the roof tiles or siding panels will be compromised due to damage from the intense pressure of the water. In addition, power-washing only scrubs the surface of the roof and siding without removing the root systems that have grown in, around, and under the tiles. The Soft Wash technique eliminates all plant, fungal, and bacterial life and any dirt and grime from the roof safely, returning it to its original color with no risk of damage to the roofing or siding materials.
How do you soft wash?
First you prepare your surrounding area and by wetting down any plants or grass you have around the surface area you are cleaning. Then, you prepare the solution (there are hundreds of solutions for different growths, stains, etc.). Once the solution is prepared, load it into an agricultural sprayer to apply to the surface you are cleaning. Soft washing runs water through a pump and hose with very little pressurization. The pump can also direct the cleaning solution mixture through the hose. Then the hose is directed at the surface being cleaned and the water mixture is sprayed out.
The soft wash system normally consists of higher concentration of cleaning solutions and a higher volume of water versus pressure. Application is gentle, with less pressure than what comes out of your garden hose. Once you are done, depending on the surface-like a roof, the solution is left on the surface in order to kill everything down to the roots versus if you have applied it to siding, then it is typically rinsed off. Roof concentrations are typically higher than siding. Additionally, things like oxidization, rust, paint removal, etc. can all be cleaned depending on the solution being applied.