Power washing is the act of using pressurized water to clean dirt, algae, and other contaminants from outdoor surfaces. A power washer, otherwise known as a pressure washer, is the powered machine that makes cleaning the surface possible. Methods can vary depending on the machine being used, the surface that’s being cleaned, and the person performing the work.

In this post, we will further define power washing and the common methods used to clean surfaces. Read on to learn about the differences between power washing and pressure washing, and why high-pressure and soft washing are used in different circumstances.

Defining Power Washing vs. Pressure Washing

A few articles on the web make the distinction that power washing involves the use of hot water, and pressure washing does not. The truth, however, is the name alone is less telling than that. In practical use, the terms “power washing” and “pressure washing” are used interchangeably.

For example, our company name is “SoCal Pressure Wash.” We use the word “power” to avoid the impression that we favor high-pressure washing over soft washing. We feel “power” encapsulates both terms into one. In short, we don’t solely use high pressure or soft washing methods. We use the safest, most effective methods to clean the surface at hand, so we are SoCal Pressure Wash.

High-Pressure Washing Examples

Concrete is a durable surface that is cleaned using a higher amount of pressure. Because concrete is porous, contaminants soak into the surface of the concrete, requiring a good amount of pressure to properly flush them out.

Another instance where pressure can be beneficial is in preparing to repaint or reseal your deck. With the proper amount of pressure, a lot of loose paint and sunspots can be taken off by pressure washing. With that said, too much pressure on a deck can be devastating, so it’s critical to have the knowledge and experience to find that sweet spot.

Soft Washing Examples

A soft wash uses a lower amount of water pressure, relying on cleansers and a soft bristle brush to clean the tougher areas. Siding should be washed using this method, with the exact amount of pressure varying by the type of siding on your home.

The best example of soft washing is when cleaning a roof. Asphalt shingles are delicate and require little to no pressure. The cleansers do most of the work when removing black streaks, algae, and more.

Why Power Wash?

Opposed to scrubbing an exterior surface by hand, power (or pressure) washing is a faster, more effective way to clean. Cleansers are applied to treat the surface for the typical contaminants like dirt, grime, algae, mold, and mildew. Afterward, a safe yet appropriate amount of pressure is used to rinse everything away. Pressure should never be the sole method of lifting buildup from stubborn areas. A soft bristle brush should be used if there are any spots that won’t come up.