What Exactly is a “Softwash” for Your Home?

If you only have 2 seconds to learn about this topic, here’s the short version: a softwash is like a car wash for your house. That’s a bit oversimplified, but the process is similar.

Now, if you’ve got a couple more minutes, read to the end to know all you need to know as a home or business owner researching soft washing or house washing.

How a Soft Wash is Different From a Pressure Washing

Here’s how a softwash is like a car wash: pressure and chemicals. “Pressure washing” usually implies a high pressure spraying of water onto a surface to beat dirt and debris senselessly off whatever it’s accumulated on. This sort of old-school pressure washing is perfect for your concrete driveway or brick steps, foundation, or walls. However, pressure washing homes with siding other than brick or stone is likely the reason exterior cleaning companies now have to pay such high insurance costs and struggle even finding insurance companies to cover their liability insurance. CityScape Exteriors and many other companies are licensed, insured, and have specialized in exterior cleaning in order to provide the best service in this industry. A professional pressure washing and exterior building cleaning company in Chattanooga, TN will have no problem promptly providing you with their proof of insurance.

Now for the details: Softwashing uses sprayer tips with larger orifices (or openings) that lower the water pressure to a level that doesn’t damage delicate surfaces; and, it uses at minimum a two-step wash and rinse method to remove dirt from building surfaces. A 2,500 PSI pressure washer can easily tear vinyl siding and carve into wood surfaces; however, Softwashing generally operates under 400 PSI and is gentle enough to spray delicate surfaces.

The most time-tested method to apply cleaners to surfaces via pressure washer is through a downstream injector. This device uses a venturi valve to draw chemicals and surfactants into the water hose when water pressure is at a low enough PSI. The mechanics aren’t necessary for a home or business owner to know, but the elements of low pressure and application of chemicals are important to know.

What You Really Need to Know about Softwashing

The chemical of choice for the majority of industry professionals is Sodium Hypochlorite, which is liquid chlorine. This miracle chemical breaks down organic matter in a way similar to UV rays. And the lack of UV rays (aka sunlight) on north-facing walls is the cause for algae growth and a buildup of other organic matter like spiderwebs. To better understand how Sodium Hypochlorite works, think about how pool water can be purified by chlorine, UV rays, or salt water. They all cause the same effect, and, interestingly, one of the most common ways to produce Sodium Hypochlorite is via the electrolysis of salt water. In addition to SH, a surfactant (soap) is added to the water to assist in the cleaning process.

So, the basic method of softwashing is to apply a specific ratio of cleaning solution at low pressures, wait for a specific amount of time for the chemical to work its magic, and then rinse the surface with an appropriately low pressure to protect the siding surface. There you have it. Not rocket science, but there’s a little bit of chemistry involved, so make sure you choose a specialist when shopping for a Softwash for your home or business.