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Soft Washing or Pressure Washing? - Which Method Do You Chose?

Having the exterior of a property professionally cleaned can produce fairly dramatic results. Whether your property is covered in algae, environmental staining or discolouration caused by leaks, the correct cleaning processes can remove all imperfections and return the exterior of the property to its original aesthetic condition. 

In order to get the best possible results from an exterior clean, you need to select the most appropriate technique for the job. In many cases, this will be either soft washing or jet washing. Deciding which is right for your building will help you remove algae, staining and discolouration without damaging the façade of the property.

Benefits of pressure washing

Pressure washing the exterior of a property is a great way to remove dirt and grime quickly and effectively. The technique uses pressurised jets of water to blast algae, mould, staining and other forms of discolouration from a surface. Once the work is complete, the façade should be clean, clear and look like new.

Power washing is generally used when the underlying substrate is hard and non-porous. This is because the high pressure water can cause damage to some softer materials. Using pressure washing on a delicate surface like render, aged stone or masonry can result in an uneven finish and poor aesthetic result. It can also cause long term damage to the exterior of a property.

Benefits of soft washing

A soft washing system can be used to clean surfaces that would be damaged by pressure washing. Soft washing uses low pressure water to clean surfaces and remove dirt. As low pressure water is not as powerful as high pressure jets, soft washing chemicals are often used to help loosen dirt and grime and ensure a clean finish.

Soft washing is often used on façades that are porous or made from soft materials. Period buildings that have stone or masonry in their exterior can benefit from soft washing as the technique won’t damage or erode the soft surface of the stone or brick.

Choosing the most appropriate method

Spectrum uses both power washing and soft washing on our cleaning projects. However, even for a team with extensive cleaning experience, it is not always obvious which cleaning method is the best choice for a given job. In order to decide whether to carry out pressure washing or soft washing on UK projects, our teams often test both methods to see the results for themselves.

This involves doing a sample square on the façade of the building to see how the surface reacts to both high pressure jets and soft washing equipment. Once the tests have been carried out, our teams are able to assess the results and choose the best method for the job.

Specialist cleaning

In some cases, a combination of cleaning techniques is required in order to get the best possible results. If our teams feel soft washing is the most appropriate choice for the job, but believe extra cleaning power is required, they will often use a DOFF machine to turbo charge the process.

These innovative machines allow us to offer thorough and comprehensive soft washing solutions. Unlike other systems, DOFF machines heat the low-pressure water jets to around 155˚C. This extreme heat quickly and effectively loosens and removes dirt to leave all types of façades stain-free and looking like new.  This combined approach is often used to clean surfaces like stone and masonry that would be damaged by other cleaning techniques.

This technique forms part of our patented P.A.S.T cleaning method. In the first step of this 4-stage process, our operatives prepare the area for cleaning. They then apply a specially selected biocide before using the DOFF system to remove dirt and grime. Finally, our team will apply targeted treatment to any heavy staining that might be left on the façade.

A flexible approach

As well as DOFF machines and specialist soft washing chemicals, our teams are able to use a range of innovative and patented techniques to thoroughly clean the exterior of a building. Our 4-step P.A.S.T process is incredibly effective at removing all types of staining and discolouration. Our adapted and patented equipment allows our operatives to work via ropes as well as from the ground and our expertise allows us to clean surfaces of all types.

This flexible approach means we generally require no scaffolding to be erected when cleaning the exterior of a property. By avoiding the use of scaffolding, we’re able to complete the project quickly and efficiently while keeping access costs to a minimum.

When our operatives are unable to work via rope access, they are able to draw on a range of alternative access solutions in order to get the job done. In some cases, our teams will opt to work from cherry pickers or adapt their equipment so the clean can be carried out from the ground. By using a variety of access techniques, we are able to reach all areas of large commercial and residential properties.

Maintaining modern render

While we carry out a wide range of cleaning and maintenance services such as soft washing roof cleaning, gutter cleaning and window cleaning, we’re probably best known for our expertise in render cleaning. Render has a porous surface and so needs to be cleaned with soft washing in order to prevent damage. Using a DOFF machine and specialist chemicals will make the process even more effective. 

In order to help share our expertise in render cleaning, we’re running monthly CPD webinars on the subject. These will teach participants how to maintain modern render and protect the rendered façade of their building from damage. If you are interested in taking part in a webinar, please contact us for more details. Alternatively, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to see examples of our work and learn more about the specialist cleaning services we offer. 

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