If you have just gotten your new pressure washer, there’s probably a lot of things you want to do with it. You might want to wash that motor oil or other automotive fluids off your driveway, blast off those bird droppings off your car, or clean off the paint or stains on that old glass. Since it is a new pressure washer, it is safe to assume that you might want to turn the PSI up to the maximum to achieve optimal results while sending those stains back to where they came from.
Sorry to disappoint, pressure washing may not always be the best way to deal with those stubborn stains especially when you are dealing with soft and fragile materials. Basically, there are some major problems you might encounter while blasting away some stains off your belongings, especially when you are using several thousand PSI of highly pressurized water. Trust me, you may ruin those fragile materials, damage that concrete or break those old glasses.
Don’t panic. There’s always a solution to every problem! This is where the term “soft washing” comes into play. It may not sound as impressive as you want, but soft washing is a very useful method of cleaning. If you are wondering what soft washing means, what it entails, or if you can soft wash with a pressure washer, don’t look too far. The rest of this article answers basic questions about soft washing and provides a guide to make washing easier for you!
What Is Soft Washing?
A soft wash is quite similar to a pressure wash, only that this cleaning method makes use of detergents that are normally meant for soft washing. Now you may be wondering how these soft detergents can get your work done. Actually, most of these detergents have a bleach base just so that they can quickly break down contaminants like mold, algae or bacteria. While most of the detergents contain a bleach base, others contain gentle and biodegradable substances making them safe for use for your garden, lawn, and other landscaping features. Now to the main business, what is soft washing and what does it entail?
Usually, pressure washing involves blasting away at cars, driveways, and walls with a PSI of 3,000 or more. It is a lot right. Now instead of this, soft washing involves using a much lower PSI level to get your job done. The main point of this method is that blasting away at various materials or items with a very high PSI level may easily damage your properties, be it your car mirror, vinyl siding, soft concrete, glass or anything in between. Since it is at high pressure, the force can bring about damage which I know you wouldn’t want.
Soft washing, however, simply involves reducing the pressure, usually to less than 1,000 PSI. After all, it is called soft washing for a reason, and that is because it makes use of a low level of PSI, which sometimes goes as low as 500 or even 100 PSI. The sole reason for this is to help prevent the damage that high-pressure washing can bring to your property.
I know that you may be wondering how or in what way such low-pressure levels can get rid of dirt, oil, mildew, mold, and stuck-on grime. It is easy. As I mentioned above, soft washing usually makes use of some kind of detergent, soap or specialized fluids that have been specially designed to biodegrade and get rid of all kinds of biological agents, such as mold and algae.
These specialized detergents are usually enough to make up for the low PSI level when they are compared to the pressure washing. Asides from using biodegradable detergents, some soft washing techniques often make use of hot water instead of the regular cold water technique. This is, in fact, an added bonus when it comes to removing stubborn stains, dirt, grime, bird droppings, grime and more because it easily dissolves them while getting rid of the bacteria. Sometimes, it is not always about the high-pressure level or the force involved. Even at a low PSI, soft washing when combined with specialized cleaning agents, and sometimes some hot water, is even more effective and enough to get your job done well.
Can You Soft Wash With A Pressure Washer?
Can you soft wash with a pressure washer? Yes, you can. One good thing about soft washing is that you can make use of any pressure washers to achieve it. However, there are a couple of key things that need to be put into consideration before trying it out. First of all, you need to find a way to reduce the pressure, which I tell you, is sometimes easier said than done. Usually, some pressure washers give room for you to adjust the PSI as much as you can. However, it may not be as low as is required for soft washing. Nevertheless, not to worry, there is a way around it. This part is where a specialized spray gun tip comes into action.
On the market, there are several spray gun tips which have been specially designed just for soft washing. There are some specialized tips that are really large in diameter. Due to the large diameter, water comes out smoothly without much pressure behind it, hence the flow cannot damage your property. There are also some specialized tips that are designed to split the flow of water into two, therefore cutting the pressure into half while doubling the area that they cover. Therefore, if you want to achieve a soft wash with your pressure washer, this is just what you need.
Another method to achieve soft washing is by looking out for the detergent storage tank. As discussed earlier, soft washing involves using specialized cleaning agents and detergents. However, with pressure cleaning, not all pressure washers are designed to come with detergent tanks. Hence, you need to get a pressure washer that has a detergent tank, which can hold the specialized cleaning agents that you need to soft wash with. It is important to know that without a detergent tank, you may not be able to achieve a soft wash.
Lastly, while some soft washing methods use hot water, not all pressure washers can use hot water. So you just need to find the perfect balance which is, a pressure washer that either has an adjustable pressure setting or a special spray gun tip, a washer with a good detergent tank, and ideally, a washer that can handle hot water.
On What Kind Of Materials Can I Apply Soft Washing?
As you know, soft washing makes use of pressurized water, only that the pressure is very low, usually only a bit higher than the standard garden hose with a spray tip attached. Now, this reduced pressure makes soft washing much safer than the old pressure washing. Now, there are some people that may not know what kind of situations to apply soft washing or high-pressure washing. If you fall into this category, don’t be bothered. We have gathered a few situations which may be helpful to you. Applications of soft washing may include the following:
- Soft old bricks
- Old windows that have gotten really brittle and weak over a long time.
- Concrete that is cracked or damaged
- Surfaces with cracked or chipped paints or such coatings
- Stained glass or painted patios and decks
- Any rusted or corroded surface
- Roofs that are old and have loose shingles
- Softwoods, or any old wood that has absorbed enough moisture and has gotten soft over the years
Also for light-duty equipment and machinery, soft washing can also useful, especially for that equipment that has exposed parts, which can become loose during a high-pressure wash. Some of these types of equipment include lawnmowers, weed trimmers, saws, snow blowers, etc.
Is the Soft Washing Technique Safe?
Soft washing in most cases has its benefits over pressure washing, and it really does come in handy in some situations. As stated, there is a possibility of damage when using normal pressure washing. Using a highly pressurized jet of water to blast your car may cause damage to exterior siding. It can cause damage to your car mirrors, blasting them right off the car, it may cause damage to your masonry, and cause concrete to slowly disintegrate. However since soft washing does not require that much pressure, it is safe to say that it won’t cause damage.
In addition, when dealing with stubborn bacteria like mold and mildew, you might need to apply other specialized detergents, chemicals, and liquids to get rid of them. This is because they might be hard to remove with pressure alone, hence making soft washing the best option. Therefore, whatever choice you have decided to make, ensure that the safety of your property is put into consideration.