What is the Difference between Power Washing and Pressure Washing

What is the Difference between Power Washing and Pressure Washing

What do sweet potatoes and yams have to do with pressure washing and power washing? Read on to find out — and to learn which method will get your home or business sparkling clean.

Which is Which?

Many people use the terms sweet potato and yam interchangeably. They’re the same thing, right? A rich yellowy-orange treat that tastes pretty delicious with some butter and salt or maybe some melted marshmallows around the holidays. But the truth is that these tubers are not the same at all; they are two completely different and distinct foods.


Yummy starches aside, the terms pressure washing and power washing are often used interchangeably as well. They both tackle tough jobs and produce a deep clean. Yes. But they are not the same. They, too, are two completely different and distinct processes.

Understanding the differences can help you make the right decision when it comes to cleaning your siding, deck, patio, sidewalks, parking lot, concrete, furniture, and more.

Some (Stains) Like It Hot

Both pressure and power washing techniques use highly pressurized water to destroy dirt, debris, droppings, grime, grit, and blemishes that mar your surfaces. The big difference is that power washing adds temperature to the mix.

When high-pressure meets high-temperature, build-up and stubborn stains don’t stand a chance. This makes power washing an optimal choice for a number of different applications, including:

  • Oil and grease stains on your garage floor or driveway.
  • Grime from fences.
  • Weed control.
  • Salt residue. Sometimes, even those of us in North Carolina need to combat ice with salt — which loves to eat away at our surfaces and our vehicles.
  • Sticky situations. Have a chewing gum or tree sap problem? Power washing to the rescue.
  • Large scale jobs, such as parking garages, stadiums, and other tough outdoor tasks.
  • Mold and mildew from your decks, patios, and driveway. Heat breaks down and destroys germs and spores. If you or anyone in your household suffer from allergies, power washing can be a breath-saver.
  • Build-up that has build-up. When there is layer after layer of dirt or grime, the added heat of power washing can cut the time it takes to do the job — saving you money to boot.

What About Pressure Washing?

Pressure washing utilizes the high-powered, concentrated stream of water without the heat.

Now, this isn’t your garden variety hose… pressure washers are specialized pieces of equipment with an output 100 or more times greater than a standard garden hose. While the water temperature is not elevated, the pressure alone is enough to power away dirt, build-up, and certain stains.

It is a great solution for cleaning:


  • Masonry
  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Furniture
  • Decks
  • Patios
  • Driveways
  • Garage floors
  • Outdoor gear (e.g. kayaks, boats, bikes, lawn mowers)
  • Siding
  • Tile walkways/patios
  • Muddy vehicles (couldn’t resist some off-roading? Pressure washing will clear away the evidence!)

You’ll notice that many of the applications are the same: you can clean your deck, patio, sidewalk, parking lot, etc., with either power washing or pressure washing. So how do you know which service is right for you and the job at hand?

Tough Job — Or Really Tough Job?

Pressure washing is an effective solution for any number of household or business-related tasks. It’s tough on dirt and grime — but easier on surfaces. So if you need to spruce up your deck, clean your masonry, or get your siding up to par, this is the way to go.

Power washing brings clean to the next level. It is meant for tougher, and larger, jobs. Getting the grease stains out of your parking lot, the grime off an old building, or the weeds out of sidewalks, for example, are all appropriate uses of power washing. While heat does an effective and thorough job loosening dirt and other debris, it can damage softer surfaces, so use caution.

Better yet, use a professional power washing and pressure washing service. The experts know which method will work for your particular needs; they know how much heat and pressure are necessary to get your surfaces looking their best. No damage. No mess. No fuss. Just the results you need.

You may not know (or care about!) the difference between a yam and sweet potato. But when it comes to cleaning your property, understanding the difference between power washing and pressure washing is vital. Have more questions? We have answers!