Downstream vs X-Jet

November 23, 2021

Two Primary Pressure Washing Methods

There are two ways that a surface can be cleaned by pressure washing. The first method is high-pressure washing, also known as “power washing.” This is commonly used on concrete and other hard surfaces to remove dirt, grease, gum, and oil. Until recent years, this was the primary way to clean any surface, including roofs and siding.

Low-pressure washing, commonly referred to as “soft washing,” is a method that uses low pressure in conjunction with a cleaning solution to gently wash the surface. Various soaps and cleaning solutions are used in lieu of high pressure, making for a less volatile method of cleaning.

Soft washing versus Power Washing

The difference between soft washing and power washing may seem obvious, but some might assume that the difference is negligible since the outcome is the same: the removal of dirt, mold, and mildew. It’s true, the end result appears to be the same, but looks are deceptive.

In the midwest, mold and mildew are the most common growths on vinyl and stucco siding. They are spore-based parasites, spreading through the air and landing on various surfaces. They tend to prefer moisture and shade. When traditional power washing is used on a house, the spores are blasted into the air, settle, and begin to regrow. It isn’t uncommon for houses that have been power washed to have mold and mildew growing again within a matter of days or weeks.

Soft washing uses a mild chlorinated solution, around 1%, to kill the mold and mildew. This, coupled with low pressure water, essentially treats the siding and helps prevent regrowth by eradicating the problem. The solution is mild enough to not harm plants and animals, but strong enough to get rid of mold and mildew on siding.

Power washing also presents a risk to vinyl and stucco, as pounds per square inch (PSI) can be in the 3,000 to 5,000 range, high enough to put holes in your siding. Power washing also requires every square inch of the siding to be cleaned using a narrow stream. It is time consuming and expends a high volume of water. Soft washing uses much lower pressure, less than 1,000 PSI, and can be applied in a cone or fan, covering more area faster. This uses less water and takes far less time than traditional power washing. Add in the substantially reduced risk of damage to siding, soft washing is the clear choice when looking for a professional exterior house cleaning service.

Soft Washing Application

There are a number of ways to apply solution to siding as well, each with advantages and limitations. While everyone tends to have a preferred method, it’s also viable to have equipment for all methods on your trucks to facilitate a variety of options in your toolbox for tackling jobs. 

1) X-Jet Nozzle

The x-jet is a convenient “plug’n’play” application device that attaches to the end of your wand. It uses a low pressure injection valve and hose that actuates when your pressure is below a certain psi, allowing it to draw from a bucket. 


  • Quick attach allows for easy switch from washing to rinsing without the need to clear the hose of solution
  • Wide misting action allows for fast coverage of surfaces
  • Relatively inexpensive to get started
  • Simple maintenance
  • Various “proportioning” inserts to adjust ratio of application


  • Requires carrying around 5 gallon buckets of solution
  • Doesn’t always have the distance of other applications
  • Can leak if left on ground with nozzle below the bucket

2) Downstream Injector

A downstreamer is an injection system that starts at the beginning of the hose. Easy to remember ratios, as most downstreamers come in a 10:1 configuration with metering valves sometimes available. 


  • Easy to use. 
  • Injector is installed on the start of the hose so no parts to go missing
  • Easy to remember ratio of 10:1
  • Good distance for applying to taller houses


  • Hose length can affect solution strength
  • Hose must be cleared before rinsing, or a separate wand and tank must be used
  • 10:1 is often the highest ratio it can go, limiting it to jobs that can be completed with a 1.25% solution or less
  • Maintenance can be more tedious

Both application methods are popular in the cleaning industry, and each have advantages and disadvantages. The x-jet gets good coverage quickly and allows for easy switch from washing to rinsing, but requires that you carry a bucket of solution with you. The downstreamer is simpler and more convenient for walking the job, but requires clearing the hose when changing solutions or rinsing. 

Whatever you choose, Agent Clean Solutions has got you covered on cleaning products. Our lineup of detergents and soft washing additives are perfect for day-to-day operations.

Agent Clean Solutions offers high-quality detergents, surfactants, and degreasers for use in the exterior cleaning industry. Originally developed to provide optimal products for Agent Clean franchise, A leader in the cleaning industry, Agent Clean Solutions provides a product lineup useful for day-to-day soft washing, power washing, and window cleaning operations, as well as business and systems training at events around the country. For information regarding this release or our products, contact our office at (855) 927-4243 or email

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Downstream vs X-Jet

There are a number of ways to apply solution to siding as well, each with advantages and limitations. While everyone tends to have a preferred method, it’s also viable to have equipment for all methods on your trucks to facilitate a variety of options in your toolbox for tackling jobs.

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