Residential Roofing: Roof Cleaning 101

Residential Roofing: Roof Cleaning 101

It’s inevitable that algae, moss, dirt and grime will collect on your roof over time. Not only will these contaminants reduce your home’s curb appeal, but they can also damage your roof if they are left untreated. The good news is that DIY roof cleaning is a straightforward process that even inexperienced homeowners can handle.

For the best results, use methods intended to address specific problems. Debris, moss and algae stains each require a slightly different approach.

Cleaning Roof Debris

Sticks, branches, pine needles and leaves will collect on your roof if it’s within close range of tall trees. Here’s how to safely get rid of debris:

  1. Climb onto your roof and clear large pieces of debris by hand.
  2. Use a brush or broom with soft bristles to sweep away smaller particles.
  3. Finish by using a leaf blower to get rid of any lingering remains.

Get Rid of Roof Moss

Moss can cause roof leaks if it’s left for an extended period of time. You should not only get rid of it promptly, but you should also take preventive action to prevent its regrowth. Here is an easy, proven method:

  1. Prepare an acidic or basic cleaning solution. Moss cannot survive in environments with a pH level below 4 or above 7.
  2. A combination of baking soda or baking powder, salt, liquid dish detergent and bleach or ammonia mixed with hot water will create an effective basic environment. Note: do not use bleach AND ammonia. Use bleach OR ammonia.
  3. To create an acidic environment, mix vinegar and hot water in about a 50/50 mix. You can also add citrus fruit juice for a little extra punch.
  4. Some professionals simply apply chlorine to roof moss; this is a third method you may want to try.
  5. Saturate mossy areas on the roof with the cleaning solution. Do not rinse. The moss will die within a few hours, and any lingering traces will be washed away at the next rainfall.

To prevent moss from growing back, trim any nearby tree branches which shade your roof. Moss needs shade to thrive, and it won’t return if your roof is always exposed to open air and sunlight.

Remove Algae and Black Stains

To get rid of algae and black stains, prepare an acidic solution similar to the one mentioned above for removing moss. Saturate the roof with the solution, then spot clean with a soft brush or broom to clean heavily stained areas.

A Few Words of Warning

Here are a few pieces of advice to keep in mind during roof cleaning, and roofing maintenance in general:

  1. Never use a pressure washer on a roof. This can damage even the most resilient types of roofs (including metal roofs).
  2. Test any cleaning solution on a small sample of your roof’s material to make sure it won’t cause stains or corrosion.
  3. Use a gentle touch and a soft-bristled broom or brush if you’re going to scrub shingles. Otherwise, you could damage them.
  4. Start from the top and work your way down to reduce your chances of slipping on a slick roof.

Need Help With Roof Maintenance?

Performing a little routine roof maintenance can go a long way in keeping your shingle roofing in tip-top shape. If you’ve fallen behind, or need a professional to inspect or clean your roof, contact All Roofing Solutions, your Delaware & Pennsylvania roofing repair specialists. We’re here to help with all your roofing needs, and are available to assist you 24/7.

To schedule your free consultation, call 302-725-ROOF (7663) in Delaware or 610-551-ROOF (7663) in Pennsylvania.


  1. Posted August 9, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this helpful article. I haven’t thought that I will find an article related to my problem. I was really concerned for our roof but your advises worked for me! Thank you again! Best wishes!

  2. Posted August 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    We are getting our home painted, and I think it would be nice to get the roof cleaned so it looks nice too. I like your warning to not use a pressure washer since they can damage the roof. We do have a high roof, so I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable climbing up there to clean it. It would probably be best to call a professional to do this for us.

  3. Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve always known that algae growth can be a problem for my roof, but I’ve never known how to get rid of it. Using an acidic solution seems like a good way to clean the algae away. That’s good to know so that I can finally do something about all of the moss and algae that’s growing on my roof.

  4. Posted August 17, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Cleaning your roof would be a great idea just because you never know what is stuck up there. I think it would also be helpful because then it is clean enough to make repairs if there needs to be any. It might even prevent repairs from having to be done on the house.

  5. Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I love your tips on how to best keep your roof clean all year round. Keeping debris off your roof sounds easy enough. I’ll have to get up on my roof soon and see what kind of crazy stuff I can find up there.

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