How to get rid of moss & lichens on the roof

Written by kimbry parker
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How to get rid of moss & lichens on the roof
Preserve your roof by removing moss and lichen promptly. (roof image by kuhar from Fotolia.com)

If you notice green, white or grey spots on your roof, moss and lichen are likely the culprits. Roof moss and lichen are not only unsightly but can damage the roof over time. To remove lichen and moss from the roof, try the least-toxic method for moss and lichen removal first (oxygen bleach) before moving on to a harsher method (chlorine bleach).

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • 236ml. oxygen bleach
  • Garden sprayer
  • Garden hose
  • Long-handled scrub brush
  • 1 cup chlorine bleach
  • 1 cup liquid washing powder
  • 1/4 cup trisodium phosphate

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Instructions

    Oxygen Bleach

  1. 1

    Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of hot water. Add 236ml of oxygen bleach to the water. Wait about five minutes for the oxygen bleach to completely dissolve into the water.

  2. 2

    Pour the mixture into a garden sprayer. Mix the solution directly into the sprayer rather than the bucket if you have a garden sprayer able to hold the full gallon of water.

  3. 3

    Wet down the roof with plain water from the garden hose. Spray a generous coating of the oxygen bleach mixture onto the roof immediately.

  4. 4

    Allow the oxygen bleach to sit on the roof for about 20 minutes. Spray more of the solution onto the roof if it is hot or sunny outside and the mixture is drying onto the roof before the 20 minutes has elapsed. The goal is to keep the roof wet with the oxygen bleach mixture for at least 20 minutes.

  5. 5

    Use a long-handled scrub brush to scrub the moss and lichen spots. It will help to loosen them up before rinsing.

  6. 6

    Rinse the roof with plain water. Work from the peak of the room down.

  7. 7

    Repeat the application of oxygen bleach, if necessary.

    Chlorine Bleach

  1. 1

    Fill a bucket with 1 gallon hot water. Add 1 cup chlorine bleach, 1 cup liquid washing powder and ¼ cup trisodium phosphate.

  2. 2

    Pour the mixture into a garden sprayer. Mix the solution directly into the sprayer rather than the bucket if you have a garden sprayer able to hold the full gallon of water.

  3. 3

    Spray a generous coating of the cleaning solution onto the roof. Scrub the moss and lichen from the roof with a long-handled scrub brush.

  4. 4

    Allow the bleach solution to remain on the roof for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let the bleach solution remain on the roof any longer than 15 minutes; chlorine bleach can cause damage to the roof if left on any longer.

  5. 5

    Rinse the solution from the roof with plain water from the garden hose. Rinse from the peak of the roof down. Reapply the solution, if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose an overcast day to clean the roof of moss and lichen. This will prevent the cleaning solution from drying too quickly.
  • Although it is not necessary, consider cleaning the entire roof with the cleaning solution when removing moss and lichen. This will give the roof a clean, uniform look rather than one or two spots that are extremely clean.
  • Make sure to rinse downspouts and gutters that may have been in contact with the cleaning solution. Leaving the cleaning solution in the gutters or downspouts without rinsing can cause them to corrode.
  • Thoroughly soak surrounding landscaping, plants and foliage with plain water prior to cleaning the roof with the bleach and trisodium phosphate solution. This will help to protect them from damage from these cleaners. You can also cover the plants and foliage with plastic sheets for added protection. Rinse off the foliage and landscaping again with plain water after cleaning is complete.
  • Wear protective eye gear and rubber gloves when using chlorine bleach and trisodium phosphate. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs to prevent skin irritation from the cleaners.
  • Use caution when working on a ladder to reach the roof. Use a stable ladder and enlist a helper to hold the ladder. Wear no-slip shoes.

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