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Best Methods to Clean a Roof Without Causing Shingle Damage

June 12, 2023

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How can you clean a roof without damaging shingles? This is a vital question to ask, as storm debris, soot, and other residues shorten shingle lifespan. On the other hand, improper power washing techniques also risk premature damage. Additionally, it’s possible for a property owner to blow shingles right off their roof while pressure washing its surface.

Your best choice for roof cleaning without damage is to call a professional roof washing company. However, if you want to tackle this job yourself, you might note some precautions. Also, these tips will help you keep a roof clean between professional visits. In turn, you’ll enjoy a clean, pristine property that always looks its best.

How Do You Clean Roof Shingles Without Damage?

Before you clean roof shingles, be sure you protect anything directly underneath roof edges. Remove patio furniture and other such items. Also, cover delicate landscaping with a tarp, if possible. You can also wet down that landscaping before roof washing, as this adds a layer of protection against damage.

Additionally, property owners should avoid getting onto the roof itself! Walking on a wet roof is dangerous, even for experienced pros. Consequently, an inexperienced homeowner should stay safely on the ground during roof washing. Instead, buy or rent telescoping washers that attach to a garden hose and needed nozzles.

Start with a good brush

Before washing a roof, start with a good brushing! Use a long-handled exterior brush meant for roofs. These can remove layers of storm debris as well as loose dirt, dust, and soot. You might not even need to wash your roof once you’ve given in a high-quality brushing.

Before and after roof cleaning in Tampa.

Using a bleach and water combination

A bleach and water combination is an excellent choice for cleaning a roof without damaging shingles. Bleach helps dissolve mold, algae, moss, and mildew while restoring shingle color. To clean your roof, mix a 50-50 combination of standard chlorine bleach. Add this to a garden hose attachment and spray toward the top of the roof.

Once you’ve saturated the roof, let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes. Next, use plain water and rinse the roof thoroughly. While you work, avoid spraying upward, meaning from the bottom edge of tiles. Instead, always spray from the top of the roof down to avoid loosening shingles.

Also, you want to avoid using this combination on a sunny day. Strong sunlight is likely to dry the bleach while it saturates the roof. In turn, it might not rinse away easily. Wait for a milder day to wash your roof for the best results.

roof cleaning for a home with shingles

Using bleach, water, and detergent

Some property owners find that using bleach to clean a roof leaves behind too many bothersome odors. With that in mind, try a solution of one-gallon water, one-quart bleach, and a squirt of dish detergent. Mix this solution until the detergent dissolves, and spray your roof.

Again, let this solution saturate the roof for several minutes before rinsing. If this doesn’t seem to clean the roof as needed, wait some months before trying it again! In many cases, the detergent and bleach will dissolve dirt and grime, but rinsing doesn’t always remove it. Instead, you might find that dirt, mold, algae, and other residues rinse off when exposed to rain, dew, and the like.

Additionally, you might use oxygenated bleach rather than chlorine bleach if you’re especially sensitive to bleach smells. Oxygenated bleach doesn’t tend to have the same strong odor as chlorine bleach while still offering an excellent clean.

Will Bleach Damage Asphalt Shingles?

The quick answer is no, bleach doesn’t typically damage asphalt shingles. Bleach is also an excellent choice for killing mold, moss, mildew, and algae. Also, bleach helps dissolve dirt, mud, and other grime on a structure’s roof.

However, there is one exception to keep in mind. Bleach might dry on a roof surface during a sunny day, as said. If you need to use bleach to kill mold and other contaminants, wait for overcast weather or later in the day.

Also, it’s vital that you rinse bleach completely to prevent it from drying and to avoid odors as much as possible. Lastly, bleach cleansers might leave behind an unpleasant, bothersome smell. If you have breathing sensitivities, consider something other than a bleach-based cleaner.

Is It OK to Power Wash a Shingle Roof?

It’s okay for a professional to power wash a shingle roof, but not an untrained amateur! What is the difference between the two? One reason a pro can wash a roof is that he or she knows the right pressure for cleaning without damage. Two, a professional will typically use specialty cleansers designed to dissolve thick dirt and grime.

Also, note that many professional power washing companies use a soft wash system. Soft washes start with those specialty detergents, loosening and dissolving dirt and grime. In turn, a contractor then only needs a low-pressure rinse to clean it away. This soft wash system ensures a safe, damage-free clean.

Lastly, professional power washers know how to avoid damaging shingles during the cleaning process. For example, they will usually hold the washing wand at a particular angle to avoid loosening shingles. Additionally, pressure washing contractors use caution when walking on shingles and other roof materials. Consequently, you’re assured of a safe yet thorough clean.

best methods for cleaning a roof with shingles

What Is the Best Roof Cleaner?

There is no “best” roof cleaner for a home, as various detergents and cleansers offer different cleaning power. You might compare roof cleaners to other cleaners you would use around the house; one choice is better for grease stains and another for mold, as example.

However, to help you narrow down your search for roof cleansers, check out some recommendations from home improvement expert Bob Vila:

  • Star Brite Mold and Mildew Stain Remover is best for mold, mildew, and other such growth. Use this product if you live in a tropical area or your home is prone to repeated mold issues.
  • Try Mold Armor Cleaner as a bleach cleanser for dissolving tough stains and black streaks. Bleach cleansers also cut through thick dirt, so you don’t need to scrub or repeatedly rinse for a complete clean.
  • If you’re looking for an overall pressure cleanser, check out Oxy Solve. This product is an excellent choice for cleaning various surfaces around your property, not just roofs. If you want to wash the driveway, pool deck, and the like, stock up on Oxy Solve.
  • The best overall cleaner is Wet and Forget, which works on a variety of stains as well as dirt, mud, and grime. As the name implies, you don’t even need to rinse away Wet and Forget. The material dissolves dirt over time, so it’s then rinsed away by rain, snow, and dew.
  • For an eco-friendly choice, try Simple Green Industrial Degreaser and Cleanser. Choosing an eco-friendly option is vital for protecting landscaping under the roof. Also, you’ll want an eco-friendly choice if you have pets or wildlife in your yard constantly. This will reduce the risk of an animal ingesting harmful chemicals other detergents contain.

Note, too, that sometimes water, a small amount of bleach, and a generous squirt of dish detergent are sufficient! Try brushing your roof with a long-handled roof rake or brush meant to remove debris. Next, give it a good rinse with plain water. Lastly, add the bleach, detergent, and water mixture.

Many homeowners are pleasantly surprised at how well this mixture works. It can also save you the cost of investing in a detergent that’s not really needed for getting your home’s roof clean.

Which Chemical Is Used to Clean Roofs?

Contractors might use detergents containing various chemicals to clean roofs. One reason for using different chemicals is that they each address a different issue with your roof. Two, some chemicals are stronger than others and might offer a more thorough clean!

Many chemical roof cleaners contain ammonia, copper sulfate, and trisodium phosphate. Ammonia not only removes mold and algae but also helps inhibit it from returning. However, ammonia is too harsh for metal and especially copper roofs. It also offers a strong smell that many people find unpleasant.

Copper sulfate also helps prevent mold and especially algae growth. It’s also safe for metal roofs and various other materials. Trisodium phosphate is an excellent degreaser, removing oily stains and residues from roofs. Also, a roof cleaning contractor might use a combination of these chemicals, for a thorough clean.

Does Spray and Forget Work on Roofs?

Wet and Forget is an excellent choice for cleaning roofs, as said. It offers a thorough clean that works over time. Also, it’s designed to get rinsed off gradually by rain, dew, and other natural processes. In turn, you don’t necessarily need to rinse it off your home’s roof after application.

Additionally, note that Wet and Forget is safe for a variety of outdoor surfaces. You can use it to clean concrete, patio pavers, and wood decks and fences. Wet and Forget is even useful on outdoor glass!

Lastly, note that Wet and Forget is bleach free. In turn, it’s an excellent choice for those sensitive to bleach odors. If you have allergies, asthma, or other such health concerns, consider Wet and Forget for your property.

How Can I Make My Roof Look New?

Sometimes a thorough cleaning is all that’s needed to make a roof look new again. In fact, some homeowners are surprised, if not downright shocked, at the difference made by a professional roof wash! Removing layers of dirt, soot, dust, mold, and other debris can often improve curb appeal instantly.

Also, it’s vital that you keep gutters clean and clog-free. Clogged gutters let water and other debris build-up. In turn, roofing shingles might absorb that water and become curled and buckled. Leaves, twigs, and gutter debris can also pile up along roof edges, creating an unsightly look.

Lastly, consider updating to a better-quality shingle and new gutters when possible. Today’s shingles come in a wide range of color options and sizes. A new shingle color and updated gutters can complement your home and increase curb appeal instantly.

roof cleaning for a house

How Do You Clean a Stained Roof?

A 50-50 mixture of bleach and water is excellent for cleaning moss, mold, and other stains from a roof. Also, Wet and Forget helps keep those contaminants from coming back. For grease stains such as for homes near a production facility, consider a cleaner with trisodium phosphate.

If these quick fixes don’t address a stained roof, it’s time to call in the professionals! A roof washing company might have access to stronger detergents and cleansers. Also, since they can safely walk on the roof itself, they’ll have better access for cleaning. In turn, they can address stains, caked-on dirt, and other tough messes.

How Do You Keep a Roof Clean?

Once you’ve cleaned your roof, it’s helpful to keep it clean! With just a few simple steps, you might find that your home’s roof stays cleaner over time. Also, these quick fixes can prevent damage due to a buildup of storm debris, mold, and the like.

  • First, trim back tree branches hanging over the roof. These drop leaves, twigs, sap, moss, and other debris. They also supply a roosting place for birds, who then leave behind unsightly droppings.
  • Next, keep the home’s gutters clean and invest in a leaf guard if needed. Rainwater trapped in clogged gutters washes up to the roof, risking mold, algae, and other growth.
  • Also, brush the home’s roof regularly and especially during autumn when it might get covered with leaves. This simple step can make a tremendous difference in its overall appearance.
  • Regular power washing by a professional can also prevent a buildup of dirt and other debris. Their services also protect a roof from damage caused by mold and algae growth.

Tampa Bay Pressure Washing Services is happy to bring this information about how to clean a roof without damaging shingles to our readers. Hopefully, you found it helpful! If you’re in the market for expert roof cleaning, call our Tampa Bay pressure washing contractors. We offer full-service cleaning you can trust! To get your property started with a FREE quote, call us today.

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