How to Remove Moss From Your Roof

green colored moss on top of a roof

If the top of your house is turning into a fuzzy green carpet, then it’s time to remove moss from your roof. Even if it’s just a small moss colony snuggling in the cracks and crevices of your shingles, you still need to stop moss and algae growth on your roof as soon as possible.

The problem with moss is that it can damage your roof and cause leaks, which leads to expensive repairs. If you are looking for DIY instructions on how to scrub away moss infestations that are making their home on top of yours, then read up, gather your tools, and get to work.

What is Moss?

With over 12,000 species, moss is a non-flowering plant consisting only of leaves and stems. They grow on moist, north-facing roofs shaded by trees or other objects.

Unlike most plants that absorb nutrients from a root system, moss absorbs water and nutrients through its leaves. Because of this, moss doesn’t require soil to grow on, making the plant adaptable to many surfaces – like your roof.

  • Moss doesn’t grow much in the summer but flourishes more in the wet conditions of rainy fall, damp winter, and early spring.
  • Once it appears on your roof, moss will continue to spread.
  • It can even survive for months without much water.
  • Even when moss appears dry and dead, it can rejuvenate the next time it rains.
  • Roof debris, such as leaves or tree branches, can trap moisture, attracting moss growth. So, if you have a worn-down roof, there’s a great chance it will attract moss growth.

Don’t panic if you find moss on your roof. If it appeared only recently, it’s not a major problem as long as you address it quickly. However, if you ignore a moss infestation, it may lead to more problems later on.

DIY Roof Moss Removal

moss on roof tiles
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Experts suggest a cloudy day is best for cleaning moss off your roof. The lack of direct sunlight means the cleaning chemicals will evaporate less quickly, giving them more time to soak into the roof.

Materials Needed for Removing Moss

A scrub brush is a must for moss removal. Ideally, the brush should have a long handle and soft bristles. When scrubbing, be gentle so as not to damage the shingles.

Don’t use a wire brush or a brush with hard bristles. An abrasive brush can erode the granules on asphalt shingles, damaging the roof and decreasing its lifespan.

Apart from a soft-bristle brush, here’s a list of other tools needed for moss removal:

  • Moss remover
  • Garden hose
  • Ladder
  • Spray nozzle
  • Safety rope
  • Protective headgear
  • Soft-soled shoes
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Old clothes

Types of Moss Removers

Be careful how you remove the moss, as some strategies can damage your roof. Also, remember that wet moss is looser and easier to remove than dry moss.

Here are the different types of moss removers you can use:

Liquid Moss Remover

Liquid moss killers should be applied to the roof with a spray bottle and then left to sit for about 20 minutes. After the solution soaks into the roof, use water and a brush to manually scrub off the moss.

Dry Powder Moss Remover

Dry powder roofing solutions are simple. Once the dry powder is sprinkled onto your roof, wait for the rain to come and wash it off your roof.

The rain will spread the moss remover all over your roof. Within a few days, the moss should fall off and die. You can scrub or rinse off the moss afterward to remove the vegetative debris from your roof.

However, the dry powder does not coat the roof as evenly as liquid moss removers. So you must sprinkle it in lines to cover the entire roof – spacing them about 2 to 4 feet apart.

Homemade Moss Remover

You can make your own moss removal solution by using any one of these recipes:

Recipe #1: Dish Soap2 gallons water8 oz. dish soap
Recipe #2: Bleach2 gallons water2 gallons chloride bleach
Recipe #3: Vinegar2 gallons water2 cups vinegar
Recipe #4: Powdered Bleach2 gallons water2 cups powdered oxygen bleach
Recipe #5: Salt2 gallons water2 tablespoons vinegar2 pounds vinegar2 tablespoons salt

For whichever mixture you want to use, simply select the cleaning ingredient of your choice and mix it with 2 gallons of water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another home remedy that homeowners use for moss removal.

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over the affected areas of your roof.
  2. After 2 or 3 days, check if the moss has dried.
  3. Once the moss is dead, use a long-handled scrub brush or scraper to scrub off the moss.
  4. Rinse off the debris with a garden hose.


Chlorine bleach is an abrasive moss killer that will shorten the lifespan of your roof shingles if not properly diluted with water in a 50/50 ratio mixture.

Also, be careful about runoff. Bleach doesn’t just kill moss – it can kill other plants as well.


Vinegar is more environmentally friendly than the alternatives, although it will not be quite as effective. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar are the best options for cleaning moss off your slate roof.

Steps For Removing Moss From Your Roof

removing moss from a roof
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The steps to remove moss from roofs are pretty straightforward:

Step 1: Secure your ladder and climb up to your roof. Remember to take extra care when climbing up and down the ladder.

Step 2: Hose down your roof. Some homeowners start with applying moss removal. But for best results, wash your roof first before applying the moss remover. Remember to spray the water downward to flow with the roof pattern – never spray the hose upward. If you wish, you can scrub off as much moss as possible before applying the moss remover chemical.

Step 3: Spray the moss remover of your choice onto the affected roof surface. Use a sprayer to apply the chemical on the moss spores. Your moss remover solution can be either liquid, dry powder, or a homemade solution.

Step 4: Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes. If your solution is store-bought, follow the directions on the container.

Step 5: Scrub off the moss with a long-handled, soft-bristled scrub brush. Be careful with scrubbing shingles because scrubbing too hard can damage them.

Step 6: Rinse off your roof. Thoroughly wash your shingles with a garden hose to rinse off dead moss and traces of chemicals that may damage your roof.

Note: It can be risky to climb a roof if you’re not skilled enough. In most cases, it’s better to call a professional roofing company to clean your roof or gutters.

Why is Moss Bad for Your Roof?

While it looks pretty and gives your roof a natural, picturesque appearance, moss is bad news for your roof. Moss grows into the cracks of your roof and pries up the shingles, causing moisture to seep into your roof and get trapped underneath. This results in decay, roof rot, or leak problems.

The damage could decrease your roof’s lifespan or require replacing shingles. Aside from that, moss can be a turnoff for potential buyers, as it makes a home look run-down and neglected.

How to Prevent Moss from Growing on Your Roof

You don’t have to wait for moss to grow to deal with the problem. Take the following measures to prevent your roof from becoming a moss garden:

Annual Inspections

It is recommended that roofs be inspected once or twice a year. This allows professional roofers to inspect your roof for damage and catch problems early on. A roof inspector should be able to spot signs of moss growth on your roof.

Trim Back Tree Branches

Do whatever you can to eliminate shade from your roof, as this will thwart moss from settling into your roof. Trees are the most common source of roof shade, so trim back any tree branches hanging over your roof.

Add Copper or Zinc

Metal is a natural deterrent to moss, with copper and zinc being especially good for resisting moss. Some homeowners add copper or zinc strips to their roofs to help prevent vegetative growth, such as:

  • Algae
  • Lichen
  • Mildew
  • Moss

These metal strips are installed underneath the ridge cap.

Clean Your Gutters

Clogged gutters attract moss growth, while clean, unclogged gutters with a properly functioning drainage system decrease the chance of moss growth on your roof.

To prevent moss from forming on your roof, keep your gutters debris-free and unclogged. You can clear out some of the debris with a leaf blower.

Tips for Moss Removal

patches of moss on roof
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1. Protect the Plants

To protect your landscaping plants from chemical damage, cover them with protective plastic sheeting before cleaning your roof. Assess which plants are near or under the roof overhangs and eaves, and cover any plants in the path of draining water or water spray coming off your roof.

Spray down your plants with water before and after the roof cleaning to rinse off any harmful chemicals.

2. Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals

Avoid repairs by not using harmful chemicals. These cleaning chemicals will damage your roof if not diluted with the right ratio.

Harsh chemicals can:

  • Discolor the shingles
  • Strip shingles of their protective layer
  • Damage paint

Bleach, detergents, and vinegar can all cause damage to asphalt shingles if not properly diluted in water.

3. Say No to Pressure-Washers

Don’t use a pressure washer on your roof. While it may be an effective way to eliminate moss, it will erode the shingles’ granules, discolor the shingles, and decrease your roof’s lifespan.

Instead of pressure-washing, use a safer option that won’t result in your roof needing expensive repairs. Only rely on low-pressure hoses to rinse off dead moss.

4. Be Mindful of Warranties

Some cleaning methods like pressure-washing or applying the wrong kind of chemicals can void your warranties. Before you start, figure out the safest cleaning method for you and your roof, then check to ensure it won’t void your warranty.

5. Reroofing Isn’t the Way to Go

Don’t reroof if your roof is infested with moss. It is best to get a roof replacement rather than install another layer of shingles over the roofing.

Adding a second layer of shingles won’t get rid of the problem – it just covers it up and will cause even more problems down the road. Moss growing underneath a new roof can lead to fungi and mold problems plaguing your roof system. Furthermore, reroofing can void your roof warranty.

6. Beware of Slippery Ladders

When you clean your roof, avoid getting your ladder wet as much as possible. If water gets on your ladder while you are hosing down your roof, it will make the ladder slick and dangerous. You need to be extra careful when climbing up and down the ladder.

7. Safety Equipment is Your Friend

Roofs are dangerous, as you could suffer a nasty fall. So, it’s worthwhile to invest in safety equipment, such as harnesses and ropes, to secure yourself while you are on the roof.

8. Best Time for Moss Removal

Experts recommend removing moss on a cloudy day. That way, the chemicals soaking on the roof won’t evaporate as quickly.

Additionally, it’s best to remove moss when it’s dry. The months between April and October are recommended as the best time of year to remove moss. So avoid removing moss during the cold winter months or when the moss is frozen, as it is less effective than doing it in warmer climates.

FAQ About Removing Moss From Your Roof

Which Type of Roof Is the Most Moss-Resistant?

Of the different roofing materials, metal roofs are the most resistant to moss. Their slick surface doesn’t allow moss to grow easily.

What if I Like the Moss?

Some homeowners find moss pleasantly picturesque and want to retain the forest look. While moss may look pretty, it is harmful to your roof and causes costly damage. If you want vegetation on your roof, you might consider installing a green roof that can accommodate natural growth.

What Naturally Kills Moss?

It’s difficult to find environmentally friendly solutions for cleaning moss off your roof, but vinegar and baking soda are the best eco-friendly options.

Hire a Pro for Expert Roof Moss Removal

Now you know the basics of how to remove moss from your roof – all it takes is some scrubbing and rinsing. So, if you’re ready to scrub the moss off your roof, grab your ladder, hose, and brush.

If you don’t like DIY jobs or you can’t squeeze rooftop moss removal in your busy schedule, don’t hesitate to hire a pro.

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Danielle Gorski

Danielle Gorski lives with her family in Texas. She has a degree in Professional Studies and a minor in marketing. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, and writing.