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Tips to Safely Remove Moss From Your Roof

How to remove moss from the roof

Moss on your roof seems pretty minor, but it can lead to significant problems if ignored. Moss can lift shingles, trap moisture, and cause leaks, compromising your roof’s integrity. With a thought-out and well-planned approach, you can easily remove moss from your roof – this guide is here to help!

Beyond what to do, we’ll explore why moss grows on your roof, what tools and materials you’ll need, and tips to maintain visibly cared-for shingles year-round.

Why Moss Grows on Your Roof

Moss thrives in damp, shaded environments, so rooftops are a prime location for growth. That’s especially true if they don’t get much sunlight. Beyond that though, moss could grow on your roof for other reasons too!

  • Debris Accumulation: Leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate on your roof, trapping moisture and creating a fertile environment for moss.
  • Poor Drainage: Inadequate drainage systems can cause water to pool on your roof, providing a constant source of moisture for moss to thrive.
5 steps to get moss off your roof

How You Can Remove It

Before staring moss in the eye, gather the necessary tools and materials so you can remove it safely. Your list could vary depending on preference and product availability, but here’s an idea of what the project requires:

  • Safety Gear: Use a sturdy ladder, non-slip shoes, safety harness, and gloves to protect yourself while working on the roof.
  • Soft-Bristle Brush: A soft brush will allow you to gently scrape off the moss without damaging your shingles.
  • Garden Hose with Spray Nozzle: Use this to rinse the roof and remove loose moss and debris.
  • Cleaning Solution: Choose a commercial moss remover or make your own with a mixture of water and vinegar or baking soda.
  • Bucket and Scoop: These will help you collect and dispose of the moss you remove.
  • Tarp: Lay a tarp over your landscaping and gutters to protect them from the runoff of cleaning solutions and moss debris.
  • Protective Eyewear: Wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from debris and cleaning solution splashes.

Steps to Follow

1) Safety First: Ensure the weather is dry and calm. Wear non-slip shoes, gloves, protective eyewear, and a safety harness. Set up a sturdy ladder on a stable surface.

2) Clear Loose Debris: Remove any leaves, twigs, and loose debris from your roof. This prevents additional moisture buildup that encourages moss growth.

3) Apply the Cleaning Solution: Mix your cleaning solution (either a commercial moss remover or a DIY mix of water and vinegar/baking soda). Apply it generously to the mossy areas, ensuring full coverage. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes to penetrate the moss.

4) Gently Scrape Off Moss: Using a soft-bristle brush, gently scrape off the moss. Be gentle to avoid damaging your shingles. Work in small sections, brushing downward to prevent lifting the shingles.

5) Rinse Thoroughly: Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to rinse the roof thoroughly. This washes away any remaining moss and cleaning solution residue.

6) Clean Up: Collect the scraped-off moss and dispose of it properly. Carefully remove the tarp, ensuring you don’t spill any debris onto your landscaping.

A roof half cleaned and half covered in moss growth

A roof half cleaned and half covered in moss growth

Moss Prevention and Other Maintenance

To keep your roof moss-free, regular maintenance is essential. Start by cleaning your roof regularly to prevent debris buildup. Leaves, twigs, and other materials can trap moisture, creating an ideal environment for moss.

Trim overhanging branches to reduce the amount of shade on your roof. Moss thrives in cool, damp, and shaded areas. Ensure your roof also has proper drainage. Clean your gutters regularly and check for any areas where water might pool. Good drainage prevents water from sitting on your roof and providing a constant moisture source for moss.

Consider installing zinc or copper strips along the roof’s ridge. When it rains, these metals produce a mild solution that inhibits moss growth. This is a simple yet effective way to prevent moss from taking hold.

Lastly, make sure your roof is well-ventilated. Proper ventilation helps keep your roof dry, reducing the chances of moss developing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to removing moss from your roof, there are a few common mistakes that can cause more harm than good. Avoid these pitfalls to ensure your roof stays in great condition:

  • Depending on your type of roof, pressure washing can actually damage it. Unless you have a metal roof or certain concrete ones, the high pressure can lift shingles, strip away protective granules, and even cause leaks. Stick to gentler methods like a garden hose with a spray nozzle and a soft-bristle brush.
  • Always prioritize safety. Skipping safety gear like non-slip shoes, gloves, and a harness can lead to accidents. Make sure your ladder is stable and the weather is calm before you start.
  • Some commercial moss removers contain harsh chemicals that can damage your shingles or harm your landscaping. Opt for gentler, eco-friendly solutions like a mixture of water and vinegar or baking soda.
  • Neglecting regular roof maintenance, including cleaning and inspections. This is all crucial to prevent moss from returning. Ignoring this can lead to recurring issues and long-term damage.
  • Using one-size-fits-all roof maintenance. Different roofing materials require different care. For instance, metal roofs may be more resilient, but cedar or asphalt shingles need gentler handling.

When to Call a Professional

DIY moss removal can be effective and is often all that’s necessary – but there are times when calling a professional is the best call.

For example, if you notice extensive moss coverage or significant roof damage, it’s wise to seek expert help. Professionals have the right tools and expertise to handle large-scale moss removal safely and effectively, without risking further damage to your roof.

Additionally, if you’re uncomfortable with heights or unsure about the safety procedures, a professional can ensure the job is done safely. They can also inspect your roof for underlying issues that may contribute to moss growth, providing a comprehensive solution that goes beyond just cleaning.


To maintain your roof’s function and appeal, your attention is necessary. Follow these steps to remove moss from your roof and keep it clean with proactive maintenance. If you ever notice large areas of moss growth or significant damage, don’t wait to involve a trained professional.

In Charleston, SC, and surrounding areas, call Ace Preferred Inspections to schedule an inspection with experts who are happy to answer your questions.