How to Remove Moss From Your Roof

By Rachel Newcomb Updated February 6, 2024

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Moss can spring up between shingles on roofs in damp climates or under thick tree cover. Some people may find the look of a moss covered roof picturesque, but over time, moss can cause roofing materials to degrade because it traps moisture which may cause damage to decking and joists. To extend your roof’s life span and put off the cost of a new roof as long as possible, you should remove moss as soon as you identify it. We’ll walk you through the moss removal process step-by-step and show you how to keep it from coming back.

 


 

Identifying Moss on Your Roof

Moss is a type of dense plant growth that is most prevalent in damp or shady areas. It frequently grows on tree-shaded or north-facing roof surfaces where moisture isn’t able to drain away or evaporate. Roof moss is generally green and can be found between and beneath shingle tabs.

 


 

Understanding Moss Growth

Moss is a small, rootless plant that grows in sheets. It reproduces using spores that are spread through the air and water. Two factors contribute to moss buildup on roofs: water and organic debris. Together they nourish the plant and encourage it to spread. That’s why you usually find moss growing on roofs in shaded areas where water isn’t able to evaporate quickly.

Although some think moss growth on a shingle roof creates a charming, cottage-like appearance, it actually damages asphalt shingles and other roofing materials. Over time, moss buildup widens fissures and gaps in these materials and traps moisture against the roof. In gutters and downspouts, moss can create blockages, sending water over the gutter edges and down to pool by the home’s foundation, potentially causing water damage. Because it spreads quickly, it’s important to clean moss away as soon as you find it.

 


 

Preparing for Moss Removal

Before you start the process of roof moss removal, you’ll need to gather your tools and materials and take a few safety precautions. Most homeowners probably have the tools needed to combat a moss problem on hand. It’s worth noting that we recommend using the low pressure of a garden hose—rather than a pressure washer. Pressure washing may remove moss, but it will also damage shingles. The pressure blasts away granules and weakens roofing materials. You’re better off using a hose and a soft-bristled scrub brush than a pressure washer.

ToolCost Range*

Garden hose

$20–$50

Goggles

$10–$15

Ladder

$80–$160

Long-handled scrub brush

$10–$20

Plasting sheeting

$7–$20

Safety harness kit (optional)

$100–$150

Soft-bristled scrub brush

$8–$27

Spray bottle (optional)

$6–$15

Spray nozzle

$8–$16

Work gloves

$5–$10

*Costs via Amazon.

You’ll need some kind of cleaning solution, which you can make or buy. Commercial pre-mixed moss killer is available as both a dry powder and a liquid. You can mix your own solution by combining 1 to 3 cups of chlorine bleach, a bit of dish soap, and 2 gallons of water. Keep in mind that bleach is deadly to most plants, so you’ll need to cover nearby bushes and flower beds with plastic sheeting.

Finally, it’s important to take ladder and roof safety seriously. It’s difficult to properly apply the chemical solution without getting up on the roof, which means that there’s a fall risk. If you plan to spend significant time on your roof, you can purchase a personal fall arrest kit that includes a harness, safety rope, and roof anchor.

 


 

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Moss

Follow these steps to clean moss from your roof.

Step 1: Safety Measures

Step 2: Initial Cleaning

Step 3: Applying Moss Removal Solutions

Step 4: Removing the Remaining Moss

This step is particularly important. Even when dead, moss can trap moisture on your roof and lead to other types of damage.

Step 5: Post-Cleaning Roof Inspection

 


 

Professional vs. DIY Moss Removal

In many cases, this is a home improvement job you can handle yourself. Moss removal requires only basic tools, and the cleaning solutions typically cost less than $50. The biggest issue here is safety. Roof work already comes with a fall risk, and working on a wet, moss-slick roof is even riskier. Carefully consider whether doing it yourself is worth the money you’ll save.

Typically, professional roof cleaning costs between $0.20 and $0.30 per square foot for moss removal, which is about $300 to $450 for a 1,500-square-foot roof. Obviously, this is substantially more expensive than doing it yourself, but professional cleaners can probably get the job done quicker and more thoroughly than you can. They’ll also know how to avoid damaging roofing materials. If you don’t already have the right equipment or you don’t fancy the thought of climbing on your roof, consider calling in pros.

 


 

Preventing Future Moss Growth

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your roof, do your best to keep it clean with the following tips.

 


 

Our Recommendation

Moss growth on a roof damages the shingles and other materials, which shortens a roof’s life span. This can potentially expose your home to structural damage over time. Shingle roof installation costs are high, so it’s worth it to take care of a moss problem as soon as you can. Moss removal is something you can do yourself, but it does entail a safety risk, so hiring professional cleaners may be a better option. Once you’ve removed the moss, we highly recommend taking steps to prevent it from growing back in the future. This includes keeping up with all roof maintenance tasks.

 


 

Moss Removal FAQ

What is the best way to remove moss from a roof?

Premixed chemical moss killers, both dry powders and liquid solutions, will kill moss, and then you can manually remove it. Alternatively, you can dilute bleach and use that instead.

Is it OK to scrape moss off a roof?

Yes, you can scrape moss off your roof, but it’s a good idea to apply a moss removal solution first. When you do scrape off the moss, take care not to damage or gouge roofing materials.

What kills moss on a roof naturally?

Some “natural” methods recommend vinegar or baking soda, but it’s unclear how effective these solutions are.

How do I get rid of moss on my roof with Dawn?

You can mix a liquid dish soap such as Dawn with a small amount of bleach and several gallons of water to act as a moss killer. However, it’s the bleach that will kill the moss, not the dish soap.