How to Remove Moss from Roof with Detergent?

Moss on the roof can be unsightly sometimes. Some people do adore it and accept it as part of the aesthetic of their house. But the fact is, moss on the roof is bad for your house. It can cause problems such as roof leaks if left ignored over some time. Luckily, you can use your household detergent such as Chlorox or Dawn for roof moss treatment. So, how to remove moss from roof with detergent? This guide will tell you all about it.

Now, to remove the moss from roof with detergent, here’s what to do:

1. Don’t do it alone

Get a friend to drop by or your family member. This person will be on the ground to keep watch. He or she will also help with the minor ground work like turning the garden hose on. And most importantly, in case of an accident, this person will have to call the ambulance.

2. Get your equipment ready

Before you get onto the roof, you need to be well-prepared. Working on roofs safely requires the right equipment with you. It is highly recommended to hire professional roof contractors in cleaning moss off roofs if you don’t have the right tools that can keep you safe.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Slip-resistant shoes – working at heights needs to be very careful. Slipping is one of the common causes of injury.
    Besides, if you’re using detergent to remove the moss on your roof, it’s gonna be very slippery!
    Be reminded to work from the edge of the roof and slowly back up. Even with the anti-slip shoes, it is best not to step on the detergent.
  • Wear old clothes – detergent contains powerful chemicals that can decolorize your shirt.
    You won’t want to wear anything new or nice up there on the roof. Any sprinkles of the detergent will create a non washable stain on your clothes.
    I have my share of experience when working with dark pants. The bleaching effect of the detergent made few brownish spots on it. It was a regretful experience.
  • Rubber gloves – Detergent can be harsh on the skin especially if you have sensitive skin.
    Wearing rubber gloves will not only protect your skin, it will also add some friction to your grip which helps you to hold things better.
  • Safety harness and rope – this is one of the essential equipment that all roof specialists will wear on their job.
    Not every house owner would have this fall protection equipment. Which is why it’s best to let the roof professionals do the job.
  • Long handled brush – this is the brush that you will need to clean moss from roof at the beginning of the process. It is recommended to use this instead of the handheld scrub brush.
    A standing position is much more comfortable compared to crouching. If you’re comfortable, it will also exhaust you less. So, if you’re less tired, you will be more aware of your surroundings and reduce risk of carelessness that could result in fall.
    Don’t use too much strength when brushing or else you might set yourself up for roof repair next!
  • Pump spray bottle – You will need to spray the detergent with some water later.
    Get one with an ergonomic handle to reduce fatigue. A good one will also have a lock trigger at the handle so you don’t have to keep pressing it to get it spraying.
  • Safety goggles – When you’re working with detergent, you want to avoid them from getting into your eyes. Things can get dangerous as the irritation will cause teary eyes.
    It won’t be convenient to be rubbing your eyes when you’re up on the roof. It’s also dangerous as it can cause imbalance.
  • Plastic sheet – Detergent can contain bleaching properties that can really ruin your walls as well as damage if not kill the plants under the roof area. So, put some plastic sheets to protect what you deem necessary.
  • Garden hose – You will need your garden hose to be long enough to cover the area of the roof that needs to be sprayed. It has to be brought up carefully so it doesn’t tangle and increase risk of tripping on it.

3. Set up your ladder properly

ladder safety

Before you choose a spot to set up your ladder, you need to pick the right ladder! The ladder needs to be stationary and secured to be safe for use. Here’s something to pay attention to:

Duty rating

Each ladder should have a duty rating. It defines the maximum safety load capacity that the ladder can handle. The combined weight of you plus the tools and equipment that you will carry along as you climb up the ladder should not exceed the duty rating of the ladder.

Length of ladder

The length of the ladder should be extended to 3 feet above the roof level. It serves as a holding point when you want to get off the roof. This is also a portable ladder safety rule set by Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Set up location

The area where you put your ladder needs to be flat. It should be placed on the ground with correct footing. Dig out the ground if you have to to keep the ladder level. Climb a few steps up and try to exert your weight onto the ladder to check its stability. Also, make sure there are no other debris or things laying around the area of the ladder. Keep it clear.

Ladder standoff

You might need a ladder standoff to avoid the ladder from crushing your gutters. Depending on where your climbing point is, you might not need this at all.

Bungee cord

Use a bungee cord to secure the top part of the ladder to a secure attachment on the roof such as the eaves of the roof. This is important to keep the ladder in place.

4. Cleaning moss off roof with detergent

Tide is one of the most famous brands of laundry detergent that you can use.

To use Tide on roof for moss removal, here’s what you should do:


  • Put the plastic sheet to protect areas that could be splashed with the detergent.
  • Wear your gloves, non-slip shoes and goggles.
  • Climb up the roof with the Tide detergent. Be very careful to avoid falling.
  • Sprinkle the detergent powder over the moss while wearing plastic gloves. Try and cover the entire moss area until you can barely see the moss. Be sure to work from the lower end of the roof and slowly back up.
  • Spray some water with a spray bottle onto the detergent to make it moist. Try not to use the garden hose as the water can be hard to control and might wash the detergent away before it can do anything to the moss. Avoid stepping on the detergent at all costs.
  • Leave it for 20 minutes for the detergent to work on the moss.
  • Flush the detergent away with the garden hose after 20 minutes has elapsed. The normal pressure from the water hose should be enough to wash the moss away.
    Do not use a high pressure washer for this as it will damage the roof. It will also get the water under the roof shingles.
    Make sure there’s no residue left on the roof as well because the detergent can damage the roof shingles too depending on what material it is made of. Rinse thoroughly so it doesn’t corrode your downspouts as well.
  • Use the brush if needed to remove the remaining moss patches.
  • Clean the gutter after to make sure there’s no moss debris in there.

Do not use detergent for roof moss removal if your shingles are the asphalt type. The detergent may remove the asphalt or tar layer of the shingles. This will shorten the life span of your roof.

roof shingles with moss

Alternative solutions to remove roof moss:

Wet and Forget

Wet and Forget is a special formula that is designed to kill moss. It can be used for shingles moss removal, patio moss removal, pavements, rocks and pretty much everywhere. The best part is that it can be sprayed onto the surface and you’re done. The solution will protect the surface from any moss growth for about a year!

Here’s how to remove moss from roof with Wet and Forget:

  • Mix 1 part of the solution with 5 parts of water and put it into your spray bottle.
  • Wear protective gloves, goggles and non-slippery shoes.
  • Get up the roof carefully with the solution.
  • Spray the entire roof with Wet and Forget starting from the lower edge and working your way back up.
  • Let it be. The solution will work its way onto the moss. Depending on the type of moss and how big they are, it can take from days and up to 3 months for the solution to kill it. As time passes, the rain and wind will blow the moss away. You may also scrub it off with a soft brush after some time.
  • Reapply after a year.

5. Clean up and get down the roof safely

After you’re done, check on your foot wear. Make sure it is clean and not slippery. Move the things on the roof one at a time. Don’t rush it.

Climb down the ladder slowly. Keep your hips near the ladder, comfortable enough as you make your way down. Don’t have more than one person on the ladder at a time.

Roof Moss Prevention

Install zinc strip to your roof

You can nail zinc strips on roof to prevent moss. Be sure to use sealant on the nails to prevent water from making its way into the roof through it. The zinc works when the rain falls on it. The water will wash some zinc traces from the strip to the entire roof. This will slowdown or even inhibit the growth of moss.

Remove tree branches near the roof

Moss thrive in wet and shady areas of the roof. By removing branches that overshadows your roof, that area will get more sunlight. Hence, reduce the chance of moss growth on the roof.

It’s no surprise that people are tempted to use it to remove moss from roof with detergent as it is affordable and cheaper than hiring a roof specialist. But, it is very dangerous. According to study, residential roofing is 9 times more risk than an average occupation. And almost all the roof fatality cases happened because there was no adherence to safety standards.

Hope that this article helped you guys to understand the precautions and procedures on how to remove moss from roof with detergent. Let us know in the comments on other methods of roof moss removal that you would like to know about! We’ll be sure to share on it!

Disclaimer: We at Roof Repair Malaysia DO NOT recommend anyone to climb up the roof for any reason at all. Roof demossing should be done by professionals. Without the proper safety equipment, knowledge and experience, there is a high risk of danger. Losing balance could lead to injury or even fatality. This post is for informational purposes only.

Looking for a roof moss removal service near you? Contact us today!

Roof Repair Malaysia

Roof Repair Malaysia provides roof repair services in various locations throughout Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Don’t hesitate to contact us for enquiries!