Most people don’t know how, why, or when to clean their roofs. Some may never have considered it until right now. But once you see how much moss, algae, and other junk gets on your roof, you may reconsider! 

That gives you two options: cleaning the roof yourself or asking someone to do it for you. Please note that cleaning your own roof can be very dangerous! Take all necessary safety precautions when you DIY. 

Why You Need to Clean Your Roof 

“Cleaning your roof” is a term that can refer to a lot of different things. It can include cleaning your gutters, getting leaves and other debris off, or removing moss, algae, and other contaminants from the roof. It is not usually pleasant work, but very necessary. Besides also preventing unwelcome guests, like birds and mice, from storing food in your house, a clean roof can also increase your home’s sale value!

cleaning a roof wildlife

Equipment List w/ Prices

Before you get going on this DIY project, here’s what you’ll need along with rough costs associated with them:

  • Pump Sprayer ($30-$50)
  • Bleach ($20-$150 depending on roof size)
  • Surfactant ($5-20)
  • Ladder to Reach Your Roof ($100-$300)
  • 4-8+ Hours of Your Time ($??)

How to Clean Your Roof 

But now to get to the meat of this post: how to clean your roof by yourself. Follow along with each of our steps to get started on your project! 

Step 1: Know Your Roof 

The first step to cleaning your roof is knowing your roof. You probably already know if you have asphalt shingles or sheet metal, so keep that in mind as you read. Knowing what your roof is made of will let you know what you can safely do before you attempt to clean it. Also, if you have a warranty, you may want to read it before you start doing anything. 

Step 2: Find Potential Problem(s) 

Different problems have different solutions. Clogged gutters and other types of damage require different solutions from removing moss and algae. Cleaning your roof may involve a lot of debris removal, like leaves and branches. 

cleaning gutters while cleaning a roof

While cleaning your gutters is incredibly important, this post will go over how to clean your roof, not how to clean your gutters. That one is coming, so stay posted if you’d like to learn how to efficiently get that DIY project done!

Once you’ve gotten up on a ladder to inspect your roof, you may find you had more problems than you thought. Remember that different kinds of roofs might require slightly different treatment, too. The more you know about the problems, the better equipped you are to fix them! 

Step 3: Get Prepared

You will need some basic equipment before cleaning your roof. Sturdy shoes and gloves are a must. If you can walk your roof, have a cordless blower ready to blow off debris.

Roof cleaning can be a long and complicated process, so you should set aside a full day to tackle the job. While professionals can get in and out within a matter of hours, that’s because they have the equipment and know-how to be efficient. After all, it’s what they’re doing all day. As a homeowner, it will take much more time to get the job done as you’ll need to batch mix your solution (which we’ll go over in the next step) many times, whereas professionals will have tanks that can handle the entire roof. 

Cleaning the roof will probably require chemicals, usually including bleach. Before mixing chemicals and getting up on a ladder, make sure the ground around you is ready. Give plants a bath of plain water and/or cover them in plastic. Many roof-cleaning solutions can be toxic to plants, and if you’re not comfortable you can kill them. 

If you have a steep roof or a multi-story house, you should strongly consider hiring a professional pressure washer to clean your roof for you. It’s not worth risking your life or health over a clean roof! 

Step 4: Make Your Batch of Cleaning Solution

Cleaning a roof almost always involves some sort of chemical. It is the most effective way to kill algae, moss, and mould on your roof. Once the chemicals have done their work, the organisms will flake off of your shingles like dried leaves. This can be a process that takes 1-2 months to fully clean your roof, as the solution does its job.

While you can make your own solution mix, you need to be able to assess your roof to understand what condition it is in, and how strong of a mix you’ll need. Here are the 2 most common options: 

Option 1 (for dirtier and heavily-contaminated roofs): 

  •  Household bleach @ 6% sodium hypochlorite
  • Surfactant (we use Elemonator at a ratio of 1 oz per gallon of bleach) 

Option 2 (more for general cleaning/maintenance): 

  • 67% Household bleach @ 6% sodium hypochlorite 
  • 33% Water 
  • Surfactant (we use Elemonator at a ratio of 1 oz per gallon of bleach)

*Surfactant can be substituted for dish soap, however, the efficacy will be reduced and you may need to apply the solution to the roof more times*

Some people prefer to use premixed solutions, just understand that these solutions are more expensive as they are pre-mixed. They are formulated to clean most types of algae, moss, and more, just ensure you’re buying one with good reviews such as “Spray and Forget”. In most cases, they will save you time and stress rather than creating your own batch mix.

The amount of mix you’ll need will depend on how large your roof is, and how many times you need to reapply. With a smaller 1-gallon pump sprayer, you may need to refill it 20-40 times, or more.

Step 5: Wait for Good Weather 

Unfortunately, we are beholden to the weather, not the other way around. No matter how well-prepared you are, you will have to wait for the right day to clean your roof. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t clean your roof on a hot, sunny day; because it can cause your cleaner to evaporate more quickly and not give it the time to work on your roof. Instead, wait for a calm, cool, slightly cloudy day with no chance of rain.

good weather for cleaning a roof

Step 6: Spray Your Roof 

Once all the pieces are in place, it’s time to spray your roof. The most important thing to know when getting to this point is to never use a pressure washer on your roof. It will damage your shingles, and your cost to repair your roof could be ~10x higher than it would have been to get a professional to clean your roof. 

Instead, apply your DIY solution with a pump sprayer from a ladder, if you can’t walk the roof. Be sure to cover every inch of your roof. Be patient; let it soak for 15–20 minutes, then reapply if needed, wait, and rinse (if using the homemade bleach mixture). If you’re using a premade mix, follow the instructions on the container. 

Step 7: Be Careful and Put Safety Above All Else! 

Once you find a good day to clean your roof, it’s time to get to work! Here are some important safety tips as you’re working up there: 

sturdy shoes to clean a roof
  • Wear sturdy shoes with bottoms that will prevent you from slipping.
  • Wear gloves. They protect your hands and help you keep your grip. 
  • Place your ladder somewhere stable. 
  • Mark any questionable (spongy, unstable, etc. areas with tape. Avoid them afterward. 
  • Avoid valleys and skylights. 

If you feel at all unsafe cleaning your roof, please contact a professional to do it instead. 

If You Need to, Don’t be Afraid to Call Us for Help! 

If your roof could use a good cleaning, now is an excellent time to reach out! Our trained professionals can clean any roof in the Lower Mainland. We will tell you everything you need to do based on what services you require. Once all that is done, you can leave the rest to us. Contact us today for all your roof, driveway, and house-cleaning needs! 


Should I attempt to clean my roof? 

It depends on the problem and what you are willing to do to fix it. Some problems only require a hose, leaf blower, or broom and can be done in a day. Others will mean spending hours mixing chemicals and going up to fix tiny details. And if you are afraid of heights, DIY is a no-go! 

Can you pressure wash a roof? 

In most cases, no, you should not pressure wash your roof. This is especially true if you have shingles; they are meant to keep water from above from getting into your house and cannot handle water coming up from below. At North Vancouver Pressure Washing, our experts know what wash setting is best for your roof. 

How do I clean moss from my roof? 

A: First, you must make or buy a cleaning solution. Put your solution in a container attached to a spray hose. Make sure your roof is safe to walk on. 

How often should you clean your roof? 

Generally, you should clean your roof at least once a year. Places without severe weather or high humidity might be able to skip a year or two. But regardless of where you live, once a year is the magic number. 

Even though once a year is recommended, if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate to investigate it! Many roof issues start small and worsen over time. The earlier you catch it, the better.