How to Make the Roof Cleaner used in the Video

| March 5, 2013 | 115 Comments

Cleaning A roof

A little background on how I started Roof Sparkle. A company that’s  make cleaning products asked me if I could make a video for some of there cleaning products. Now I wont go into details on who they are but they had a roof cleaner that involved the use a power washer. Big red flag in my eyes. Being a contractor for years I knew right off the bat that was a big no no.

So the next question I asked my self what’s that black stuff on the roof. Well it’s mold. And what kills mold, bleach right. Well as true as that is bleach is only made up of 5-6% Sodium Hypocrite. And that’s great for your whites and around the house but not on your roof.


For the roof you will need something a lot more powerful. Some of you may know it as pool shock. This is made up of 12% by weight “Sodium Hypoclorite”. But because it’s as thin as water it will run right off the roof and not really have the time (five minutes) to do it’s job. So we have to thicken up a bit. Best way, add some liquid dish soap to the mix to help the SH stick to the roof for more then one second. You can go into any pool supply and ask for a gallon of shock, for about $4.00 per gallon. This is just a heavy duty version of household bleach. And no Walmart does not sell this or the big box stores.

Now of course we buy it buy the manufacture and by the truck loads at a time.

Applying It

When we started we used a regular bug sprayer. Use a three gallon pump sprayer, use one gallon of SH and two gallons of water (h2o) add about 4 oz. of liquid dish soap and spray from the roof top working your way down.

DON’T

  • clean your roof when it super hot out in the baking sun. It will kill the SH and dry before it’s clean.
  • Don’t touch the SH with bare hands. Wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Don’t spray your roof down first with water to cool it off.

 Please do not call Roof Sparkle and ask any questions. Please ask any questions directly to me on this site please. Otherwise I’ll be forced to remove this page.. Thank you.

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How to Make the Roof Cleaner used in the Video 4.47/5 (89.41%) 17 votes

Dominick

Residential and commercial contractor for over 30 years. Created askmediy.com 6 years ago. Making home improvement videos. Over 20k subscribers with more than 11 million views on Youtube.com Started contracting in 1987 Built over 300 homes. Licensed electrician in NY, cabinet maker, with fine wood working skills, Very versed in all phases of home improvements. From foundations to a sink faucet.

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Category: Roofing

Comments

  1. Sam says

    How do you keep the bleach from hurting the plants, grass or leave obvious streaks on surfaces below?

    Is it best to clean the roof then in the AM or PM, after the sun goes down sometimes the roof remains hot for well into the night.

    Thank you so much

    • admin says

      When we go out to clean a roof there is always two guys on a job. One is the guy on the roof spraying / cleaning the roof and the other ones job is to spray everything and anything that could get over sprayed with the roof cleaner.

      So, you would wet down all plants and then rinse them again once you’re done cleaning the roof. We clean roofs all day long. But once in a while it just gets way to hot. At that point you really can’t walk on the roof anyway without damaging it because it’s way to soft. Hope this helps… Dominick

  2. leroy says

    I have a very steep and dangerous multi roofed home in the Puget sound area. Walking on most of my roof is impossible because there no anchors. Your moss killer sounds like what I need as I am starting to get a carpet on the north and west sides. I have a pressure washer that has a small tank on it that could deliver the stuff onto the roof. I just wanted your opinion on putting it on that way. will that work with the really wide attachment. Thank you for your help. Leroy

    • admin says

      Over time that would or could work. But you could be adding to much water to the mix at that point. However the SH would end up eating your power washer. The best wat is to stand on the gutters edge for a pump up system. Something like what Roof Sparkle uses. Unfortunately that info I can not give out just yet. And needless to say it’s not cheap. And the over spray you would get from a power washer would be way to intense.

  3. Chris says

    I am having trouble locating the 12% sodium hypochlorite. Is there a site online I can order it from? Keep find calcium hypochlorite anywhere from 48 to 90%. Thanks.

  4. Ron says

    This might be a silly question, but if you are diluting the 1 gallon of pool shock that is 12% SH with 2 gallons of water, doesn’t that reduce the % of SH to 3%? Which is less than bleach that is 5-6% SH?

    • says

      One would think so. However this is a very common mistake. You are thinking outside the box. It’s very important that you mix it the way I stated. This is by weight. not by volume like baking a cake.

  5. George says

    My question is when you rinse off the roof, Does the gutter runoff from the shock hurt the lawn (I’m guessing it doesn’t as long as it isn’t 95 degrees out)?

    Appreciate you explaining this process to fix a problem many of us have! Thanks, George

    • says

      NO, the SH will kill plants, grass and anything in it’s way. Rinsing good is very important. We wet down all the plants, clean the roof and rinse the plant and grass again.

    • says

      You can. For the most part we don’t. However if your roof comes clean in under five minutes then it’s to strong. So then yes you would rinse it. Five minutes is a good number to go by and then you don’t need to rinse it.

  6. Tilmon Duguay says

    hi can you email me the name of the liquid pool shock brand name please and a bottle of that is already mix with water. do i have to add more water ….and i want to know for 10 gallons of water i will have to put 5 gallons of liquid shock for pool and thats gonna work to clean the black mold and the algae on a roof

  7. Tilmon Duguay says

    hi dominick if we buy the sodium hypoclorite liquid do we have to mix that with water ….what i exactly need for 10 gallons of water if i use liquid sodium hypochlorite

  8. says

    Hello, I was just wondering if this solution would work on any other type of roof, like clay tiles or cedar shakes and stone slate roofs. Thanks

  9. Marie says

    Hello, Just wanted to let you know the roof cleaning solution worked great.
    Two roof cleaning companies wanted to charge between $700-$800. Your method cost us a total $6.24 Thanks

  10. Kevin says

    Thank you for the video! My fear is that the roof will stain. I am more concerned about the shingles than the grass.

  11. Glenn says

    Will this work on siding as well? I have some green algae growing on my siding near the ac unit. Can i use the same spray, wait, and rinse method?

  12. Derek says

    For roofs that have a heavy buildup of roof moss, can you add some copper sulfate to the mix (aprox. 1/8 cup)to kill the roots of the moss so you would not have to scrub the roof but simply rinse with a hose.
    Thank You
    Derek

  13. Randy says

    Hi,
    I have a camp in a very remote area of Maine. It is covered with moss. I am curious, should I simply use your suggested solution (Pool Shock with Water and dish soap-surfactant) and then brush? I don’t have a hose and spigot handy, so I cannot rinse off the solution after spraying it on with a pump sprayer. Any other suggestions would be great. Oh yea, and I’m going to use the copper flashing for future moss elimination.

  14. Valerie Flowe says

    We tried this technique over the weekend. I was amazed at how quickly the moss died. I left it on for a day. I used a brush to loosen some of it up. After I rinsed the moss off, there is still a fine light green ‘moss fuzz’ on the roof. Not sure if I should try and scrub it off? I don’t want to strip the rocks off the shingles and cause the roof to leak. Suggestions?

  15. Harold Moorefield says

    Could you tell me how I could go about starting a business doing this? Like how much to charge and what type of setup you are using in the video?

    • says

      Yes I could. However not for free and would be done via email / phone and pictures of how to setup a trailer or van. $500. and make it back in just one roof job.

  16. Bob E. says

    Hey thanks for the information. How about Vinyl siding? Will it harm or discolor it? I was told that 10 oz. of Alcohol, Murphy’s Oil Soap and a gal of bleach does the job but I don’t know the ratios.

  17. Nichole says

    Just want to say…you are awesome! We are about to purchase a 1920 home and I have been watching all your videos for DIY….the best out there! Thanks a bunch for doing this! Cleaning my roof will be one of the first things I do!! (then finishing the rewiring of old knob and tube the previous owner started…yikes!)

  18. George says

    I know it was asked but if im using sh do I need to rinse the roof? I don’t want any plants or landscaping to die when it rains and all the dired sh runs off the roof. Dried bleach is still salt and salt kills plants and grass I think. Thank you for your input on this. George

  19. Norm Farrell says

    Hi I couldn’t find the liquid form of Shock so I got the crystals form in small bags. It is called Dazzle and it is for shocking pools. Is this useable and what are the ratios for this stuff?

  20. Shamu says

    Hi Dominick,

    We are going to try a bleach and water solution on our roof to get rid of the moss. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated! Should we rinse the roof off with water after the bleach has been sprayed on? How long should we let the bleach solution sit there? Thanks!

  21. Laurie says

    I have the same question as Dean how much of a square foot area will the 3 gallon mixture cover, assuming I’m using the hand spray and not a hose. Thanks, so glad to have found this solution.

    • says

      It’s all going to depend on the sprayer, how much is that sprayer pushing out. And how bad is your roof. for the most part you’ll get about 900 sq ft for three gallons.

      • Laurie says

        We tried the solution on our roof which is pretty old 20+ and did not see a big difference. Could be the roof is permanently discolored. I was also wondering if the solution it self might be the problem..it says 10.5% instead of the 12% you recommend. Would the 10.5% be the problem? That’s what our local pool supply had. BTW your website is amazing can’t thank you enough.

        • says

          Yes very much so. You really need it stronger. I can’t tell how many times I’ve seen that before. It really does make that much of a difference. Without seeing your roof it’s a little hard for me to say. And thank you very much. I do work my butt off on this site. Like right now at 5:55am lol…

  22. Johnny says

    I have a 1 Gallon bug Sprayer. I don’t have a 3 Gallon one. If i mix 1 gallon of liquid pool shock with two gallons of water inside a 5 gallon bucket. Can i pour 1 gallon at a time into my bug sprayer.. Will i mess up the ratio? Thanx for the help

  23. Bessie says

    Will this work in the cold weather? My husband and I are going to settlement on a summer home in northern PA in December and we can’t get homeowners with all the moss on the roof. We have to agree to get rid of it ASAP after settlement. We plan on a new roof in spring anyway.

    • Bessie says

      How old is the question or how old is the roof? The roof is at least 18 years old. The question is current. We will not be able to work on the roof until settlment that is in early December this year 2013.

  24. Tom says

    When is it advisable to rinse vs no rinse, or is it safe to never rise. Doesn’t the dry material left on roof have a chance to leach heavy amounts of product in a rainstorm to down spouts after the initial appl, and plant lawn heavy rinsing has been done. Also could you repeat a few appls during the day for stains etc with no ill effect. Thanks for your input and bty GREAT SITE

    • says

      Thank you. It really depends on how dirty your roof is. The SH will die once the heat gets to it. So no worry there. With the first app if the roof is clean, leave it. Gives better protect if you leave it on.

  25. Mel says

    At what temperature does the mixture start degrading? I live in New Hampshire and have about 1/3 of my roof in moss, thanks to some Maples. I’d like to clear the moss as soon as possible to save money on my insurance, but am concerned about the temperature.

  26. Adam says

    I am want to start a buisness in roof washing concrete and vinyl sideing. I saw your reply about 500$ for your help. I am very interested in what info u would give me?

  27. Jeff Jennings says

    So glad I found this. I’m purchasing a home and thought the roof was in need of replacement. The roof has that ugly black stain but only on the North side as you said. The other side looks brand new. I’ll be using these techniques right after moving in!
    Thanks!

  28. John says

    I’ve received three quotes, and the price each is $1200-1300 which is out of my budge. My roof is a 10:12 pitch, and somewhat steep. I am trying to figure out a way to spray it myself, without too much mist and overspray, while standing on a ladder. I noticed Northern Tool has “tree sprayers” that shoot 2.2GPM or 5.5GPM out at 60psi.

    Do you have a solution where I can do this myself from the ground without walking the roof/

    • says

      That seems way too high of a price. And no, without spending big bucks on air pumps and special equipment. Send me a picture of your house and I’ll tell you what it should cost.

          • says

            You have a very steep roof no doubt about it. But it’s also a single story. What you would do is get a long extension ladder and lay it right on the roof and spray it with a bug sprayer.

          • John says

            Thanks for the pic you sent of the ladder, I am going to try that.

            I bought a bug sprayer and a gallon of Shock Chlorinating Liquid for Pools (10% Sodium Hypochlorite).

            I mixed about half a gallon of undiluted Shock and a half cup of Liquid Tide Free and Clear into the bug sprayer and sprayed a small patch.

            Within a few minutes the solution turned very warm to somewhat hot. I am not sure what thermal reaction is going on, but the bottle is sitting outside now.

  29. Dave Livingston says

    Hi, I’m in the UK and need to spray the moss on my roof (covered with rough Marley concrete roof riles).

    I can only find SH in 14% (available chlorine) strength sold in 2.5 UK litre containers, so I’ve bought two.

    Could you give me some help on how much SH, water and liquid dish soap to use since this is a stronger solution to mix up, for say one US gallons worth of cleaner solution at a time?

    I don’t have a big capacity sprayer or containers, so will mix up smaller quantities about 2 or 4 UK litres as and when required. I’ll be able to convert to UK litres (using 1 US gallon = 3.78541 UK litres) but am unsure of the amounts since this is a higher strength.

    Your website, videos and advice are really helpful.

    Thanks in advance

    Dave

    • says

      14% very nice. Use it just the way I show. Maybe you could add a little water if you wanted to. But for the most part what I showed is for mold “black stains” So for the moss you would want something stronger anyway.

      • Dave Livingston says

        Hi Dominick, thanks for the quick reply.

        I should have said before that I was referring to your video of “How to remove moss from a roof” on YouTube instead of the one on this page.

        That shingle roof you cleaned in the video had a similar amount of moss as my concrete tile roof, like a carpet. In December I used a wire brush and scraped of the bulk of it so now want to spray to kill the rest off.

        Would you say a third SH to two thirds water would work for my 14% SH and a squirt of dish soap? Or 50/50 mix? As you say, best to have a stronger solution so it works.

        Also love your hose spray for the SH in that video, I’ve not been able to find anything similar in the UK to that.

        Cheers

        Dave

        • says

          I would go with with a 50/50 mix. Just make sure you rinse very well. SH will kill everything in it’s path ie. plants and stuff like that. Yeah the setup my son uses is very cool. It uses air pumps with 300 feet of hose. Holds 200 gallons of SH and mixed per job right on site. And that whole system was made a designed by me. Took sometime to get it right.

  30. steve says

    My question is regarding using the “pool shock” treatment on a low pitch, tar, pea gravel roof. I can’t just brush the moss off so do I leave it on until it’s dead and rake it out? Will that damage anything? Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks

  31. Rudy Oakes says

    Question about clearing 2 years of moss and “stuff” from the roof…love the video… was in the mode to clean the roof 2 years ago, long story short, had cancer removal and was off my feet for about 2 years… and well… the roof needs help. I am not physically fit enough to scrub the roof, however, I an probably spray the roof … Here in Oregon, letting the rain was away the residual won’t be an issue, the question I have, this kills the moss and “over time” if left unattended.. mother nature should just “was the surface clean” right? or do I have to get someone to get up there with a broom? thanks

    • says

      Hi, yes over time it will flake off. However moss can be a real bitch. A little help with a broom would be a big help. Glad to hear you’re better now.

  32. Rudy Oakes says

    What is the major difference between using Sodium Hypochlorite vs. Calcium Hypochlorite… other than one is sodium and the other calcium, will they have the same effect?… and you did specify using liquid , not mix your own from dry right?

  33. Pat says

    I bought 12.5% SH today after watching your video. I have a 2 gallon sprayer what would be a good mixture to use ? Also I don’t have a lot of moss on the roof. Thank you for the awesome video!

  34. Sam B says

    Will the SH solution be harmful to animals? If I leave the liquid on the roof and spray the moss off after it drys will it be safe for my dog in the yard?

    Thanks.

    • says

      I really can’t answer that. Your dog eat some rat poison the same time you’re cleaning your roof and it’s my fault. Sorry. Just spray and rinse well. SH is a high power bleach. And bleach would kill if you swallow it, right.

  35. Raymond mcgee says

    Sodium Hypochlorite 14-15% w/w 10 Litre (2x5L) Can I use this stuff I seen on e bay and do I have to dilute it with water an in what amount Thanks R m scotland

      • Raymond mcgee says

        Link Hidden
        Try this ,gives you some options .do I have to dilute the stuff I mentioned as its for moss on roof tiles R m . thanks.

        • says

          I really can’t say about that product but it does seem to be the right stuff at 14% so yes you would have to dilute a little bit more than shown in this page.

          • Raymond Mcgee says

            Hello Dominick. Did you get the link to e bay. if not you will find it on e bay under sodium Hypochlorite . I used to work in a carpet factory and we used to get industrial bleach for removing thick dye
            from printing screens when washing. This stuff would set fire to cloth in its undiluted state Powerfull How much water do you recommend per ltr for the 14% I bought Thanks for your help Raymond

  36. Tom Milam says

    Concerning the roof moss cleaner: when you add 2-gallons of water to the 1-gallon of 12% sodium hypoclorite isn’t it weaker than using 3-gallons of the 5 to 6% household bleach straight?
    Tom Milam

  37. Rich Mberg says

    Hey, Dominick Great Video and info.
    Just went through all your posts and reply’s.
    Amazing that some people cannot follow simple directions?
    You must have sore eyes and chest muscles since you have to roll them and sigh with frustration so many times.
    Thanks for the good work.
    Rich

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