House with a half cleaned roof and the other half is infested with Moss.

How to Clean Asphalt Shingles: The Do’s & Don’ts 

12 minutes

Please note that climbing and walking on your roof without any experience or without the proper safety equipment can cause a severe injury. We do not recommend anybody to climb or walk on their roof unless they have experience with cleaning a roof and have the proper safety equipment to do so.  

Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing choice due to their durability, affordability, and easy maintenance. However, despite their resilience, asphalt shingles can become dirty over time and impact the aesthetic appeal of a home. To combat this issue, it is important to regularly clean your asphalt shingles. There are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind when doing so, as improper cleaning methods could potentially damage your roof. 

Asphalt shingles have come a long way in the last few decades and are now equipped with technologies that make them less prone to moss and algae growth as well as those unflattering black streaks. While advancements in technology have made asphalt shingles more resistant to algae and moss growth, it is still important to keep them clean. Over time, dirt, debris, and environmental factors can still take a toll on the appearance and longevity of your roof. Regular cleaning not only ensures that your home looks its best, but it can also help extend the lifespan of your roof. It is always best to take preventative measures when it comes to maintaining the condition of your home, and cleaning your asphalt shingles is no exception.

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to cleaning your asphalt shingles, it may be best to consult with a professional roofing company or contractor. They can provide you with advice on the best approach for your specific roofing material and ensure that the cleaning process is done safely and effectively. Alternatively, if you’re comfortable with tackling the job yourself, be sure to do your research and avoid using harsh chemicals or equipment that could damage your roof. With proper maintenance and care, your asphalt shingles can continue to look great and protect your home for years to come. 

Removing Moss & Algae 

To effectively remove moss and algae from your asphalt shingles, it is important to use a cleaning solution specifically designed for this purpose. Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals, as they can damage your shingles and reduce their lifespan. Instead, look for a solution that is gentle yet effective, such as a mix of water and white vinegar. Apply the solution to the affected areas and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before gently scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. The best time of the year to do this is in the summer where the moss is mostly brown. It will be easier to scrape the moss off the roof than it would be in the fall or spring.  

Getting rid of the Black Streaks 

Black streaks on roofs are often caused by the growth of algae, especially in warm and humid areas. To remove them, a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar can be applied to the affected areas using a soft brush or sprayer. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with water. Another natural alternative is to use a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water in a 1:5 ratio. It is important to wear appropriate footwear and use safety equipment when working on the roof. Avoid using bleach as it can be harmful to plants and the environment. 

What not to do When Cleaning Your Asphalt Shingles 

There are several things to keep in mind when cleaning your roof. Here are the most important things to avoid when cleaning your asphalt shingles.  

Do not use a Pressure Washer 

First, do not use a pressure washer as the high-pressure water stream can damage the shingles and remove the protective granules on the surface.  

Do not use any Abrasive Cleaning Brushes 

Second, avoid using abrasive cleaning tools such as stiff bristle brushes or metal scrapers as they can scratch the shingle surface and create openings for water penetration and remove granules from the shingles. 

Don’t Ignore any Shrubs or Plants 

The chemicals used can cause extensive damage to your plants and vegetation around your home and will cause signficant damage to the soil if not properly protected.  

Do not Climb On Your Roof Without the Proper Safety Equipment 

Never climb on your roof when it is wet or icy. It is also important to have sturdy shoes that will give you good traction. Consider hiring a professional if your roof has a high pitch. Always wear a safety harness and ensure that you have clothing that is durable and will protect you from the elements. 

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute 

As soon as you notice issues with moss or algae on your roof, it should be taken care of as soon as possible. Waiting too long can cause damage to your shingles and make the cleaning process more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning your gutters and trimming nearby trees or shrubs, can help prevent growth of moss and algae. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can safely and effectively clean your asphalt shingles and keep your roof in great shape for years to come.

Steps for Cleaning Asphalt Shingles 

If you decide to tackle cleaning your asphalt shingles on your own, there are a few key steps to follow: 

Acquire the Proper Tools, Supplies, & Safety Equipment 

To effectively clean your asphalt shingles, it is important to first acquire the proper tools, supplies, and safety equipment. This includes a sturdy ladder, a garden hose with a spray nozzle, a soft-bristled brush, a cleaning solution specifically designed for asphalt shingles, and protective gear such as safety harness, rubber gloves and safety goggles. It is also important to ensure that the weather conditions are appropriate for cleaning your roof, as cleaning should not be done during extreme temperatures or when the roof is wet or icy. Taking these necessary steps can help ensure a safe and successful cleaning process.

Protect the Plants and Vegetation around the Foundation of Your Home 

Protecting the plants and vegetation around the foundation of your home is an important consideration when cleaning your asphalt shingles. This can be done by covering them with plastic sheeting or other protective material while you work. Alternatively, you can wet them down with water before and after cleaning to help prevent any damage from cleaning solution runoff. Taking these steps can help ensure that your plants and vegetation stay healthy and undamaged during the cleaning process, while still effectively cleaning your roof. 

Remove Debris from Roof 

After acquiring the proper tools and safety equipment, it’s time to begin the cleaning process. Start by removing any debris that has accumulated on the roof, such as leaves, twigs, or branches. Use a leaf blower or gently sweep the debris off with a broom to avoid damaging the shingles. Next, wet down the roof with a garden hose and apply the cleaning solution. 

Make Your Chemical Treatment 

As mentioned before, bleach may not be the best choice for cleaning your roof as it could potentially hurt the plants, vegetation and environment around your home due to runoff. Mixing chemicals for cleaning a roof can be dangerous and should be approached with caution. It is important to carefully follow instructions and safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer of the cleaning solution. Generally, it is not recommended to mix different cleaning products together as this can result in the release of harmful gases or cause a dangerous chemical reaction. If you are unsure about how to safely use a cleaning product or how to handle a chemical spill, it is best to consult a professional or contact the manufacturer for guidance. 

White vinegar can be effective for cleaning an asphalt roof. The mild vinegar acidity dissolves dirt, grime, and algae on the roof’s surface. To clean an asphalt roof with vinegar, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket. Then, apply the solution to the affected areas using a soft brush or sprayer, and allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse the roof with water to remove the solution and the loosened dirt and grime. It is important to wear appropriate safety gear and to take precautions to avoid slipping or falling when working on a roof. 

It is recommended to limit the use of chemicals when protecting your roof and the vegetation around your home. Continuing to protect your plants and roof, it is important to limit the use of chemicals during the cleaning process. While chemical treatments can be effective in removing dirt and grime from asphalt shingles, they can also be harmful to the environment and vegetation. Whenever possible, it is best to use non-toxic cleaning solutions or natural methods such as vinegar and water. Additionally, minimizing the use of harsh chemicals can help prolong the lifespan of your shingles, as the chemicals can cause premature aging and deterioration.

Double Down on Problem Areas 

When applying the roof cleaning solution to your roof, and the moss and algae on your roof are particularly stubborn, it may be necessary to apply a second treatment. Continuing to clean your roof after the first treatment will help to ensure that all of the dirt, grime, and algae has been effectively removed. It is important to allow each treatment to fully dry before applying a second treatment to avoid any potential damage to the shingles or further growth of moss and algae. By taking the time to properly clean your asphalt shingle roof, you can ensure that it remains in good condition and lasts for many years to come.  

Soak Your Plants & Shrubs With Water After Finishing 

Soak your Plants and Shrubs With Water After finishing the cleaning process, make sure to wet any nearby plants and shrubs with water from a garden hose. This will help to dilute any cleaning solution or runoff that may be harmful to your landscaping. By taking this extra step, you can mitigate any potential damage to your property and ensure that your asphalt shingle cleaning project is safely completed. Remember to always prioritize safety and take a cautious approach when working on a roof. 

Is an Asphalt Roof Cleaning Service Right for Your Home?  

If your roof is fairly new and is still in good condition, it may just need a simple cleaning. However, if your roof is over 20 years old or if you are having more issues than just algae, you may want to consider a total roof replacement. 

If your roof is fairly new, meaning it is less than 20 years old, and has no significant damage other than algae growth, then a simple cleaning may be enough to restore its appearance and extend its lifespan. 

On the other hand, if your roof is over 20 years old or if it has other issues such as missing or broken shingles, leaks, or structural damage, a total roof replacement may be necessary. Roofs that have reached the end of their expected lifespan are more prone to damage and are less effective in protecting your home from the elements. 

A total roof replacement involves removing the old roof and installing a new one. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but it is essential for ensuring the safety and longevity of your home. It is important to hire a reputable roofing contractor to handle the replacement and ensure that the job is done correctly.

Overall, the decision to clean or replace your roof should be based on a thorough inspection of its age and condition, as well as the extent of any damage or issues. A professional roofing contractor can provide guidance and recommendations based on your specific situation.

DaBella is the Premier Roofing Contractor Ready to Tackle Your Next Roof Replacement Project 

If you’re considering a roof replacement, you want to make sure you’re working with the best contractor for the job. That’s where DaBella comes in – our team has the experience and expertise to handle any roofing project, big or small. We use only the highest quality materials and employ skilled craftsmen to ensure that your new roof is installed to the highest standards. Plus, with our industry-leading warranties, you can have peace of mind that your investment is protected for years to come. 

As a GAF Master Elite Roofing company Continuing the discussion on roofing contractors, it is important to choose a company that is experienced and skilled in all aspects of roofing. As a GAF Master Elite Roofing company, DaBella has met the highest standards for quality and expertise in the industry. Our team of professionals is trained in the latest techniques and technologies to ensure that your roof is installed or replaced to the highest standards. In addition, we offer competitive pricing and flexible financing options to make sure that your roofing project fits within your budget. 

Contact DaBella today at 844-DaBella and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about what your options are for your roof as well as receive a free estimate for your roof replacement project. Experience how DaBella can build lasting value in your home and make a transformation that will make your home look and feel like new again! 


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Steven Shortridge

District Manager

Portland, OR

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