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How to Clean an Asphalt Shingle Roof

how to clean asphalt roofing with a hose

Asphalt shingle roofs are the most popular and commonly seen roof type in the United States. These roofs are attractive, more affordable than many other types of roofs, and require little maintenance. But in order to keep your roof in the best shape possible, it’s a good idea to keep it clean and regularly maintained. Wondering how to clean an asphalt shingle roof? You’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll share three methods you can use to keep your shingle roof clean and in good shape. 

If it’s time to accept a roof replacement is in your near future, check out our asphalt roof cost calculator to receive a fast, free, and accurate estimate for you new roof.

Asphalt Shingle Roof Maintenance Requirements

Replacing a roof is a major expense! So it makes sense that you’d want your roof to last as long as possible. Regular cleaning and maintenance is a good way to ensure that your roof lasts as long as the maximum lifespan for your roof type. Wondering how long an asphalt shingle roof lasts? Check out our blog How long does a roof last? for a comprehensive glance through the different types! 

Over time, things like moss and algae can build up on your roof, which can cause unsightly black streaks and green growth. Not only do these things reduce the curb appeal of your home, they can be damaging to your roof. Moss growth can cause shingles to curl and separate, which can lead to moisture seeping into the underlayment or even into your home. And moss is the culprit behind those prominent black streaks that show up on asphalt roofs over time. 

Cleaning your asphalt shingle roof on a regular basis can prevent and remedy these potential issues. 

A note about safety: Never climb on your roof for any reason if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. If your roof has a steep pitch or if you don’t feel safe walking on your roof, it’s always best to call a professional for any job related to your roof, including cleaning and maintenance. 

How to Clean an Asphalt Shingle Roof

Before you drag out the power washer and aim it at your roof, it’s best to learn the ins and outs of how to clean an asphalt shingle roof properly. After all, damaging your roof is not the goal here! 

Bleach and water

If you’re wondering how to clean an asphalt shingle roof with a serious moss or algae problem, you may need to use a strong cleaner like bleach. Here’s how: 

  • Brush excessive moss growth from your roof using a broom
  • Mix a solution of equal parts bleach and water
  • Use a sprayer attached to a garden hose to spray the solution on your roof
  • Use a gentle brush to clean your shingles

Vinegar and water

Bleach is a powerful cleaner that can kill algae and mold spores. But it isn’t ideal for surrounding plants and shrubbery. If you’d like to use a gentler solution, mixing equal parts water and white vinegar can also be an effective way to clean minor build-up on your roof. This solution can be applied using the same method described above. 

Mild dish soap and water

If your asphalt shingle roof doesn’t have moss or algae growth, you can probably get away with using a simple solution of water and dish soap. Here, we’ve outlined our method for how to clean an asphalt shingle roof using dish soap: 

  • Mix ½ cup of mild dish soap into two gallons of water
  • Use a sprayer attached to a garden hose to spray the solution on your roof
  • Use a gentle brush to clean your shingles 
  • Spray roof with water to ensure any soap residue is removed

Things to Avoid When Cleaning an Asphalt Shingle Roof

From ignoring safety precautions to using the wrong materials, there are plenty of things you shouldn’t do when it comes to cleaning your asphalt shingle roof. We’ve listed a few things to avoid when cleaning an asphalt shingle roof below: 

  • Avoid using a wire/hard-bristle brush. This can remove the protective granules that make up the outermost layer of your asphalt shingles, which can reduce the lifespan of your roof. 
  • Avoid using a power washer. The extremely strong spray from a power washer can do serious damage to your asphalt shingles. 
  • Avoid cleaning your roof on a sunny day. This can cause the solution to dry before you’ve had a chance to rinse it off, introducing the potential for discoloration or residue left behind. 
  • Avoid exposing surrounding landscaping to strong cleaning solutions. Things like vinegar and bleach can damage plants and shrubbery, so take the time to gently cover your plants with plastic sheeting before cleaning your roof. 
  • Avoid putting yourself in a hazardous situation. If your roof has a steep pitch or if you’re at all unsure of your ability to walk around safely on your roof, skip cleaning it and let a professional handle the job instead. 

Find a Local Roofer In Your Area!

Wondering if your roof just needs a good cleaning or if perhaps it’s ready to be replaced? It might be time to consult with a roofing professional. Using Instant Roofer’s website is a great place to start. We can help you find a roofer you can consult with from start to finish. 

Fact Checked by Christin Perry 4/26/2024