Is your roof looking dirty and dilapidated? Have dark streaks formed in some areas?

Those unsightly streaks are probably colonies of algae or moss. They usually grow in spots where there’s shade and plenty of moisture. They get nourishment from the organic material in your tiles or shingles, which means they’re basically eating your roof.

While algae and moss don’t actually leave permanent damage, they can seriously affect your home’s curb appeal. They also pose a safety risk because you have to keep going up there to clear new growth. Having to get rid of moss and algae frequently also affects the integrity of the roof itself because you may be loosening shingles every time you step on it.

When you clean your roof, you have to make sure that you’re getting rid of the root systems. This way, you won’t have to keep doing it again and again.

Here are some tips on how to properly clean your roof:

Use non-bleach products to kill moss and algae

Roof cleaning products with harsh chemicals may get the job done, but they’re incredibly toxic. The run-off will kill the plants in your yard while the fumes are harmful to people and animals. The chemicals in these products also end up in waterways, killing aquatic life.

Instead of using toxic chemicals, go with roof products that don’t contain phosphates or chlorine bleach. There are plenty of eco-friendly products that will strip your roof of algae, moss, and lichen without killing vegetation and polluting waterways. These high quality products may be more expensive than cheap chlorine bleach solutions, but they’re definitely better for you, your family, and the environment.

Avoid high pressure washers

High pressure power washers may temporarily remove stains and dirt form your roof, but they will also damage your shingles. Worse, they’re not really effective at clearing your roof as they still leave the root systems behind.

Instead of using a high pressure washer, preserve the integrity of your roof by using a garden hose and a sprayer to douse your roof with water and a non-chlorine roof cleaning product. Let the solution sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing the roof with water.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Moss and algae like to grow in the warm, shady areas under piles of debris and overhanging branches. They are moisture-loving and quickly grow in wet or damp spots.

Make sure that your roof is always clear of leaves and twigs. Trim back tree branches that are hanging over your roof. Keep the gutters clean so that there are no pools of water sitting on your roof.

Once you notice any sort of growth on your roof, act immediately. Don’t wait until your entire roof is covered because by then it will be an extremely difficult (or costly) cleanup job.

Clean your roof on a cloudy day

If you clean your roof when it’s bright and sunny, the cleaning solution will evaporate before it gets the job done. Clean your roof when it’s a bit overcast, but there’s no threat of rain. This way, the product you use has time to work its magic.

Before you clean your roof, it’s a good idea to consult a roofing services company or the manufacturer of your roofing material. These professionals will be able to advise you on the best ways to clean your roof without inadvertently damaging it.