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Home » Articles » How to Soft Wash a Roof
Roof in need of soft washing

How to Soft Wash a Roof

When deciding to clean your roof, you may want to learn how to soft wash a roof. Soft washing your roof protects it against contaminants and damage. This can extend the life of your roof substantially, saving you money. Here’s what you need to know.

Soft Wash Roof Cleaning Benefits

Soft washing is a reliable way to keep a roof clean. It will also reduce the number of repairs necessary for the exterior of your home. Cleaning your roof will make your home look newer and keep pests away, as well.

What You’ll Need To Soft Wash Your Roof

To soft wash your roof you’ll need the following items:

  • Safety gear (protective work clothes, gloves, safety glasses, helmet, knee pads, harness for roof safety)
  • Ladder (make sure it is sturdy and you’re able to easily get on and off of the roof from it)
  • Long handled stiff bristle brush and broom and squeegee
  • Pressure washer with a low pressure setting and fan nozzle. For the DIY home owner we recommend the Sun Joe Electric Pressure Washer.
  • Biodegradable disinfecting cleaning solution such as chlorine or commercial-grade bleach (greater effectiveness). (Bleach and chlorine are the best cleaning solutions for cleaning asphalt roofs (roof shingles), tiles, gutters, and for washing exterior walls. Bleach is what we use for our softwash systems.)
  • Tarps and painter’s tape to prevent causing damage to plants, root systems, and non cleaning surfaces.
  • Garden hose to use with the pressure washer

Soft Wash Roof Cleaning Steps

Before you follow these soft wash roof cleaning steps it is important to identify the type of roofs you’ll be soft washing. Most roofs can be cleaned using this cleaning method.

Roof cleaning may sometimes require other softwash systems be used, like a detergent assisted washing in place of sodium hypochlorite (a chemical compound with the formula NaOCl or NaClO).

When in doubt it is a good practice to test the shingles, roofs tiles, or whatever the surface or surfaces you’ll be cleaning so to ensure the cleaning agent doesn’t discolor or harm the tiles or the roofing shingles.

Important Note: Some roofing material are coated with a UV protectant barrier to protect against harsh UV rays. For this reason, be careful not to use too many chemicals while pressure roof washing.

At Lakeland Pressure Washing this is our preferred method to soft wash a roof. You don’t need an expensive cleaning chemical, bleach works fine.

  1. Wear appropriate safety gear
  2. Use a ladder to access the roof (step onto the roof safely)
  3. Secure yourself with a safety harness and be careful to step on the roof eaves
  4. Use a stiff bristle brush and broom to remove debris from the roof
  5. Use a hose with a high pressure nozzle to spray the roof in a sweeping motion, starting at the top and working your way down (The goal is to remove dirt and debris from the surface of the roof.)
  6. Spray the roof with a high-pressure water spray to remove more excess dirt and debris using the same sweeping motion
  7. Wash the roof with a 1:1 bleach water ratio if using standard household bleach or 1:3 bleach water ratio if using a 12.5% commercial-grade bleach. (Note: A low-pressure bleach soft wash system will get rid of algae growth, mildew, other debris, black streaks, grime, other organic stains and other contaminants to prevent damage to your roof.)
  8. Wait 20-minutes to let the bleach heat up
  9. Use a long handled squeegee to remove standing water from the roof
  10. Rinse off the cleaning solutions with a pressure washer or using your garden hose
  11. Wait for the roof to dry before walking on it to inspect the roof cleaning

Important Note: Commercial-grade bleach is twice as powerful as standard household bleach. It is also called sodium hypochlorite. Use too much of it and the excess heat will burn through your roofing materials and the exterior surfaces of your home.

Power Washing vs Soft Washing

Unlike power washing that uses hot water and high pressure, soft washing uses a soft water rinse to eliminate any dead organic material. The diluted bleach is used will kill moss, algae, and mold. It will also remove stains and prevent them from spreading or rotting your roof shingles.

Power washed roof treatments may do more harm than good. This is why we recommend roof washing a shingle or tile roof using this soft washing method.

When pressure washing use a low setting and a fan tip on the pressure washing arm. You can control the pressure by how much force you exert on the trigger of the gun.

One soft wash treatment should be enough to get rid of all stains on the surface area of your shingles.

Bottom Line

Soft washing a roof takes some basic know-how, explained here in this article. But, if you’d rather have a professional handle and be responsible for the upkeep on your home, you may want to hand it over to a professional pressure washing company, like Lakeland Pressure Washing.

For the DIYer follow these steps and you will greatly extend the life of your new roof or even your existing singles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I soft wash my roof without getting on top of the roof?

If you have a tarp or other roofing material, you can even use a pressure washer set to 100psi and widen the tip to reach the shingles on your roof from your ladder. Be careful of the pressure though it could kick you back or make you lose your equilibrium. Another option is to rent a hi-lift.

How effective is soft washing?

Soft washing is a great way to get rid of algae and other organisms that are damaging your roof. Since this method uses low pressure, it won’t damage the seals around your windows. The best part is, it will not void your warranty. While it will take some time, a soft wash will make your roof look like new again. While it won’t remove the tar, it will leave your roof looking great.

Why should I soft wash my roof?

Soft washing will remove moss, algae, and other unwanted invaders from your roof. This treatment is not harsh and won’t strip your roof of its shingles or tiles. Besides eliminating these unwanted guests, this method will also protect the limestone filler that supports your shingles. When used properly, soft washing can also kill fungi and algae, which can be real problems over time. You can save a great deal of money and time by learning how to soft wash a roof.

Why should hiring a professional pressure washing company?

If you don’t have the time to soft wash your roof yourself, you can always hire a professional power washing company to do the job for you. These companies can offer a variety of services, including soft washing your roof. They will apply pressure washers to the roof and apply the soft wash detergent. Once the cleaning process is complete, the company will rinse the roof. This will prevent your roof from becoming damaged by the chemicals.

What are the benefits of using softwash systems?

Another great benefit of soft washing is that it protects your roof from damage. It will also keep the roof clean and prevent mold from forming. This is an inexpensive and efficient way to clean the exterior of your home. If you have a leaking roof, a soft wash will help it stay waterproof and improve curb appeal. It will also help you save energy costs by preventing leaks and preventing water damage.

How will soft washing my roof impact my roofs warranty?

It is important to softwash a roof because a dirty roof will draw more heat from the sun and could void your warranty. A soft wash will also ensure that your roof doesn’t deteriorate or rot due to excessive exposure to the sun. This means that you can save money on your electricity bills by using soft washing. So, how do you soft wash a roof? Just follow these tips! You’ll be glad you did.

Is it advisable to clean my gutters when having my shingles or tiles washed?

When choosing a roof cleaning company, you should also ask for their gutter cleaning services. If the roof has debris, it may be difficult for a pressure washer to reach the nooks and crannies of the roof. You don’t want to end up with a poorly insulated roof. Instead, you should hire a professional that offers gutter cleaning service as well as roof softwashing. These companies will clean your roof in a matter of minutes and give you a warranty.

How effective is soft washing a roof?

In addition to protecting your family from harmful bacteria, soft washing a roof will make it look like new again. You will also be able to see the shingles’ vibrant colors again. The results of soft washing a roof will make your house look great and save you money. A clean roof will last a lifetime. It will be safe to use soap on your roof because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. It also increases your home’s energy efficiency.

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