How Do I Clean My Shingle Roof?

Short Answer

To clean roof shingles, apply a mixture of equal parts chlorine bleach and water using a sprayer, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with a garden hose. Avoid using a pressure washer as it can damage the shingles.

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As a homeowner in Chicagoland, maintaining your roof is crucial to both its longevity and appearance. At Lindholm Roofing, we understand the importance of keeping your roof in top condition. That’s why we’ve compiled this easy-to-follow guide on how to clean your roof shingles safely and effectively.

Why Clean Your Roof Shingles?

Before diving into the how-to, it’s important to understand why cleaning your roof shingles is necessary. Over time, shingles can accumulate dirt, algae, moss, and other debris. This not only affects the aesthetic appeal of your home but can also lead to damage and reduce the lifespan of your roof.

How Do Algae and Moss Hurt Your Home?

Algae and moss on your roof are more than just unsightly; they can lead to several problems:

  • Moisture Damage: Both algae and moss retain moisture against the roof surface. Over time, this can cause rot in wood structures and deterioration of shingles.
  • Granule Loss: Moss can cause the protective granules on shingles to become dislodged, reducing their effectiveness and lifespan.
  • Increased Weight: Moss, especially when wet, adds significant weight to your roof, potentially leading to structural stress and damage.
  • Blocked Gutters and Downspouts: Algae and moss can contribute to blockages in gutters and downspouts, impeding proper drainage and possibly causing water to back up under shingles.
  • Aesthetic Decline: The presence of algae and moss can degrade the overall appearance of your home and potentially impact its value.

Safety First

Safety is paramount when undertaking any roofing project. Always use a sturdy ladder, wear non-slip shoes, and consider using a safety harness. If you’re not comfortable working at heights or if your roof is steeply pitched, it’s best to call professionals like us at Lindholm Roofing.

Materials Needed

  • A garden hose with a spray nozzle
  • A non-corrosive and eco-friendly roof cleaner
  • A soft-bristled roof brush
  • Protective gear: gloves, goggles, and non-slip shoes

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Roof Shingles

  1. Choose a Cloudy Day: Start your cleaning project on a cloudy day to prevent the cleaning solution from evaporating too quickly.
  2. Protect Your Landscaping: Cover plants and grass near your home to protect them from any runoff.
  3. Prepare the Cleaning Solution: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix your eco-friendly roof cleaner.
  4. Apply the Cleaner: Use a garden sprayer to apply the cleaning solution evenly across the shingles. Do not use a pressure washer as it can damage the shingles.
  5. Let It Sit: Allow the solution to sit on the shingles for the recommended time, usually around 15-20 minutes.
  6. Gentle Scrubbing: For stubborn areas, gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Avoid harsh scrubbing, which can dislodge granules from the shingles.
  7. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the roof with a garden hose, ensuring all cleaner and debris are washed away.
  8. Inspect and Repeat if Necessary: Once the roof is dry, inspect it. If some areas need more attention, repeat the cleaning process.

The Best Cleaning Mixture Options for Your Shingle Roof

When it comes to cleaning your roof, the right mixture is crucial for effectiveness while minimizing damage to your shingles:

  • Chlorine Bleach Solution: A mixture of equal parts chlorine bleach and water is commonly recommended. It’s effective against algae and moss and helps in maintaining the color of your shingles.
  • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: There are several eco-friendly products available that are less harsh than bleach. These are a good option for those concerned about environmental impact and landscaping.
  • Commercial Roof Cleaners: These products are specifically designed for roof cleaning and often include ingredients to inhibit future algae and moss growth.
  • Detergent Mixtures: Some homeowners use mild detergent mixed with water for a gentler approach, although its effectiveness against tough growths like moss may be limited.

Additional Maintenance Tips:

  • Regular Gutter Cleaning: Clean gutters to prevent water pooling and potential roof damage​​.
  • Trimming Vegetation: Keep tree branches and vines trimmed to avoid debris accumulation and moisture retention on the roof​​.
  • Addressing Roof Damage: Promptly repair any broken shingles, leaks, or gutter issues to prevent further damage​​.
  • Removing Ice Dams and Icicles: In winter, safely remove ice dams and icicles to prevent structural damage​​.
  • Sealing Roof Flashings: Ensure that flashings around vents, chimneys, and skylights are properly sealed to prevent leaks​​.
  • Preventing Moss and Algae Growth: Regularly apply products containing copper and zinc to deter moss and algae growth on shingles​​.

Professional Cleaning Services

While DIY roof cleaning is an option, hiring professionals like Lindholm Roofing ensures a thorough and safe job, especially for complex or steep roofs. Our team is equipped with the right tools and expertise to handle any roof cleaning project.


Cleaning your roof shingles not only enhances the curb appeal of your home but also extends the life of your roof. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire professionals, regular roof maintenance is key to a healthy home. For any roofing needs in Chicagoland, feel free to contact Lindholm Roofing. We’re here to help you maintain a beautiful and durable roof over your head.