These days, there’s a DIY recipe for literally every cleaning product imaginable on the web. The only problem being that with no real testing or verification, you’ve really no idea which ones work…or are even safe to use. Which is why it’s important to exercise real care and attention when it comes to creating DIY cleaning products for the more intensive jobs at home.
If you’re planning to get busy with your own homemade moss killer for example, do so with care!
What is Moss?
It’s always good to know exactly what you’re dealing with before setting about annihilating it. In this case, moss is a species of plant that thrives in areas of prolonged moisture and cool temperatures. Given the right conditions, it can be impressively prolific – not that this bodes well for your home. It relies on constant moisture as it has no root system with which to draw water from below the surface. There are also quite a few different species of moss – many of which can be quite beautiful.
What Causes Moss to Develop?
Moss requires an area with plenty of shade, relatively cool temperatures and plenty of humidity/moisture to grow. It also develops and spreads fastest on hard surfaces, with a pH in the region of 5.0 to 5.5. If there are any areas of your roof that are largely in the shade throughout the day, there’s a good chance they’re prime territory for moss growth.
Is it Really So Bad?
In a word, yes. As pretty as moss can be, it’s universally agreed among professionalism that it can cause real harm to your roof. The primary threat it poses is a subject of some debate, but there are three ways in which unaddressed moss can damage your roof, which are:
- Moss can eventually find its way under the shingles on your roof, continuing to grow and summarily lifting them from their proper position. This in turn compromises the protection they provide from the elements.
- A buildup of moss can also lead to more dirt and debris collecting and gathering on the roof. Over time, this can result in water buildup which increases the likelihood that the roof will leak or rot.
- Moss can actually lead to the very decomposition of the roof shingles themselves, causing them to break down.
DIY Moss Killer
Back to the original question – does homemade moss killer really work? Well, the simple answer is that it certainly can, but only if you know how to approach it. There are two ways of creating an environment that moss cannot survive in – reduce the pH below 4 or increase it beyond 7. By making its environment more acidic or alkaline, you work against what it naturally needs to survive and thrive.
Reducing the pH
If you decide to go for this approach, you’ll find a fair few products around the home that have a pH of around 4 or lower. Absolutely any of these products will undoubtedly prove effective in killing moss, but you also need to think about the other effects they may have on your roof.
A few examples include:
- White Distilled Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Orange Juice
- Lemon Juice
- Tomato Juice
Now, for obvious reasons you’re probably not going to want to douse your entire roof in gallon after gallon of tomato juice. For a tiny area on the other hand, go right ahead. These and similar acidic products can be used either on their own or diluted in water. If the acid is particularly strong (vinegar for example), dilution can help prevent unwanted corrosion of the shingles.
Increasing the pH
An equally effective approach is to increase the pH to around 7 or higher – making its environment a base will make it impossible for the moss to survive. Your homemade moss killer options are just as abundant in this instance, though extra care may be needed if handling harmful chemicals.
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
Note: NEVER mix ammonia with bleach
Once again, anything you choose to use that is particularly harsh (bleach, ammonia, salt) is best diluted with water before being applied. Spray liberally, give it about 30-minutes or so and see how much you can get rid of using a standard sweeping brush.
Contrary to popular belief, grabbing the pressure and blasting roof moss into kingdom come is not a recommended approach to the job. Used on a gentle setting to give things a rinse, no problem. But if you turn the pressure up too high, you risk causing permanent damage to the shingles and the roof below, effectively doing more harm than good.
In addition, be sure to wear adequate eye, face and hand-protection if planning to handle bleach – along with items of clothing you don’t mind ruining. Even when diluted, bleach solutions and spray bottles never fail to make short work of your favorite garments!
Of course, to ensure that your moss is removed safely and thoroughly, we highly recommend giving us a call and getting a free quote.