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How to Clean Asphalt Roof Shingles

Hart Roofing & Construction

How to Clean Asphalt Roof Shingles

Cleaning roof shingle stains requires careful attention to the type of stain and the cleaning method you use to avoid damaging the shingles. It can help prolong their lifespan and maintain the overall appearance of your roof. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean asphalt roof shingles safely and effectively

Before you start cleaning, take some safety precautions:

  • Use a sturdy ladder and have someone else with you for assistance.
  • Wear non-slip shoes to prevent accidents on the roof.
  • Use safety harnesses if possible.
  • Avoid working on the roof during wet or windy conditions.

You’ll need the following supplies for cleaning your asphalt roof shingles:

  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle
  • Long-handled soft-bristle brush or a roof cleaning brush
  • Roof cleaner solution or a mixture of water and mild detergent (check manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • A bucket
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing

Determine the type of stain on your roof shingles. Common stains include algae, moss, lichen, dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, or pollution stains. Identifying the stain will help you choose the most effective cleaning method.

Remove any debris like leaves, twigs, and loose dirt from the roof. Use a roof rake or a broom to sweep the surface gently. Be careful not to damage the shingles during this process.

Using a garden hose with a gentle spray nozzle, wet the entire roof surface. This helps to loosen dirt, algae, and other debris stuck to the shingles.


Ventilation helps to expel stale air and pollutants from the attic, improving the overall indoor air quality of the home and creating a healthier living environment.

Prepare the cleaning solution according to the instructions on the product label or mix water with a mild detergent (do not use harsh chemicals). Transfer the solution into a bucket. Using a soft-bristle brush, apply the cleaning solution to the shingles. Work in small sections to ensure the solution doesn’t dry before you have a chance to scrub.

With the cleaning solution applied, use the soft-bristle brush or a dedicated roof cleaning brush to gently scrub the shingles. Be careful not to apply excessive pressure as you might damage the shingle granules or the roof’s protective coating. Work in a back-and-forth motion or in a circular pattern to remove stubborn stains or algae buildup.

Once you’ve scrubbed a section, rinse it immediately with the garden hose. Start from the top and work your way down. Make sure all the cleaning solution and debris are washed off the roof.

If you notice some tough stains or areas that haven’t come clean, you can repeat the cleaning process in those areas. However, avoid excessive scrubbing as it can cause damage.

To reduce the likelihood of algae growth in the future, you can install zinc or copper strips along the roof ridge. When it rains, these metals release small amounts of metal ions, which inhibit algae growth.

Remember, cleaning your roof periodically can help extend its life, but it should be done carefully to avoid damage. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself or have a large-scale cleaning job, consider hiring a professional roofing contractor.

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What should be cleaned from a roof?

When cleaning a roof, you should focus on removing the following types of debris and contaminants:

  • Dirt and Dust: Over time, dirt and dust can accumulate on the roof’s surface, making it look dingy and reducing its overall appearance.

  • Leaves and Twigs: Falling leaves and twigs can collect on the roof, creating a layer of organic debris. This can trap moisture and encourage the growth of algae and moss.

  • Algae and Moss: Algae and moss can grow on roofs, especially in damp and shaded areas. They can retain moisture and cause damage to the shingles if left unattended.

  • Mold and Mildew: In humid climates, mold and mildew may develop on roofs. These organisms not only degrade the roof’s appearance but can also lead to structural issues over time.

  • Stains and Discoloration: Stains and discoloration on asphalt shingles can be caused by a variety of factors, such as tree sap, bird droppings, or pollution.

  • Debris from Overhanging Trees: If you have trees near your roof, debris like branches, pine needles, and seed pods can accumulate, potentially causing drainage issues and promoting moisture retention.

  • Lichen: Lichen is a combination of algae and fungus that can attach to roofs, particularly in areas with high humidity. It can be challenging to remove and may require professional attention.

  • Gutter Cleaning: While not directly on the roof surface, cleaning gutters is essential for maintaining proper roof drainage. Clogged gutters can lead to water backup, which can damage the roof and the building’s foundation.

Regularly cleaning your roof and keeping it free from these types of debris and contaminants can help prolong its life and prevent potential problems in the future. Remember to use proper cleaning methods and avoid using harsh chemicals or aggressive cleaning techniques that could damage the roof shingles. If you’re unsure about how to clean your specific type of roof or face stubborn stains, it’s best to consult a professional roofing contractor or cleaning service.

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What Causes Black Streaks On Roof Shingles?

Black streaks on roof shingles are primarily caused by algae stains, particularly from blue-green algae. Algae spores can be carried by the wind or transferred from nearby trees onto the roof’s surface. Once they find a suitable environment, such as a shaded and moist area, they begin to multiply, leading to the formation of unsightly black streaks. Additionally, overhanging tree branches can deposit organic debris, like leaves and twigs, providing a nutrient-rich environment for moss growth and further promoting algae development. If left unattended, algae and moss can trap moisture, creating an environment where roof leaks may occur. Regular roof cleanings are essential to prevent the growth of algae and to maintain the integrity and appearance of asphalt shingles.

Hart Roofing & Construction

What Is The Best Way To Clean Asphalt Roof Shingles

The best way to clean an asphalt shingle roof is by following a careful and systematic roof-cleaning process while incorporating proper safety precautions. Start by removing loose debris using a leaf blower or by hand. Next, wet the asphalt shingle roof thoroughly using a garden sprayer. For tough stains or algae, apply a gentle bleach solution, mixed according to manufacturer guidelines. Allow the solution to sit for a short time without letting it dry. Then, using a soft-bristle brush or roof cleaning brush, scrub the shingles gently to remove stains and algae. Avoid using a pressure washer, as it can damage the shingles. After scrubbing, rinse the roof thoroughly with a garden hose. Always wear protective gear, such as safety goggles and gloves, during the roof cleaning process, and exercise proper safety precautions when working on the roof. Regular maintenance, with the recommended cleaning method, will help extend the lifespan of asphalt shingle roofs.

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What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Roof?

If you don’t clean your roof regularly, debris, algae, and moss can accumulate, leading to premature wear and tear on the roof materials.

This can cause leaks, water damage, and structural issues, reducing the roof’s lifespan and potentially voiding its warranty. The unsightly appearance of a neglected roof can also diminish your home’s curb appeal, while trapped heat can increase energy costs. Additionally, clogged gutters from debris can lead to improper water runoff and attract pests, creating safety hazards.

Regular roof cleaning and maintenance are essential to avoid these problems and ensure the roof’s longevity and overall integrity.

Hart Roofing & Construction

Texas’ Leading Roofing Contractor

Hart Roofing & Construction takes pride in being a leading roofing contractor in Texas for many years. Our expertise extends to various roofing services, including cleaning asphalt shingles to tackle persistent issues like roof algae. With our experienced team and state-of-the-art equipment, we efficiently remove roof algae and ensure your asphalt shingles are clean and well-maintained. When you choose Hart Roofing & Construction, you can trust that your roof will not only look immaculate but also have enhanced longevity, protecting your home for years to come. For all your roofing needs, including clean asphalt shingles, we are your reliable partner in Texas.


At Hart Roofing & Construction, we understand that a well-maintained roof is crucial for the protection and longevity of your home. Our roof maintenance service is tailored to meet your specific needs and ensure your roof remains in optimal condition. Whether it’s cleaning asphalt shingles to remove roof algae or conducting thorough inspections to identify potential issues, our experienced team is committed to delivering top-notch solutions. With our years of expertise as a leading roofing contractor in Texas, you can trust us to keep your roof in excellent shape.

Choose Hart Roofing & Construction for reliable, professional, and dependable roof maintenance services, and let us safeguard your home for years to come. Your satisfaction and the health of your roof are our top priorities. Contact us today to experience the difference in roofing excellence.