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The Last word on Moss Removal


How do I remove that icky moss from the patio?

We cannot help but notice that our moss removal article is one of the most popular ones on our website. This must mean that people all over the world are having problems with moss. We have heard from many people in the UK who are desperate for moss removal advice. FYI: Tide is American laundry powder. Perhaps you could purchase it on the internet, or maybe there is a similar laundry powder manufactured locally that will do the same job for you.

Re cleaning mossy driveways: We have had numerous responses to the concrete cleaning proposal that uses Tide and bleach diluted in water. We here at Clever cannot guarantee that it will work because the recipe was sent in by a reader (See the Reader Response below). However, we do have experience with moss removal and high pressure washers. You can rent or buy one from your local hardware store and it will work on your driveway. Cautions: it’s a long and tedious job. The longer your driveway is, the more work you are in for AND the more water you will use. You can only pressure-wash a very small area at a time. This will become apparent as soon as you begin the process. But once you have finished, your concrete will be nice and clean. The other good thing is that you don’t have to use any chemicals with this process.

Moss in the grass: This is caused by a lack of sunlight falling onto your grass. It might be a temporary condition due to a lack of sunlight in the wintertime only. When the summer sun hits the grass, the moss may die on its own. But if the grass is shaded even in the summertime, you’ll have to dig out the moss. Perhaps you’ll have to rethink whether you need grass in that particular area. Maybe stones, rockery of some sort or pavers would be a better alternative.

Moss on rocks and pavers: Another tricky issue. Some gardeners like the look of moss growing on rocks. It can be attractive in certain gardens. But if it is growing on pavers or stepping stones, you might inadvertently create a hazardous condition. Moss is slippery, as you know. Cleaning stepping stones is difficult. I would not recommend using soap powder and bleach in a garden. Careful use of a high pressure hose is probably a better suggestion than chemicals in the garden. Or just carefully scrape it off with a garden tool.

Re moss removal from roofs: This is very difficult. The solution proposed by our reader of tossing plastic bags of Tide onto the roof is really sort of a joke. It’s a half-baked solution that will not make a dent in a serious roof moss problem. Moss grows in damp shaded areas, so if your roof has moss growing on it, try to figure out if there is any way you can expose your roof to sunlight at least part of the day. First off, remove leaves and debris from the roof AND the gutters. Do this regularly. Next, cut back tree branches that are shading your roof. Then try scraping the moss off the shingles, if possible. If this doesn’t work, we would seriously suggest removing the effected roofing material and replacing it. If left on the roof, eventually it will begin to rot the structural roof framing and then you have an even more serious problem. If you begin removing the roofing material, you may find that you have several layers of shingles or whatever under the top layer. If they are also affected, you might need a new roof. Take a quick walk around the neighborhood and look at the roofs of the more neglected houses. Sagging rooflines are often due to moss-on-the-roof problems that have gotten out of hand. You might need to bite the bullet and get a new roof. Don’t let the contractor convince you to just re-roof over the old one if there is moss growing on it!

Advice from Readers:
Patio cleaning using chemicals:
Buy at least a gallon of the cheapest bleach you can find, maybe more if you're doing a large area. Although I've never measured it, I would guess that I used about 3-4 inches of bleach in a bucket and put in maybe a half-cup of Tide, stirring the mixture until the Tide dissolved. 

Then pour a little of the mixture on the patio and brush it on a small area, and then pour a little more on, etc. I used a long handled brush but you really don't have to scrub it, just make sure the mixture is spread around thoroughly. Be sure to wear old clothes because the bleach might splatter. 

After covering the entire patio with the bleach mixture, take a break and let it soak for a while. Then you can hose it off and you should have a clean patio. I turn on the faucet full blast and use a nozzle setting that gives the hardest stream of water. If your moss is really thick, you can hose off just a small corner to see how it looks. If the concrete doesn't appear clean, you might have to scrub it a bit with additional bleach and then hose it off again. 

Removing Moss from the Roof. This is another Tide recipe. Apparently Tide is the only laundry detergent that will kill moss. Place cupfuls of Tide in plastic sandwich bags with small holes poked into them. Hire the neighbor's kid with a strong arm to throw them onto the roof. Make sure he gets the bags as close to the top of the roof as possible. Leave them up there. As it rains, the Tide will leak out of the bags and spread over the rooftop and will eventually kill the moss.

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