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A Comprehensive Guide to Soft Wash Roof Cleaning

soft wash roof cleaning


A Comprehensive Guide to Soft Wash Roof Cleaning

Roof maintenance is a critical aspect of home ownership that is often overlooked. One of the most effective ways to ensure that your roof remains in excellent condition is through a technique called “soft wash roof cleaning.” This method, unlike pressure washing, uses low-pressure and cleaning solutions to thoroughly clean the roof without causing any damage.

What is Soft Washing?

Soft washing is a cleaning method that uses low-pressure water, combined with specialized cleaning solutions, typically comprising bleach, water, and a surfactant. This system is designed to eliminate organic materials such as mold, algae, moss, and lichen from exterior surfaces, including roofs. The primary reason for its popularity is its ability to provide efficient cleaning without the potential harm that high-pressure wash systems can cause.

Soft Wash versus Pressure Wash

Pressure washing uses high-pressure water to blast away dirt, grime, and other materials. While pressure washing may be suitable for some surfaces, such as driveways and sidewalks, it can be too harsh for delicate roof materials. This is where soft washing shines. Soft washing involves less pressure, which minimizes the risk of damage to your roofing.

What is the difference between Soft Washing and Power Washing/Pressure Washing?

Soft washing and power washing/pressure washing are both methods used for cleaning surfaces, but they differ in terms of technique and the type of surfaces they are best suited for. Soft washing involves using low-pressure water combined with specialized cleaning solutions to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and algae from delicate surfaces such as roofs, siding, and windows. It is a gentle approach that focuses on the chemical action of the cleaning solution rather than relying solely on water pressure. On the other hand, power washing/pressure washing utilizes high-pressure water to remove stubborn stains, grime, and debris from hard surfaces like concrete, brick, and stone. It relies on the force of the water to dislodge and wash away dirt and contaminants. Power washing is more suitable for surfaces that can withstand high pressure without being damaged. While both methods are effective in their respective applications, it is crucial to choose the right technique based on the surface to be cleaned. Soft washing is ideal for delicate surfaces that may be prone to damage, whereas power washing/pressure washing is better suited for tougher, more durable surfaces. Consulting a professional cleaning service can help determine the most appropriate method for your specific cleaning needs.

Components of a Soft Wash System

A typical soft wash system consists of a low-pressure pump, water tank, cleaning solution tank, and washing equipment like hoses and sprays nozzles. Soft wash roof cleaners apply the cleaning solution under low pressure, ensuring the roof materials aren’t stripped or damaged.

Soft Wash Roof Cleaning Chemicals

The most common soft wash roof cleaning chemicals include sodium hypochlorite, which acts as the primary cleaning agent, and a surfactant, which helps the solution to ‘stick’ to the roof, ensuring maximum cleaning efficiency. These chemicals are typically eco-friendly, but it is always a good idea to confirm with your roof cleaning company.

The Process of Soft Washing a Roof

Professional roof cleaning companies begin the process by evaluating the roof’s condition. They then apply the cleaning solution using their soft wash system. The solution is left to dwell for a certain period, allowing it to penetrate and kill the organic materials. Finally, the roof is rinsed with low-pressure water to reveal a clean, revitalized roof surface.

Roof Cleaning Cost

The roof cleaning cost can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the roof, its condition, the level of infestation, and the specific rates of the cleaning company. It is advisable to obtain quotes from several professional soft wash companies to ensure competitive pricing.

Benefits of Soft Wash Roof Cleaning

Professional roof cleaning using the soft wash method offers numerous advantages. Soft washing solutions are designed to clean your roof thoroughly without causing damage, extending the life of your roof materials. Regular soft-wash roof cleaning may also prevent the buildup of damaging organic materials, reducing potential repair costs in the future.

Ensuring Roof Safety

Another crucial aspect of soft washing is the safety it brings to your roof. Professional soft wash companies have the expertise and equipment to clean your roof safely. This is especially important for homeowners with older roofs or roofs made of more delicate materials like slate or cedar.

Choose Professional Soft Wash Services

When you decide to soft wash your roof, it’s highly recommended to engage a professional roof cleaning company. They possess the necessary expertise, tools, and experience to perform the task safely and effectively. They can also ensure that the right soft wash roof cleaning chemicals are used, further safeguarding your home. In conclusion, soft-wash roof cleaning is a safe, efficient, and cost-effective way to maintain your roof. With its low-pressure and cleaning solution approach, it provides an excellent alternative to potentially damaging high-pressure wash systems. Remember, preserving the lifespan and appearance of your roof is a critical part of maintaining the overall integrity of your home. Choose soft-wash roof cleaning for a professional, safe, and thorough cleaning experience.


Soft wash roof cleaning is not merely an option, but rather, a necessary investment in your home’s longevity and aesthetic appeal. This unique method that combines low-pressure and cleaning solutions offers an effective way to keep your roof clean while protecting its structural integrity. Unlike pressure washing, it offers a gentle, yet powerful approach to roof maintenance. Engaging a professional roof cleaning company further assures you of a job done right, safeguarding your home while providing a striking first impression. Whether it’s about extending the life of your roof, enhancing your property’s curb appeal, or preventing expensive future repairs, the benefits of soft-wash roof cleaning are undeniable. Make the wise choice of incorporating soft washing into your regular home maintenance routine, and reap the benefits of a clean, attractive, and long-lasting roof.

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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