How to Clean a Metal Roof

Last updated on June 22, 2023

Discover the essential steps to effectively clean your metal roof and maintain its durability for years to come with our comprehensive guide.

Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to their durability, longevity, and energy efficiency. However, like any other roofing material, they require regular maintenance to keep them in top shape.

One of the most important aspects of metal roof maintenance is cleaning. A clean metal roof not only looks great but also helps prevent damage and prolongs its lifespan.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning your metal roof effectively and safely so that you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer for years to come. So sit back, relax, and let’s get started!

Benefits of a Clean Metal Roof

how to clean a metal roof

A clean metal roof offers numerous benefits that go beyond just aesthetics. For starters, it helps prevent damage to the roof caused by debris buildup and other environmental factors such as algae, moss, and lichen growth.

These organisms can cause corrosion or rusting of the metal surface if left unchecked for too long.

Moreover, a clean metal roof is more energy-efficient than a dirty one since dirt and debris can trap heat in your home during hot weather conditions. This means you’ll end up spending more on air conditioning bills to keep your home cool.

Cleaning your metal roof regularly ensures that any potential issues are identified early before they become major problems requiring costly repairs or replacements down the line.

Safety Precautions

Metal roofs can be slippery, especially when wet or covered in debris. Therefore, it’s crucial to wear appropriate footwear with good traction and use a sturdy ladder that is securely anchored to the ground.

Make sure you have someone else present while working on your roof for added safety and assistance if needed. It’s also important not to overreach or lean too far over the edge of your roof as this can lead to accidents.

Avoid using pressure washers as they may damage your metal roofing material and cause injury due to their high-pressure output. Instead, opt for gentle scrubbing techniques using soft-bristled brushes or low-pressure washing methods.

Tools and Materials Needed

This will ensure that the process goes smoothly and efficiently. Here are some of the essential items you’ll need:

1. Safety gear: Before anything else, make sure to wear appropriate safety gear such as gloves, goggles, non-slip shoes or boots.

2. Ladder: A sturdy ladder is crucial for accessing your roof safely.

3. Garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment: You’ll need this for rinsing off debris and cleaning solution from your roof.

4. Soft-bristled brush or broom: Use this tool to remove loose debris like leaves or twigs before applying any cleaning solution on the surface of your metal roofing panels.

  1. Cleaning Solution: Choose an appropriate cleaner based on what type of dirt/stain/mold/mildew is present on top of it.
  2. Bucket & Mixing Stick: For mixing up solutions in required quantity

Inspecting Your Metal Roof

Inspecting your roof will help you identify any potential issues that may require repairs or replacements before they become more significant problems. Start by checking for any signs of damage such as dents, scratches, or rust spots on the surface of the metal panels.

Look out for loose screws and nails that may need tightening or replacing.

Next, check around chimneys and vents to ensure there are no cracks in the flashing which could lead to leaks during heavy rainfalls. If you notice any areas with missing caulking sealant around penetrations like skylights and vent pipes be sure to reapply them before proceeding with cleaning.

Removing Debris

Debris such as leaves, twigs, and branches can trap moisture on your roof and cause damage over time. To remove debris from your metal roof safely without causing any damage to it, you will need a soft-bristled broom or brush.

Start by sweeping off larger pieces of debris with the broom or brush. Be gentle when doing this so that you don’t scratch or dent the surface of your metal roofing panels.

Once you’ve removed all visible debris from the surface of your roof, use a leaf blower to get rid of smaller particles like dust and dirt.

It’s important not to skip this step before applying cleaning solutions because if there is still some dirt left behind after cleaning solution application then it could lead to staining which would be difficult (if not impossible)  to remove later on.

Cleaning Solution Options

There are several options available in the market, each with its own set of pros and cons. One option is a commercial cleaner specifically designed for metal roofs.

These cleaners are usually formulated to remove dirt, grime, and stains without damaging the surface of your roof.

Another option is a homemade solution made from common household ingredients such as vinegar or baking soda mixed with water. While these solutions can be effective at removing mild stains and debris, they may not be strong enough for tougher stains or mold growth.

It’s important to note that some cleaning solutions can damage certain types of metal roofing materials such as copper or zinc-coated steel. Always check with your manufacturer before using any type of cleaner on your specific type of metal roof.

In addition to selecting an appropriate cleaning solution based on material compatibility and effectiveness against specific types of dirt/stains/mold etc., you should also consider environmental factors when making this decision (e.g., runoff into nearby vegetation).

Mixing Cleaning Solutions

There are several options available for cleaning metal roofs, including commercial cleaners and DIY solutions. It’s important to choose a cleaner that is safe for both your roof material and the environment.

If you opt for a commercial cleaner, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when mixing it with water. Most cleaners require dilution before use.

For those who prefer DIY solutions, there are many effective recipes using common household items such as vinegar or baking soda. One popular recipe involves mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

Regardless of which type of solution you choose, always test it on a small area first before applying it to the entire roof surface. This will help ensure that there are no adverse reactions or damage caused by the cleaning solution.

Applying Cleaning Solution

You can use a garden sprayer or a soft-bristled brush for this step. If using a garden sprayer, make sure the nozzle is set to fan mode and adjust the pressure accordingly.

Start at one end of the roof and work your way across in sections.

Apply enough cleaning solution so that it covers all areas of the metal surface but avoid oversaturating any particular area as this may cause damage or streaking. Be careful not to let any cleaning solution drip onto surrounding plants or landscaping as some solutions can be harmful.

If using a soft-bristled brush, dip it into the cleaning solution and gently scrub small sections of your metal roof at a time before rinsing with water immediately after each section is cleaned.

Scrubbing Techniques

Scrubbing is an essential step in removing dirt, grime, and other debris that may be stuck on your roof. However, it’s important to use the right technique when scrubbing so that you don’t damage your metal roofing material.

Firstly, choose a soft-bristled brush or sponge for scrubbing. Avoid using abrasive materials such as steel wool or wire brushes as they can scratch and damage the surface of your metal roof.

Secondly, work in small sections at a time and apply gentle pressure while scrubbing back-and-forth motions along with the direction of panels on each section until all areas are covered.

Lastly rinse off any remaining soap residue from each section before moving onto another area of ​​the roof.

Rinsing the Roof

Rinsing is a crucial step in ensuring that no residue or dirt remains on your roof. You can use a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle attachment to rinse off the cleaning solution thoroughly.

Start at one end of your metal roof and work your way down towards the other end, making sure that you cover every inch of its surface area. Be careful not to spray water under any loose seams or edges as this could cause leaks inside your home.

If there are stubborn stains or areas where debris has accumulated, you may need to repeat some sections of scrubbing before rinsing again until everything is clean. Once finished rinsing, inspect for any remaining dirt spots and re-clean if necessary.

Removing Stains

Common culprits include rust, algae, and tree sap. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to remove stains from your metal roof.

For rust stains, you can use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar or lemon juice. Apply the solution to the affected area with a soft-bristled brush or sponge and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with water.

Algae stains can be removed using a mixture of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 4 parts water). Apply the solution generously over the stained area using a pump sprayer or garden hose attachment.

Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.

Tree sap is best removed by applying rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain until it dissolves completely. Be sure not to scrub too hard as this could scratch your metal roofing surface.

Addressing Mold and Mildew

These fungi not only look unsightly but can also cause damage to your roof if left untreated. To address mold and mildew growth, you will need to use a cleaning solution that is specifically designed for this purpose.

One effective solution is a mixture of bleach and water. Mix one part bleach with four parts water in a bucket, then apply the solution to the affected area using a soft-bristled brush or sprayer.

Allow the solution to sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly with clean water.

It’s important to note that while bleach is an effective cleaner, it can also be harmful if not used properly. Be sure to wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles when handling bleach solutions, avoid breathing in fumes by working outdoors or ensuring proper ventilation indoors.

Maintaining Metal Roof Cleanliness

Regular maintenance will help prevent the buildup of debris and dirt that can lead to damage over time. One way to keep your metal roof clean is by trimming any nearby trees or branches that could fall onto the roof and cause damage or create a shaded area where mold and mildew can grow.

Another way to maintain cleanliness is by regularly inspecting your gutters for debris buildup. Clogged gutters can cause water backup, which may lead to leaks in the roofing system.

It’s also essential not only to remove any visible stains but also address their underlying causes such as algae growth or rust formation promptly. Neglecting these issues may result in more significant problems down the line.

Regular Maintenance Schedule

It requires regular maintenance to keep it in top shape and prevent damage. A good rule of thumb is to clean your metal roof at least once a year, preferably during the spring or fall when there’s less chance of extreme weather conditions.

However, if you live in an area with heavy rainfall or surrounded by trees that shed leaves frequently, you may need to clean your roof more often. Regular inspections are also crucial as they help identify any potential issues before they turn into major problems.

In addition to cleaning and inspection, other routine maintenance tasks include checking for loose screws or nails and replacing damaged panels promptly. By following a regular maintenance schedule for your metal roof, you can ensure its longevity and avoid costly repairs down the road.

Choosing Professional Services

Professional roof cleaners have the experience and equipment necessary to clean your metal roof safely and effectively. They can also identify any potential issues that may require repairs before they become major problems.

When choosing a professional service provider, make sure they are licensed and insured. Ask for references from previous clients so that you can verify their work quality.

Check online reviews to see what other customers have said about their experiences with the company.

While hiring professionals may cost more than doing it yourself initially, it could save you money in the long run by preventing damage caused by improper cleaning techniques or missed maintenance needs.

Remember: maintaining your metal roof is crucial for its longevity and durability.

Preventative Measures

One such measure is trimming overhanging branches that may scratch or damage the surface of your metal roof during high winds. Keeping gutters clean and free from debris will prevent water buildup on your roof which can lead to rusting or other forms of damage.

Another important preventative measure is ensuring proper ventilation in attic spaces beneath a metal roofing system. Proper ventilation helps regulate temperature and humidity levels within an attic space, preventing moisture buildup that could cause mold growth or other issues.

Consider investing in a quality coating product designed specifically for use on metal roofs as it provides additional protection against weather elements like UV rays while reducing dirt accumulation on surfaces.

By taking these simple steps towards prevention along with regular cleaning maintenance practices outlined above, you’ll be able to keep your beautiful new investment looking great year-round!.


Can you clean metal roof with Dawn?

Yes, you can clean a metal roof with Dawn as it is a gentle detergent that effectively cleans without causing damage.

Can you use bleach on a metal roof?

Yes, you can use bleach on a metal roof, but be cautious not to use too much and dilute it with water in a 1:8 ratio to prevent damaging the finish.

What is the brown stuff on my metal roof?

The brown stuff on your metal roof is likely rust, caused by a compromised metal chimney, roof flashing, or other metal element.

What is the best method for removing algae or moss from a metal roof?

The best method for removing algae or moss from a metal roof is by gently scrubbing the affected areas with a soft-bristled brush and a solution of water and mild detergent.

How often should a metal roof be cleaned for optimal maintenance?

For optimal maintenance, a metal roof should be cleaned approximately once or twice a year.

Are there any special precautions to take when working on a metal roof to ensure personal safety and to prevent damage to the roof?

When working on a metal roof, ensure personal safety and prevent damage by wearing non-slip footwear, using a safety harness, and laying a padded material like foam between the worker and the roof surface.