Residential Pressure Washing soft wash roof

Contrary to what some may believe, it is better to soft wash a roof than to use a pressure washer to clean it. Soft washing is gentler, making it the perfect solution for a delicate surface such as a roof. However, not everyone knows the first thing about soft washing and the many mistakes you might make when doing it yourself.


What Is Roof Softwashing?

As the term suggests, roof soft washing is a cleaning method using low pressure to expel water. It is a gentler alternative to pressure washing, which tends to blast away dirt and debris with force. Pressure washing is excellent for many things but can damage surfaces when misused. Soft washing, in contrast, can remove contaminants without using high-pressure settings. Instead, it primarily relies on cleaning solutions.


A Quick Guide to Soft Wash Roof Cleaning

When done correctly, soft washing can achieve great results. Unfortunately, far too many roof owners go into the process blind. Here’s how to soft wash a roof the right way.


1. Prepare the Area

Every roof soft wash system should begin with preparation. Since roofs tend to be sloped, chemicals and water will flow down, possibly drenching the objects below. As such, you should remove any items you don’t want to get wet or bleached. This includes plants, shoes, doormats, furniture, etc.

If you have kids and pets running around, keep them indoors or away from the cleaning area. It is also important to close all windows and doors. Keeping these openings tightly sealed ensures no water or chemicals will enter the house. If you have wooden doors or gaps, line them with towels to absorb moisture and prevent leaks.


2. Apply the Cleaning Product

The next thing you should do is apply the cleaning product to the roof. While many different kinds are available, you can use a blend of household bleach and water in a pinch. Mix them in equal parts and add 100ml of sugar soap for every 1 liter of the combined solution.

Using your soft washer, apply the cleaning solution using the chemical nozzle. Work in sections from the bottom up. Leave the cleaning solution on the roof for about 15 minutes to give it time to work its magic. Rinsing it immediately after application won’t give good results. If you’re using a packaged solution, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


3. Wash Off

Next, gently rinse the roof with the soft nozzle. Work in the same way you applied the cleaning solution. Make sure to hold the spray gun properly to avoid losing control. Using two hands is a great way to start.

Remember to keep the nozzle near the surface, about 30 cm. When spraying the water, do so at an angle. Keep your speed consistent, too.


4. Inspect and Repeat (If Necessary)

Lastly, do a final walkthrough of the premises. This way, you can inspect the roof and identify any missed areas. You may also find some parts that need extra attention. If necessary, you can repeat the cleaning process for better results.


Mistakes to Avoid When Soft Washing a Roof Mistakes to Avoid When Soft Washing a Roof

When you’re soft washing a roof, especially for the first time, it is easy to make mistakes. Fortunately, knowing the most common mistakes will help you veer away from them.


Using the Wrong Roof Soft Wash Chemicals

One of the most prevalent mistakes when soft washing a roof is using the wrong chemical cleaner. You can’t just use any cleaning solution you have lying around. It is essential to ensure that you use a cleaning solution suitable for your roofing material.

Many people use sodium percarbonate, as it is very effective in getting rid of stubborn stains and is environmentally friendly. If you have an asphalt or wood shake roof, sodium percarbonate is a good choice. However, you should mix it with three parts water or follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using the wrong cleaning solution can end up doing more harm than good. As such, you should familiarize yourself with the many cleaning products available.


Not Watering Plants Afterward

Ideally, you would have moved any potted plants away from the cleaning area at the beginning of the process. However, if you forgot to do this or have plants that can’t be moved, you must water them after the roof cleaning.

Chemical cleaners, even soaps or detergents, can harm plant life. Therefore, you should rinse them off and dilute the chemicals with water. After washing your roof, water the plants in the surrounding space as well.


Walking on the Roof

It is best not to get up on your roof at all when you’re cleaning it. Standing and walking on your roof is dangerous. It can lead to injury and even death. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls, slips, or trips make up a large part of fatal workplace injuries.

Keep in mind that roofs are not built to carry heavy loads. Your roof may look sturdy but likely can’t support your weight for too long. Walking across your roof is also risky because you don’t know which parts of your roof have become weak due to deterioration or damage. Not only are you jeopardizing your own safety when you walk on your roof, but you’re also risking more damage to it.


Using a High-Pressure Washer

While it is possible to use a pressure washer on a roof, it takes skill and expertise to do so successfully. You might damage the roof with a pressure washer if you don’t know what you’re doing. For instance, aiming the nozzle at one area too long can punch a hole through it. Even the wrong angle, distance, nozzle, or pressure setting can do much damage.


How Much Does Soft Wash Roof Cleaning Cost?

Professional services deliver the best results, but they come at a price. The cost of soft washing a roof depends on a few factors: the size, the roof’s material, and the roof’s condition. Naturally, the larger the roof or the harder it is to clean, the higher the cost. It can also depend on your location. For example, roof cleaning may cost more if you live in a more affluent area.

That said, on average, you can expect to pay somewhere between $0.30 to $0.75 per square foot. Some companies charge a higher price.


Go With the Pros

Knowing how to soft wash a roof is essential, especially if you plan to do it yourself. If you don’t want to take the DIY approach, though, you can always hire a professional company to do it. Hiring a pro also guarantees better results, as professionals have more experience and expertise in roof cleaning.

Washh offers residential and commercial pressure washing services, including roof cleaning. Call us today at 704.321.8000 or contact us online for a free estimate!