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eco roof cleaning?

 
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My stepfather has 'composition' roof shingles, asphalt from the looks of it, and he's a nut about making that thing is clean because they've lost so much money with roof problems.

Recently I noticed a Huge box of Tide detergent at the house with which he will be cleaning the roof in order to kill the moss.

Eek, I thought. That's a 'non point pollution' of the aquifer I bet. Or will the soil between the gutter and the aquifer be able to clean that up.

Regardless, the thought of tide on the roof, on the lawn, turns my stomach. Does anyone have any good moss-killing remedies for shady roofs that are less toxic?
 
steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Well, I don't have a "for sure" answer, but I can tell you this:  moss like a very acidic environment. 

I wonder what would happen if he spread gardeners lime on the roof instead?  Or maybe on the moss. 

If lime gets into our groundwater, we'll be fine (I'm about 98% certain of that - lime is just ground up limestone  after all.  Even in freaky huge quantities in our water, I think we are still fine).  If tide gets into our groundwater, I think we won't be fine.

 
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Location: Bellevue, WA
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That's a tough one...

Is the moss really so lodged that it needs Tide? The best answer is to just get up there and remove the moss with a broom and a garden hose, and then sweep the roof of debris every once in a while to prevent it from growing again. Or call a pressure washer and have them do a gentle sweep.

Many people swear by zinc strips or galvanized flashing, but I've gotta imagine that the zinc flowing into the local water supply is going to be worse than Tide.

When attacking mold inside, I use diluted australian tea tree oil (a broad-spectrum fungicide that is often used medicinally) or vinegar. Perhaps a solution of these would be good for the roof?

And be careful! Moldy roofs are slippery!



 
MJ Solaro
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
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I ran across this online today, and thought it was worth passing along in this thread:

"Algarid is a non-toxic environmentally safe mold and mildew removal chemical. It is primarily used in the pressure washing industry. It is a spray on wash off application. You could use a pump up sprayer and then wipe off with a rag. It is about $30 per gallon and can be diluted 1:4. I do not recomend diluting it any more than 1:1 or just use it straight."

http://www.algarid.com/research.html

It looks like a magnetic water treatment. I can see how that would get rid of the mold. It's basically the same treatment that they apply to swimming pool water in "eco-pools" to make sure that the algae never grows.

With these kinds of things, the EPA says that it's harmful to bacteria, viruses, and fungis, but not to humans or animals. I wonder though...

Still, might be worth some further investigation.

 
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Location: Western WA
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Why can't I find a MSDS (Material Safety and Data Sheet) on this product???


Your father has probably cleaned off the moss by now, so why not encourage him to install a strip of copper under each side of the ridgeline? 

Suggest he pay a few dollars to have a soil test done.  Here in the PNW, there isn't usually an overabundance of copper in the soil, and what would wash off a few inches of copper probably wouldn't do any harm. And it would probably be localized near the house. He could have the soil there tested every few years and see what's happening.  And even that wouldn't be a worry if he wasn't growing food plants or grazing livestock there.

It should be much safer than aluminum, lead, chlorine or some of the strong chemicals usually used.

I would check it out further if I were collecting drinking water from the roof....

Sue

 
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