by Allison Hester, Publisher
As the roof cleaning industry becomes increasingly competitive, professional contractors have to find ways to work faster and keep costs lower. One strategy a lot of contractors implement is the practice of spraying on their roof cleaning chemical then leaving it for the next rain fall to wash off. On the one hand, this process saves water and time. But is it worth it?
This is one of the most common questions that Chris Tucker of the Roof Cleaning Institute of America (RCIA) is asked. In his extensive roof
cleaning experience and research, Tucker said that leaving all of the roof cleaning chemical on the roof for the rain to wash off is like playing a game of Russian roulette.
As roof cleaners know, the sodium hypochlorite that is used in roof cleaning chemicals to kill algae can also kill plants. The
best way to protect plants from being harmed is to water, water, and water some more. “There is no magic solution to spray on the plants and keep them safe,” he added. “Just lots and lots of water. Dilution is the solution to the pollution.”
Cleaning a roof without gutters, then letting the rain wash away the solution is not a good idea. “If you have a good, hard rain, you’re probably ok,” Tucker explained. “But if you have a light rain, the salt left over from the cleaning solution will burn rings around the
hedges, and possibly cause other expensive damage.”
But even if a house has gutters, it’s not a guarantee that plants will be ok if you leave the solution on and wait for rain. What if the
gutters are clogged? What if the downspouts aren’t working properly?
“My research has shown that one-third seems to be the magic number,” Tucker explained. “Water the plants and just wash off one-third of the roof, then let the rain do the rest. By washing one-third of the roof, plants don’t seem to die.”
According to Tucker, this one-third roof rinse should still save you time and energy, but also help ensure that you’re not damaging plants — or your professional reputation.
Chris Tucker is the owner of Apple Roof Cleaning and the founder of the Roof Cleaning Institute of America. To read the eClean article about Chris and RCIA, click here. To learn more about the association, visit the RCIA website.