How to Clean Metal Roofs? Tips & Tricks

February 21, 2024

Written by: Terry Stevens


Metal roofs are known for their toughness, life span, and good looks, making them famous for houses and businesses. But like any part of a building, metal roofs need regular care to stay in top shape. One essential part of that is keeping the metal roof clean. Here, we'll talk about why keeping a metal roof clean is vital, what can happen if you don't, and how to clean a metal roof right.

Understanding the Importance of Cleaning a Metal Roof

Metal roofs can last, resisting all kinds of weather. But like anything outside, they need regular care and cleaning to stay in good shape. Not cleaning your metal roof can cause real problems over time.

Leaves, dirt, branches - all that stuff can pile up. And once it's weighed down the metal roof for a while, it can damage things. The gunk traps water, too, letting it sit there against the metal, which can start it rusting. If you ignore the problem long enough, you risk weak spots and leaks.

Cleaning the metal roof from time to time is about more than just looks. It's protecting your investment and your home by eliminating all the junk that wants to destroy your metal roof slowly. A well-cared-for metal roof will hold up for decades. But ignore it, and you'll wish you hadn't.

Regular cleaning and caring for the metal roof helps avoid algae, moss, and mildew. It means clearing off organic stuff and using treatments to stop the growth. Homeowners protect their investment and ensure their metal roof lasts by keeping it clean and without too much organic material.

Preparing for Cleaning

a photo of a person carrying the cleaning solutions

First, round up the stuff you'll need - fall protection equipment, such as:

  • a hard hat and gloves to guard against slips or falls;
  • a sturdy ladder to reach the metal roof;
  • soft-bristle scrub brushes for gently removing loose dirt without scratching;
  • a pressure washer with settings suitable for metal;
  • mild cleaner or specialized metal roof solution;
  • scrub brush for tackling stuck-on gunk;
  • bucket for hauling things; maybe a safety harness if it's a steep roof.

Safety must come first when you're on the roof; proper gear is critical to avoid accidents. Make sure to set up your ladder securely and have someone spotting you. Take your time and watch your footing up there. Falling from roofs can cause serious injuries. You'll be ready to start washing once safety precautions are handled. We'll cover the cleaning process itself next.

Check for rust spots, loose panels or screws, and other damage that ought to be patched up first. Scan for leaves, sticks, bird nests, etc., that could clog drains or cause puddling. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear and draining right. And take note of extra grubby areas with thick gunk, algae, moss, or mildew that’ll need extra scrubbing. Lemon and baking soda might come in handy with such areas.

Having the right gear, prioritizing safety, and inspecting beforehand prepare you to clean a metal roof’s paint properly and safely. And following manufacturer directions and best practices while you clean keeps the roof in good shape and makes it last.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Method

Picking the right way to clean a metal roof is vital for keeping it looking good and making it last. Metal roofs are tough and durable, but you must wash them regularly to get rid of dirt, leaves, and gunk that collects over time. There are several ways to clean a metal roof, each with pros and cons. You choose depending on the entire roof type and how dirty it is.

Pressure washing


  • Works excellent for actual stubborn stains and gunk.
  • Can clean significant areas fast with garden hose.
  • Does not need a lot of chemical cleaners, which is suitable for nature.


  • High-pressure water can mess up the roof if you're not careful.
  • Might not work well on some fancy metal roof coatings or finishes.
  • You must be safe to avoid accidents.

Soft washing


  • Lower pressure than pressure washing, less chance of damage.
  • Gets rid of mould and gunk without hurting the roof.
  • Can use eco-friendly cleaners for even better results.


  • Might not get rid of tough stains or gunk as well as pressure washing.
  • Takes more time and effort, too, compared to pressure washing.
  • Chemicals in the cleaning solutions must be handled carefully and disposed of correctly.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Here's a simplified guide for metal roof cleaning to keep it looking nice for a long time:

#1. Gear up with gloves and grippy shoes.

Check out the roof before starting. Repair any loose parts or rust spots. Sweep off leaves, sticks, and gunk with a soft broom or blower.

#2. Mix up some car washing or mild dish soap and water or a store-bought metal cleaner.

Carefully spray it all over the roof in sections using a low-pressure sprayer, covering everything. The car washing soap will pull off dirt and grime to be rinsed away.

#3. Use a brush or sponge and gently scrub the surface. 

For stubborn stains or super dirty areas, use a garden hose and gently scrub the surface with a soft brush or sponge. But, just as with cleaning your kitchen stove avoid things that are too abrasive or could scratch the metal finish.

#4. Clean with water.

After you let that cleaning solution sit for a few minutes (check the directions), rinse off the whole roof well with some clean water. Work in smaller sections so you know you got all that detergent off.

#5. Pun on a protective coating.

If you want to help protect the metal and make it last longer, wear a protective clothing or sealant after metal roof cleaning. Carefully follow the instructions from the manufacturer on how to apply it and how long to let it dry.

Post-Cleaning Maintenance

a vector concept of roof maintenance

After you clean a metal roof, ongoing roof maintenance is critical for longevity and performance. Regular checks, swift fixes, and prevention of buildup are essential.

First, inspect for lingering stains or harm once cleaning is complete. Thorough checks uncover rust spots, loose parts, or worn coating that require early action before growing into more significant issues. Catching problems early allows timely repairs before major damage.

Second, address any identified repairs immediately. Fixing imperfections and treating stains keeps things looking nice and avoids decline. Swift fixes maintain sturdiness to prevent leaks and eventual water damage, necessitating expensive repairs.

Preventive measures are critical to minimizing future buildup and making the metal roof last longer. It could be putting on protective sealants or coatings to prevent corrosion, sticking gutter guards on to keep debris from clogging the gutters or cutting back the branches hanging over the roof so stuff doesn't fall on it as much. Regular maintenance like washing the gutters with the cleaning solution, removing leaves and junk from the roof, and keeping the drainage open should also help avoid problems.

If property owners check out their metal roofs a lot, fix stuff quickly when it starts looking bad, and take good preventive care, they can keep it looking good and working right for a long time. Try also a professional roof cleaning service with the best cleaning solutions.

However, if all of these don’t work, maybe considering metal roof changing is an option. This alternative is pricey for those who can’t afford it. Taking financial help is a solution, especially for those with credit issues. Being proactive and borrowing home improvement loans for bad credit borrowers saves your budget and helps you improve your home exterior.

Bottom Line

To wrap things up, keeping your roof clean is important if you want it to keep looking good and lasting a long time. You must follow the steps we discussed to get all that nasty dirt, leaves, and algae off there to keep it in tip-top shape for many years.

Be careful and use the right cleaners that won't hurt the metal. And take it easy with the scrubbing. You don't want to damage anything. If you stay on top of giving your metal roof some TLC occasionally, it'll look so much nicer, and you've protected your investment big time. So grab your gear, get to work, and show that metal roof of yours some love so it can sparkle and do its job of keeping your house dry for as long as possible.


Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Maintenance, Roofing

About the author 

Terry Stevens

The owner and founder of Sparkle and Shine. He is a seasoned professional in the home services industry with a decade of experience. He is dedicated to providing top-notch services for residential and commercial properties and has a wealth of knowledge to share on topics such as tips, tricks, industry trends, and the importance of loving your space.