Do You Need to Clean Your Metal Roof?

While metal roofs ordinarily require minimal maintenance, cleaning your metal roof will help protect and keep it looking great, year after year. If your metal roof is painted or has a specific coating, it's particularly essential to keep it clear of debris and residue. The special coating is there to keep the metal protected from breaking down. Even though it's formulated to stand up to the elements, regular cleaning will help it protect your roof for longer.

It would be best if you planned to clean your metal roof at least once per year or whenever you notice a buildup of debris, stains, mildew, moss, or mold.

Why Clean Your Metal Roof

Keeping your metal roof clean is an excellent way to increase its life, preserve your metal roof's appearance, and keep your home protected. Over time, damage from UV rays and oxygen contact will naturally cause the paint or coating to break down. If you've noticed a dusty, white residue on your roof's surface, this is referred to as chalking — a common sign that oxidation has started to wear the paint's surface. It doesn't mean your roof is jeopardized, but it is a sign that your roof needs to be cleaned.

Excessive chalking typically is not covered in warranties, mostly because it's easily prevented. Routine maintenance, like cleaning and spot touch-ups, will help minimize the effects of oxidation and protect your metal roof.

Cleaning your metal roof is easy, and it's a simple way to prevent rust stains along with the growth of moss, mildew, and mold. When cleaning your metal roof, you'll want to remove any dirt, leaves, pollen, tree sap, acid, or substances deposited from rain.

What Do You Need to Clean Your Metal Roof?

All you need is a washcloth, soft-bristled brush, sponge, or cleaning pad to clean your metal roof. It's important you only use non-abrasive materials to clean your metal roof. Scratches to the paint or coating may cause it to degrade faster as oxidation can penetrate further into the surface.

In most cases, you can just use water with your cleaning tools to remove debris. If you notice a buildup of sap, grease, or any other substances, adding a mild detergent to the water will help break it up. Detergent for car-washing, laundry detergent, or dish soap are all gentle enough to use when cleaning metal roofs. Bleach or rubbing alcohol can be used to spot-clean tough stains if they appear but shouldn't be used for the entire surface.


Cleaning your metal roof is easy. Follow these steps seasonally to protect your metal roof against rust, mildew, and other contaminants.

  • Rinse with water.

  • Add detergent (¼ cup per gallon) to water.

  • Apply the solution with a sponge or cloth.

  • Rinse thoroughly after 5-10 minutes.

  • Spot-clean mildew, mold, or rust with appropriate and safe cleaners.

Some Dos and Don'ts of Metal Roof Cleaning

Don't use a high-pressure washer.

Don't let toxic run-off touch the ground if you're using chemicals for stains.

Don't use sandpaper, steel wool, or other abrasive materials to clean — even on mold, mildew, or rust stains.

Do use a small amount of bleach with an appropriate and non-abrasive detergent to remove stains.

Do consult an expert if there is a stain you're uncertain how to remove.

Do wear protective gear if you clean your roof yourself, including: safety glasses, gloves, and shoes with good traction.

Do use safe practices when cleaning your roof, including: fall protection, an OSHA compliant ladder, and a friend.

You don't have to clean your metal roof on your own. If you don't have the time, the correct and safe equipment to use, or don't want to deal with the hassle, hire a professional. Protect your metal roof by caring for it year after year, and it will last you a lifetime.

If your metal roof is looking a little worse for wear, let the America's Choice team know. We're happy to get your metal roof looking brand new, and we're also happy to answer any questions you might have about cleaning your metal roof. Contact one of our Montana locations today!