Dealing With Moss, Mold and Mildew

Spring will soon be in full bloom throughout the Pacific Northwest, but not everything green will be in the garden. As the rains subside, we will see green concrete everywhere – walkways, driveways, and patios. Looking closely at the house, we’re even likely to see the tell-tale sign of moss on the roof and mildew on our siding. This time of year, the most frequent request I get is to pressure-wash something. But, thanks to modern chemistry, getting rid of moss, mildew, and slime molds isn’t nearly as tough a job as it once was and many times I don’t even need the pressure washer.

There are several really good products available at all the big box stores, department stores, and most hardware stores. In fact, Lilly-Miller introduced a new moss remover designed just for concrete last year. The product I’ve been using very successfully for several years is 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner and I guess I’m reluctant to change just because it is so darned effective. In many cases, all I need to do is spray it on the concrete or siding, agitate it with a stiff bristle brush, and rinse it off with a hose. And, it’s effective at killing slime molds and mildew as well as the moss. The same company released a product last year which promises to be as effective, but with even less work. It’s called Spray & Walk Away. Spray it on using a garden sprayer, and Mother Nature will wash away all the black and green yuk over time. This is also the only product I know of that will deal effectively with lichen. And, if you are planning to paint your home, leave the pressure washer in the garage, because they just released 30 Seconds Outdoor Painter’s Prep. Best part of all, these products are manufactured right here in Troutdale, Oregon.

Occasionally, I do have to break out the pressure washer to deal with really tough jobs. It’s important to remember, though, that just washing moss, mold, and mildew from the surface is usually not enough. The “roots” are still embedded and remain alive in any porous surface like concrete or roofing materials. They will continue to grow and do damage, unless a chemical is used to kill them before using the pressure washer.

While the power of high pressure water can really speed up the cleaning process, it’s important to remember it can also do extensive damage very quickly. It will cut through vinyl and cedar siding along with composition roofing materials like a sharp knife. Be sure to use a wide enough tip angle (usually 25 or 40 degree) to disperse the water while still getting the surface clean.

As a final note, when it comes to removing the “green” of springtime, remember to always wear personal protective clothing and equipment. Read and follow all the warning labels on any chemicals and always wear close-toed shoes along with eye and hearing protection when using the pressure washer.

Handyman Bob offers home improvement advice on his radio show, Around The House, every Saturday from noon to 2:00 on FM News 101 KXL. He is also a voice-over artist. Getting your business message across may be as simple as having a professional deliver it for you. Let The Strong Voice of Handyman Bob carry it to your desired audience in videos, PowerPoint presentations, radio commercials or telephone messages-on-hold – samples available at


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