Roof Cleaning Best Practices

Some things that I am trying to get better at:

  1. When I am up on a two story, shooting from the gutter line, one of my largest concerns is trying to have my left hand free if I need it to either catch my balance or turn off the ball valve. In doing so, I can’t be holding the weight of the hose. Anyone have a cool device or method you are using to clamp/tie off the hose at the top of the ladder? I have some inferior methods not worth mentioning…

  2. I got some “plant watering” poles from Lowe’s. I have been hooking up a garden hose and dropping it in the gutter to dilute any runoff on certain homes that have gutters. When gutter guards are present, this doesn’t always work, or can’t work without damaging. Anyone do anything different in a gutter guard situation? Anything cool you have made?

  3. Gypsum. We use it a lot. But I don’t even really know if it is having a positive effect. I don’t really want to experiment to find out, either. Anyone else use it often or every time?


I try to walk a roof if i can, but when i spray from the gutter i wrap the hose in a figure 8 on the top of the extension ladder. I also use the poly wand as of now so if it does fall it stops spraying.

I wish the roofs i clean had gutters, best tip is to keep the mix from running. this is why i walk roof so its a fan spray which helps to not get the mix to run unless you puddle it. I also lay the trays i bough from lowes on the drip line to catch any run off. Get a good sticky soap and mix it stickier if needed. Right now im using snotemaid, but plan on trying slo mo from pwp.

Some one can correct me if im wrong. When you get SH on grass/soil its damaging the area twice. The first being the liquid SH immediately killing or spotting up plants. Then once the gas has burned off the salt left further changes the ph of the soil. This is why once done cleaning a roof everything will look fine, but then you get a call 2 days later saying everything dead.
Gypsum does not neutralize SH it just reverses ph in the soil. Laying gypsum in my experiences wont save you from browning the grass but helps it get back to green faster. Depending on how bad this can be weeks to months.
Everyone likes to say dilution is the solutions, but ive gotten some drips off the roof and watered like crazy and still killed the grass. I also dont rinse roofs because of no gutters and worry about the morning dew or a light rain the next day running a hot mix off the roof.


I switched from a ball valve setup to a modified garden hose gun. One handed operation and if needed you can hang it on the gutter or ladder.

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image Like this.


You should be using a stabilizer. I’ve never had a problem holding hose and/or adjusting ball valve. I usually just drape hose over my shoulder when climbing up if it’s high. If I’m real high and a lot of pull on hose, will just loop it around top of ladder once and that will relieve pressure of holding it up. Always make sure you have plenty of slack in hose at bottom of ladder.

Go watch a couple of videos on ‘firefighter leg lock.’

I too, sometimes use regular hose nozzle like @TopgunPW . It is nice for hanging.

If runoff in gutters is piped, then I don’t worry about too much although I do try to find out where it’s coming out. If not piped, depending on where gutters come out, I may pipe off with tube, just bag them or if in a bed with nothing near them don’t worry about. For last year, seems like I’ve been bagging them more. It’s the easiest and quickest. Get one of those small rolling outdoor trash cans to just go around and put bags in, in case they break. Then just dump someplace safe. Can reuse bags most the time. Sometimes I’ll put some gypsum around downspouts if near flowers or bushes for when it rains.

Try not to have a lot of runoff.


I like this poly spray gun.Poly Spray Gun Viton #87089830 for Sale Online | Trigger Jet Spray Guns | Chemical Spray Guns | Power Washer Accessory | Pressure Washer Part | Spray Gun | Power Wash Store It has viton seals and seems to hold up really well. I have tried the cheaper ones and they leak. I like having a trigger over just a ball valve. I do put a ball valve on the base of it when I’m moving around and don’t want a accidental discharge.

As far as hose, I do what @Racer does and definitely make sure you have a stabilizer.

I bag the downspouts. I have 1000ft roll of 6 mil by 8 inch poly tubing. ULINE - Shipping Boxes, Shipping Supplies, Packaging Materials, Packing Supplies
I make 10ft long bags. I tie a knot on one end and then attach to the downspouts using gear ties…
If I have woods or an area that I can safely divert the runoff to, I just cut a tube for that.

I also use gypsum when I remove the gutter bags and have completed my application. .


I use a stabilizer. I can’t even imagine not having one, after having one.

The leg lock is interesting. Thank you for sharing that.

I had been wrapping the hose around the top as well, but I guess my frustration is with not having a trigger gun. I think that’s the issue here. I will get a couple of those garden hose trigger guns as burners and go from there. That’s good info.

Yeah. That leg lock looks uncomfortable, but a good one to know.

How come fire ladders never seem to have stabilizers? I dunno. Maybe I just never paid attention.

Ahhhhh… They just have tiny little hooks. I figured it out.

Not sure how much this info will help but might give you something else to experiment with. In the past everyone assumed that gypsum effected or lowered soil ph but studies have proved otherwise. Gyspum is neutral in ph so won’t raise or lower soil ph. It’s more of a soil conditioner. Many use it to help with “tight” or packed soil. Elemental sulfur can be used to lower soil ph.

I’m sure no studies have been performed on the effects of sh in the soil with gypsum added. If you see that it helps it obviously has to be doing something. Since its more of a soil conditioner I wonder if it just helps the sh leach down through the soil faster? I would think it would take a handful of applications for that to happen though.

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There are two reasons why soil might be “packed”. It could be physically compacted or it could be too much salt. If it is physically compacted from driving an excavator over it, the gypsum won’t do anything. Gypsum does, however, open up salty soil. It’s used as a soil amendment is coastal areas.

I don’t do roofs or use gypsum, but if it saves plants, I don’t think it has anything to do with the pH. The SH breaks down into salt. Salt has been used for thousands of years to poison enemy cropland. You definitely don’t want that on your customer’s foundation plantings. The plants die because the salt blocks the water. Gypsum helps to pull the salt down below the root zone.

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Very informative. Thanks for that!

I know old farmers use it or at least use to here in the midwest but I think that was going off the outdated info about it lowering soil ph. Gypsum is part of my lawn maintenance regime as per my soil test recommendations to help with the “tightness”. I just started the gypsum this spring so can’t say what any overall effects are. I’m sure it’s nothing I’ll notice but assume it will help the overall look and health of the lawn. It’s a newer lawn just seeded last fall after killing off the old.

Never question the wisdom of old farmers. They plow the soil, so “tightness” isn’t really an issue. They probably just use it to add calcium back in.

On your lawn, I’d guess it’s pretty optional. It will make watering more effective, though.

I put a quick connect between my hose and my poly gun but now I’m re-thinking the idea since there’s not enough pressure to ensure that it can’t disconnect. The scenario of the hose getting disconnected while pumping 5.5 GPM of roof mix onto the landscape while I scramble down the ladder and run to the pump shutoff is nightmarish. Any ideas? Do you all just have your guns direct connected to the hose?

I wouldn’t connect the gun directly, hard for the hose to spin when rolling up.

You could put a ball valve before the QC. But i just have a SS QC at the end

Just put the female end of the qc on your gun. Is unlikely to disconnect. If your really concerned you could put a ball valve in between the gun and and hose but then that’s just more weight to desk with.

I just put a brass garden hose adaptor on my male at end of sw hose so I can screw in any type of gun I want in seconds.


Where can I find some of this gypsum ? I usually only shop pressuretek … is this something I have to find elsewhere ?

Be careful you don’t become this guy. It’s easy to do a lot of damage roof cleaning. And DJ is no fly by night hack either.


That’s one of the main reasons i quit cleaning roofs