Moss growth and the growth of other plant organisms is a common problem on stone, concrete, and other surfaces that remain shaded and fairly moist throughout the day. It is important to remove moss, especially over walking paths, as it can be quite slippery and poses a hazard.
Furthermore, moss can damage many surfaces if left untreated creating costly repairs and necessary updates to your home.
Do not wait until moss becomes unruly and has spread. You are better off taking time to deal with the moss issue early on before it poses a health and safety issue, and before it becomes a major eyesore that is hard to get rid of.
What Is Moss?
Moss is a small, flowerless plant. It usually is dense and green in appearance and forms in clumps or mats. Moss produces spores and has stems and leaves, but no true roots.
Moss can break down some substrata, thereby releasing nutrients for other plants. Moss can also help with soil erosion by absorbing water. Moss generally grows in damp, dark areas.
While moss may prove useful in forests, it can be quite irksome to have moss growing on concrete areas on your property, because it can damage the area.
If you find yourself with moss growing on the concrete areas of your property, you will need to get rid of it quickly so that it does not cause any permanent damage to the area or spread as moss does.
Below are a series of methods for moss removal from concrete. If none of these work, you may want to call in a professional. As with most maintenance tasks, paying a little extra upfront can save you some major costs and a headache later on as you will prevent the most from damaging any concrete on your property.
Before using chemicals of any kind to try to clean moss off of pavement, you should try simpler methods that are both easy and cheap to do and use things you are likely to already have in your home.
The simplest option is to try using boiling water, especially in areas near grass or other wanted plant growth. This is cheap and easy to do and doesn't require a trip to the store to get materials.
To begin using boiling water to remove moss, boil a good amount of water in a large pot. Once it reaches a boil, use oven mitts to hold the pot so as not to hurt your hands. Make sure your path outside is clear of kids and pets who could cause you to drop the water and hurt yourself or them.
Carefully pour the boiling water over the moss, scrub it with a stiff brush, and use a hose to wash away any debris. Make sure to be careful not to burn yourself with the hot water throughout the entire process.
If you do, stop what you are doing and treat the burn immediately. Depending on how bad it is, running it under cold water may surface, but if it is really bad you may need to go in to see a doctor immediately.
Water is a natural ingredient and free. This is an incredibly easy method to remove moss from concrete, and it's the cheapest one out there. It may not work for large areas of moss that have been present for a while but is a great option for smaller amounts of new moss. Just be careful when handling the boiling water.
The power sprayer, like boiling water, is another environmentally safe way to combat moss growing on concrete. It is, however, a much more expensive moss removal method than simply using boiling water.
If you don't own a power washer or have one available to you another way such as borrowing one, you can always rent a power washer. However, you can only wash small areas at a time, so washing a large stretch (such as your driveway) will not only take some time but will take a good deal of water and may not be entirely successful at getting rid of all the moss.
If you are renting a power washer, you may as well take the time to clean off your entire driveway while you are at it. A power washer can make your driveway look clean and brand new.
Ammonium sulfamate is an option if boiling water and the power washer don't work. The chemical can be found in most garden supply stores. It is a water-soluble solid so you will need a garden sprayer or watering can to apply it to the moss-ridden areas.
Avoid areas with other desirable plant life, and be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions. As with any chemical product, but especially ammonium sulfamate, be sure to use the recommended protective gear, as it can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs. It is best used on a day with no wind, to keep it from blowing onto other plants and further prevent direct contact.
Sodium pentachlorophenate can also be used to fight moss, though you should be aware that it is a known carcinogen. Apply using a solution of 1 part sodium pentachlorophenate to 8 parts water and thoroughly cover the moss-covered areas with the solution. Apply it again if it rains within 24 hours.
Again, safety is important, so please use protective gear when handling this chemical as well. The moss should die off within a week. Brush away any excess moss with a broom. This should also prevent moss from growing back for at least a few weeks making it a great preventative measure as well.
Household bleach can be used as well to treat moss found on concrete, though garden supply stores often sell bleach specifically for killing moss.
Start by mixing a solution of half bleach and half water in a large bucket. Use a sprayer to cover the area impacted by the moss, scrub it, then use a hose to rinse it off.
Be sure to follow all directions on the container and use your protective gear. This method should keep the moss from growing back for as long as a year, making it a preferred method for many.
Baking soda will also often do the trick of getting rid of moss on concrete. To try this method, sprinkle the baking soda over the moss-covered areas and let it sit for at least 24 hours. Carefully sweep it up and dispose of the powder.
Be sure whenever possible to start with environmentally friendly means of moss removal before immediately resorting to chemical solutions that could potentially be dangerous. If you do use chemicals, always wear some sort of protective gear and be extremely careful.
Using chemicals to remove moss can stain concrete. Using an alternative solution is necessary to avoid damaging the concrete surface. One such method is to use a bleach and water solution, diluted to at least three parts water to one part bleach. This can damage nearby grasses and plants, however.
Another alternative to caustic moss killers is to sprinkle inexpensive powdered laundry detergent on the mossy area. This will effectively kill the moss and will not damage or stain the concrete surface.
In order to prevent the moss’s return there must be sunlight on the surface. This means removing any limbs, shrubs, or bushes that are creating too much shade in the area.
Can Moss Damage Concrete?
You may be wondering why you need to get rid of moss at all if you find it growing in your concrete. Moss can damage many surfaces, including roofs and concrete.
Moss can also spread quite quickly, which is one of the reasons you should deal with it as it pops up instead of waiting for it to be a major nuisance to rid the concrete of the moss.
Moss holds on to moisture which deteriorates surfaces. This means it shortens the lifespan of things like concrete and other surfaces.
Does Vinegar Kill Moss?
Many people use vinegar as a catch-all cleaner for any and all cleaning tasks that come up around their homes and for good reason: vinegar is a great cleaning option in most situations, it's cheap, most people have it lying around in their home already, it does not have a strong smell, and it is not caustic like some other common cleaners are.
Vinegar is also a great option for removing moss from your concrete safely. To use vinegar to treat a moss-infected area, you will need to mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with a gallon of cold water. Stir the solution in a large bucket and then pour it over the affected area where the moss has grown.
Allow the solution to sit for at least an hour if not longer before you start to scrub away any loose moss debris with a brush. The moss should come up easily as this point. Make sure to get all areas with moss so it does not continue to spread.
You should spray the area down with water after you have completed this process.
Does Vinegar Kill Moss on Pavement?
Just like other forms of concrete, vinegar will kill moss on your pavement. Again, you will need to mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with a gallon of cold water and pour it over the affected area of pavement.
Allow the solution to sit for at least an hour if not longer before scrubbing away any loose moss debris with a brush. The moss should come up easily.
How Do You Keep Moss from Growing Back?
Some methods of moss removal have the added benefit of preventing it from coming back for a period of time. Bleach, for example, can get rid of moss for roughly a year, and sodium pentachlorophenate can keep moss at bay for a few weeks after being used on concrete.
The best way to get rid of moss forever, though, is to improve drainage in the area and find ways to get more sun in your area. Moss likes to grow in damp, dark areas. By eliminating those, you eliminate moss' ability to grow in your area.
If moss growth is an ongoing problem for you, you may want to call in a professional who can help with permanent solutions so you are not continuously dealing with the moss and its negative effects.
While it may be a bit time consuming and costly to deal with the root of the moss issue, it will serve you well in the long run as you will not have to deal with moss every time it pops up and you will also not have to fear the moss permanently damaging the concrete areas of your home and its surrounding areas.
Remember, a bit of preventative maintenance is always a good idea and will serve you well in the long run.
There are a lot of ways to remove moss from concrete, many of which are environmentally free and cost effective. You should always try those methods before moving on to harsher means of controlling a moss problem.
If you are unable to remove the moss yourself, you could call in a professional. This will cost more than taking on the moss removal yourself, so make sure you try at least a few of the above-mentioned methods first.
Still, it is less expensive to have someone remove moss from your driveway than it is to replace it if the moss is left to sit and harm the driveway for too long so make sure to deal with the moss swiftly.