Removal of Moss with Oil Soap


With more than 14,000 species of moss (Bryophyta) residing in moist, shady conditions, moss eventually may appear on your property. Moss is a group of small plants called bryophytes. Growing in a dense mat, moss has a root system that is only a threadlike stalk, making moss' removal somewhat simple. By using a simple household cleaner, such as oil soap, to remove the dirt, sand or debris buildup in a moss-affected area, you can dissuade moss from returning.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff broom or long-handled scrub brush
  • Pressure washer (optional)
  • Gloves
  • Bucket
  • Wheelbarrow (optional)
  • Pot or pan
  • Measuring cup (optional)
  • Rag (optional)
  • Remove as much of the moss as possible from the affected area. Use a stiff broom or long-handled brush to scrape the moss off the surface. Use a pressure washer on a surface such as a driveway, brick walkway and lawn furniture cushions, where the pressure washer's water stream will not cause damage.

  • Pick up scraped-off moss while wearing gloves, and place that moss in a bucket or wheelbarrow. The removed moss can be transplanted to a more desirable area or put in the trash.

  • Mix oil soap in a bucket with hot water by following the oil soap manufacturer's label directions, or use 1/4 cup of oil soap with every 1 gallon of hot water.

  • Apply the oil soap and hot water mixture to the area from which you removed moss. Scrub the surface with a scrub brush or rag, removing the remainder of the moss along with debris that accumulated beneath it.

  • Rinse the area with clean water, and allow it to dry thoroughly. Scrub the dry surface with a second application of the oil soap and hot water mixture if moss or debris remains on it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Several oil-based soaps are on the market and available at stores selling household cleaning supplies. Castile soap, which is a generic name of soap made from olive oil, usually is available where organic cleaning products are sold.
  • Moss can be transplanted from an area where it isn't desired, including a roof, to an area where it is desired, such as between stone pavers.
  • Herbicidal products formulated for moss may be harmful to other organisms in your area. Use such products with caution.
  • Do not mix moss with collected yard waste because the moss' spores can spread.

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