How to Clean EPDM Rubber Roofing

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Simple supplies can clean rubber roofs.
Simple supplies can clean rubber roofs. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The durability, versatility and waterproof properties of Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) make it a common roofing material for recreational vehicles and flat-roofed structures. Although EPDM roofs resist ultraviolet rays, pitting and most weather damages, they are not maintenance-free. Rubber roofs accumulate dirt, tree sap, bird droppings and oxidation, which cause recreational vehicles and homes to appear dingy. Cleaning rubber roofs at least four times per year revives their appearance and increases their lifespan. With proper maintenance, EPDM rubber roofing can last over twenty years.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Garden hose
  • Slip-resistant shoes
  • 1/4-cup mild liquid laundry soap
  • Clean bucket
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Clean rag
  • Mineral spirits

Sweep the rubber roof with a broom to remove leaves and large debris.

Spray the roof with water from a garden hose to rinse away loosened dirt particles and other small debris. Wear slip-resistant shoes to prevent slipping on the wet rubber surface.

Create a solution of 1/4-cup mild liquid laundry soap and 2 gallons of warm water in a clean bucket. Thoroughly mix the soapy solution.

Saturate a nylon scrub brush in the soapy solution. Scrub a 3-foot by 3-foot portion of the roof with the soapy scrub brush to remove grime, oxidation and bird droppings. Frequently rinse the scrub brush with fresh water.

Rinse the clean portion of the roof with the garden hose.

Continue washing the remaining roof in 3-foot by 3-foot portions until the rubber surface is completely clean.

Inspect the rubber surface for tree sap stains. If sticky stains are present, saturate a clean rag with mineral spirits. Do not pour the mineral spirits directly onto the rubber. Wipe the rag over the sticky stains until they are completely dissolved.

Spray the entire rubber surface with the garden hose to rinse off the mineral spirits and any remaining soapsuds.

Allow the rubber surface to air-dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cleaning products containing harsh abrasives, petroleum solvents and citrus can cause severe damage to a rubber roof and even void the roof’s warranty.

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