I make my own natural defoamer
If there is one thing that always comes back at the beginning of spring, it is the greening of our outdoor surfaces by mosses, lichens or fungi. Something we could do without but which is inevitable at the end of winter. These green deposits love humidity and they develop in the least sunny places. This phenomenon is all the more present if you live in a rainy region or if a part of your house or your land is shaded.
What causes the appearance of moss?
As mentioned, moisture is one cause, but it's not the only one. Mosses like to grow when the soil is of poor quality. So other plants grow poorly and mosses, being more adaptable than most plants, move in to fill the empty space. Mosses are not the problem, they are the symptom.
When you see moss in your lawn, roof, deck, flower bed or driveway, five factors may be at fault :
1 - Very shady location
2 - Very poor soil
3 - Soggy soil
4 - Densely compacted soil
5 - Very acidic soil (pH less than 5.5)
It is often a combination of these factors that hinders the growth of other plants so much that it allows mosses to penetrate. Perhaps the soil is compacted and shaded, or poor, soggy and acidic. Some of these factors are easy to check. You can tell by eye if the location is shady and if you weigh down the soil and water comes out, it is soggy. Try pushing a pencil into the soil: if it's difficult, it's too compacted. As for whether your soil is really acidic or poor, only a soil test will tell you.
A surface more than concerned : your roof
Beyond the aesthetic aspect, green deposits can represent a risk for your home. First and foremost: your roof. Their presence on your tiles or slates compromises the impermeability of your roof and makes it sensitive to frost, bad weather and infiltration. Your tiles become more and more porous, fragile and brittle. When the cold weather returns, the waterlogged tiles or slates crack and cause leaks. That's why it's important to remove green deposits from your home without delay. A well-maintained roof is stronger, more waterproof and more aesthetic. Regular de-mossing will extend the life of your roof and the health of your home.
When your terrace, driveway and paving stones become green
The terrace or balcony remains an important living space in a house. Used all year round, to share a meal, to play or simply to go to the garden, it must be perfectly safe. However, mosses make terraces and walkways slippery because they soak up water, preventing it from draining properly. Moss can also get lodged between the tiles and deteriorate them. Finally, beyond its appearance, it will give your outdoor surfaces a look that some consider unsightly due to its greenish color (tastes and colors :)).
Rather than resorting to chemical algaecides or fungicides, try mechanical solutions and natural products.
We have selected 4 common products that, when added together in warm water, will give very good results against the greening of your surfaces.
Citric acid : It is obviously found in lemons and other citrus fruits. To obtain a production in quantity and quality, researchers have developed an industrial process. The citric acid that we use every day comes from the action of a mold (Aspergilius Niger) on a sucrose base. It has an effective drying action on moss.
Baking soda : Already used in the time of the Egyptians, baking soda continues to amaze us every day. We have to admit that it offers countless possibilities for daily use! Combined with citric acid, it will complete the anti-foaming action. It is also effective alone on lichens by sprinkling directly on the targeted surfaces. Don't be surprised by the small effervescent chemical reaction when bicarbonate, citric acid and water are mixed. This is perfectly normal! This is an acid-base reaction between the 2 ingredients. The reaction of an acid with the bicarbonate of soda produces carbon dioxide, which is a gas and will therefore escape in the form of small bubbles, this is the effervescence! The other products of this reaction are water molecules and sodium citrate.
Citric acid and baking soda should be mixed with a vegetable oil (sunflower oil is chosen) and Tea tree essential oil.
The vegetable oil will have an asphyxiant effect. As for the Tea tree essential oil, its broad spectrum antifungal properties will increase the anti-foaming effect.
To facilitate the mixture, the trick is to make the preparation with warm water.
To make your own natural anti-foaming agent, 100% effective and inexpensive, nothing could be easier! Let's start with a 5 liter finished product. This will allow you to cover a nice surface already. You can multiply the proportions if you want to treat more. In a bucket (of warm water, that will facilitate the mixture), pour 300 grams of citric acid then 75 grams of bicarbonate of soda. To this, add 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. The final touch will be to add 7 drops of Tea Tree essential oil to the bucket. Mix together and then transfer either to a small 3 to 5 liter 500 ml sprayer (depending on the surfaces you wish to reach).
Spray directly on the surfaces concerned, making sure they are dry, this will work much better. This preparation will dry moss, lichen and fungus in an ecological and natural way in a few days. However, like any anti-foam product, granite, marble or terracotta can be discolored by the mixture. You are therefore warned!
Let the product work for at least 3 days. You will see that the moss on your roof, terrace, driveways etc. will fade. Finally, clean with a broom and rinse with a jet of water.
When to apply this mixture ?
The application of an anti-moss treatment can be done once or twice a year. In a country like France, the climate allows us not to need to plan more cleaning sessions (depending on the region). A significant comfort! Before you start, whatever the season, watch the weather and make sure you don't have 2 to 3 rainy days after your cleaning! This would eliminate the product and make your treatment completely obsolete! Ideally, find a weather window of 2 to 3 days without rain in front of you. Also avoid periods of high heat. The product will tend to evaporate too quickly and will inevitably be less effective.
Ideally, clean and apply your anti-foam product in the spring. This will allow you to see any damage and aggression caused during the winter so that you can repair any damage. In addition, surfaces treated in the spring will allow you to enjoy cleaner spaces in the summer, which is aesthetically pleasing.
In the fall
It makes the most sense to wait until the trees have lost all their leaves. This way, before applying a treatment, you can clean up all the accumulated debris such as dead leaves, lichens, mosses, fungi, molds, etc. You will prevent this green waste from settling and rotting on your surfaces, generating more moss before winter.
Beware of bleach
To get rid of green deposits, whether on a roof, a terrace or a wall, it is recommended to use a solution like the one mentioned above or a specifically adapted commercial product. But above all, avoid bleach or products containing it: although it has an immediate visual effect, bleach damages the supports and makes them more porous and discolored, accelerating the return of green deposits. You will therefore obtain the opposite effect of what you want. Bleach is a very aggressive product. As such, bleach is effective in removing moss. But not only that. Its chemical properties also result in the death of all other vegetation around it, from grass to plants. Bleach pollutes soils and subsoils as it is absorbed by the earth. Groundwater in the subsoil can be impacted.
Other anti-mousse tips
1. Use a natural, ready-to-use anti-foam product
We have a very effective one for you! The Bionetal green deposit express cleaner. Its concentrated formula allows to act on green deposits, lichens, algae and this on roofs, facades, walls, terraces, pavements, pool coping ... Certified organic by Ecocert, it contains no acid, bleach or chlorine.) It is effective from 1 hour after application. It is possible to recover rainwater from roofs. A real magic product and 100% natural. You can use it concentrated or diluted according to the degree of soiling and the time you are prepared to wait to eliminate all traces or deposits. It is available in 1 litre and 5 litre containers. To find out more about this defoamer, follow this link or click on the thumbnail below.
2. Removing moss manually
We often tend to forget that a good mechanical action is worth all the products. It just takes a little ... elbow grease! If the moss is thick and forms clumps, you should start with a mechanical cleaning. Remove the moss by scrubbing the floor vigorously with a broom or stiff brush, or scrape it off with a spatula, taking care not to damage the surface, especially if it is wooden. In some cases, the use of a knife will also help to remove the more difficult moss and lichen. Finish by sweeping the surface. In any case, the surface must be clean and dry before applying any anti-foam product. So this manual cleaning step is still essential.
3. The natural acidity of lemon
You may not have known it, but lemons are excellent for home maintenance, including outdoor areas. Its natural acidity, citric acid, removes moss without affecting the materials or the environment. Diluted with a little water, it can clean all types of surface: stone, wood, PVC, canvas, etc. Leave it to work for a few days, then rinse and brush. During the pause, the foam dries out and eventually disappears thanks to the lemon. You can also use citric acid directly to make it easier. Presented in powder form, the application is as simple as squeezing lemons on your terrace. Reserve the lemons for summer cocktails !
4. Baking soda, an effective solution against lichen
Baking soda is one of those products that could be called "miraculous". That's why it's part of the recipe we suggest above. Sometimes it can even be used alone to overcome greening. Pour hot water into a bucket and add baking soda at a rate of 2 tablespoons per litre of water. Apply to your terrace and leave for 30 minutes. Then scrub with a broom and rinse with water. This will remove the moss from your tiles.
5. Dishwashing liquid and black soap to fight moss
The method consists of soaking your broom in a bucket of water with a little washing-up liquid and black soap, and rubbing the surface. Repeat the process wherever necessary. Leave for half a day and then brush off the moss. Finally, rinse with warm water.
6. Cooking water, an original anti-foaming solution
Pasta, rice, potatoes ... The cooking water of these foods is rich in starch and is therefore a valuable anti-foaming agent. In addition, the heat of the cooking water increases the effect by scalding the food. If you are a regular consumer, imagine the square meters you will be able to treat in a totally ecological way! Pour hot water from cooking potatoes, rice or pasta over the green moss. The more starch in the water, the more effective it will be. This solution is extremely simple, quick and effective and can be used on a daily basis.
7. A few packing boxes or pieces of carpet
It's not the most aesthetic thing, but this method has proven itself: In the absence of light, the green areas will wilt in a few days. To do this, cover the mossy areas of the terrace or driveway with cardboard or carpet and secure them with several stones to prevent them from flying away. This method is obviously more complicated to use on a roof... although!
8. Salt to combat moss on the terrace
This can only be used to eliminate moss in paths away from the plants. Dilute coarse salt in water, spray the solution and rinse quickly. Another moss-fighting option: dig slightly at the root of the moss, fill the hole with coarse salt and rinse quickly.
9. Basil essential oil to get rid of lichen
Basil essential oil has weed-killing and fungicidal properties. Put a few drops in a bucket of water with liquid soap (black soap). Spray the solution on the moss and leave it to work. Brush it off. A good way to remove moss from driveways.
10. Use white vinegar to remove moss
Use it neat, sprayed directly on the root, or diluted by half with hot water. The result is even more effective in sunny weather. It is perfect for removing moss from patio tiles.
11. Waterproofing, a preventive solution against moss
Use a waterproofing product for outdoor floors, chosen according to the materials of your terrace (stone, wood, etc.). They protect against moss, but also against stains, acid rain and frost, and let natural materials breathe.