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.

Moss is opportunistic and grows where no competing plants live.

Step 1

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. 

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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. 

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Things You Will Need

  • Stiff broom or long-handled scrub brush
  • Pressure washer (optional)
  • Gloves
  • Bucket
  • Wheelbarrow (optional)
  • Pot or pan
  • Measuring cup (optional)
  • Rag (optional)


  • 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.

About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

Photo Credits

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