Does Salt Kill Moss?


Moss can be an unwelcome guest in gardens, on driveways, and on patios, often indicating poor conditions such as excessive moisture, shade, and acidic soil. Managing moss is crucial for maintaining the aesthetic and health of these areas. Salt, specifically, is touted as an effective moss remover due to its desiccating properties. It absorbs moisture from moss cells, causing them to dehydrate and die. Although most moss species are vulnerable to salt, it’s worth noting that there are exceptions and that the application of salt should be carefully managed to prevent damage to surrounding vegetation.

While salt is a readily available solution for moss control, it’s essential to consider other home remedies and methods that can be equally effective. These solutions range from the mechanical removal of moss to the use of chemical treatments. However, mechanical methods can be labour-intensive, and chemical treatments may pose environmental concerns. Preventative measures are also pivotal to restrict moss growth, which include improving drainage, increasing sunlight, and regularly maintaining garden spaces. One should evaluate the methods based not only on their effectiveness but also on their long-term impact on the garden ecosystem and their safety for use around pets and children.

Things to consider:

  • Salt can effectively dehydrate and kill most moss species.
  • Alternative moss removal methods include mechanical and chemical treatments.
  • Preventative measures are important to limit the recurrence of moss.

Understanding Moss

Before you tackle moss, it’s vital to understand its unique characteristics and common habitats. This knowledge will provide a valuable foundation for dealing with moss effectively.

Moss Characteristics

Mosses are small, non-vascular plants that are part of the Bryophyta division. They lack true roots, leaves, and stems and instead possess structures that perform similar functions. Moss clings to surfaces and absorbs moisture and nutrients directly through its leaves. Here’s what you should note about its structure:

  • Leaves: Typically one cell thick, which allows for direct absorption of water and nutrients.
  • Rhizoids: Mosses anchor themselves with these root-like filaments, which are not true roots.
  • Spores: Moss reproduces via spores rather than seeds, which rely on moisture for dispersal.

Moss Habitats

Moss thrives in damp, shaded environments due to its reliance on moisture for reproduction and survival. Your encounter with moss is most likely in these areas:

  • Shaded Regions: Under the canopy of trees or on the north side of structures.
  • Moist Soil: Areas where the soil retains moisture, such as shady garden spots.
  • Rocks and Bark: Surfaces that provide a moist base for moss to cling to.
  • Water Features: Near ponds or streams where the humidity is higher.

Understanding that moss prefers environments with constant moisture and minimal light will help you in both controlling and preventing its spread. Keep an eye on these habitats to manage moss around your space.

Salt as a Moss Remover

Exploring the effectiveness of salt in moss removal is key if you’re looking to maintain your garden and patio spaces. Discover how you can apply salt to target unwanted moss, consider safety and concentration levels, and understand the environmental ramifications of such a method.

How Salt Affects Moss

Salt, when applied to moss, acts by dehydrating the plant and disrupting its internal water balance. This leads to the moss losing its vitality and eventually dying off. Essentially, salt creates an inhospitable environment that moss cannot thrive in.

Application Methods for Salt

To remove moss with salt:

  1. Dry Application:
    • Sprinkle salt directly onto the moss.
    • Preferable for small patches.
  2. Solution Application:
    • Dissolve salt in water.
    • Apply with a sprayer for even distribution.

Note: Salt application is suited for various surfaces including patios, but caution is required to avoid damage to surrounding vegetation.

Concentration and Safety

  • Optimal Mixture: A concentration of 20 percent salt to water ratio is generally effective.
  • Safety Measures: Wear gloves and goggles.
  • Application Caution: Apply only to the moss and avoid over-saturation, which can harm adjacent soil and plants.

Important: Always test on a small area first for surface and plant tolerance.

Environmental Impacts

Salt can affect the soil’s health and the local ecosystem. Consider these environmental factors:

  • Soil Health: Excessive salt may lead to soil salinisation, affecting its fertility.
  • Waterways: Prevent runoff into water systems to protect aquatic life.
  • Plants: Use targeted application to protect other garden plants.

Other Home Remedies

When considering the removal of moss from your garden, patios, or walls, various home remedies offer safe and effective alternatives. These solutions rely on household items like vinegar and baking soda, which may already be in your cupboard.

Vinegar Solution

For a straightforward vinegar solution, mix a proportionate amount of water with white vinegar. Ensure you have enough liquid to cover the mossy area. Using a spray bottle or a garden sprayer:

  1. Apply the solution to the moss.
  2. Leave it to absorb for around 10-15 minutes.
  3. Scrub or rake the area to remove the dead moss.

Safety tip: Be cautious with plants nearby, as vinegar can harm them.

Baking Soda Uses

Baking soda is another benign option to remove moss:

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the moss.
  • Wet the moss slightly if it’s dry to help the baking soda stick.
  • Allow time for the moss to brown and die, which could take a few days.

This method is gentle on the environment, making it suitable for gardens.

Natural Alternatives

Looking for something even more eco-friendly? Try these natural alternatives:

  • Boiling water: Pour directly onto the moss to kill it without chemicals.
  • Physical removal: Rake or scrub the moss away. This method involves labour but it’s completely non-toxic and effective.

Remember, regular maintenance can prevent moss regrowth, saving you time and effort in the long run. Keep areas well-lit, aerated, and trimmed.

Mechanical and Chemical Remedies

When addressing moss in various settings, you can opt for mechanical methods such as pressure washing or utilise chemical moss killers. Each approach has its own set of tools and techniques that effectively remove moss from surfaces like garden furniture and paving.

Pressure Washing

Utilising a pressure washer is a direct approach to remove moss, especially from hard surfaces. It’s crucial to operate the washer at an appropriate pressure to avoid damaging the material beneath the moss. Here’s how you can proceed:

  1. Prepare the area: Clear the surface of any objects and protective covers.
  2. Safety first: Wear protective clothing and eyewear to safeguard against debris.
  3. Methodical cleaning: Start from one end and methodically move to the other, ensuring consistent coverage.

Remember, pressure washing may not prevent moss from growing back; consider it for immediate clean-up.

Chemical Moss Killers

Chemical removers offer a less labour-intensive alternative to mechanical methods. Products containing potassium salts are effective in killing moss and usually safe for the surrounding flora and fauna. To apply these products:

  • Read labels: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and safety.
  • Apply evenly: Use a sprayer to cover the affected areas thoroughly.
  • Timing: Some products may require a settling time before rinsing, to maximise the moss-killing effect.

Make an informed decision by considering the environmental impact of the chemicals you choose.

Specialised Tools

For intricate areas or delicate surfaces, specialised mechanical tools and manual methods might be preferable:

  • Scrubbing brush: Arm yourself with a sturdy brush to scrub away moss from garden furniture and decking.
  • Mechanical weed removers: These tools are designed to target and remove moss without chemicals, ideal for eco-conscious gardeners.

In summary, choose your method based on the surface you’re dealing with and the environmental considerations of your chosen remedy. With the right approach, you can effectively manage moss in your outdoor spaces.

Preventing Moss Growth

Preventing moss growth in your garden or on your lawn requires a strategic approach. The key to success is to create conditions that discourage moss development by adjusting the cultural practices, setting up physical barriers, and committing to regular maintenance.

Cultural Practices

Cultivating good health for your garden and lawn is essential to keep moss at bay. Ensure your soil maintains a balanced pH; moss tends to thrive in acidic conditions. If necessary, apply lime to raise the pH level. Additionally, address drainage issues to reduce excess moisture, as standing water encourages moss growth. Aim for a soil composition that promotes good drainage while retaining enough moisture to keep your plants healthy.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be effective in preventing moss. Consider using landscaping fabric in garden beds to limit moss establishment. In areas where sunlight is scarce, introduce shade-tolerant plants that will compete with moss for resources. For paved surfaces, sealing them can prevent moss from gaining a foothold in cracks and crevices.

Regular Maintenance

A regimen of regular maintenance is critical for moss prevention. Aerate your lawn annually to alleviate soil compaction and promote grass root growth. Keep your lawn mowed at the recommended height to favour grass over moss; this also helps maintain a balance between shade and sunlight exposure on the soil. Remove fallen leaves promptly to prevent moisture retention and light blockage, which contribute to moss-friendly conditions.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

When using salt to kill moss, it’s essential to consider the safety of yourself, your plants and soil, as well as the broader environmental impact. Thoughtful application and disposal methods are crucial to prevent unintended harm.

Protective Measures

Ensure you’re wearing protective gloves and eye protection when handling and applying salt solutions, as direct skin or eye contact can cause irritation. Keep pets and children away from treated areas until the solution has been fully absorbed or washed away.

Environmental Awareness

Be mindful that excessive salt can adversely affect soil health by inhibiting water absorption and potentially harming beneficial microorganisms. This, in turn, can have a detrimental effect on your garden’s plants and grass. Yes, salt can effectively deal with moss; however, use it sparingly and only target the affected areas to minimise environmental impact.

Proper Disposal Methods

After treating moss with salt, avoid sweeping excess salt into the soil or waterways. Dispose of any unused salt solution according to local regulations, as improper disposal can lead to soil and water contamination.

By considering these factors and following these recommendations, you can ensure the safe and responsible use of salt in moss control.

Garden Aesthetics and Maintenance

Maintaining the visual and functional aspects of your garden often involves addressing moss growth, which can be both unsightly and potentially damaging to garden infrastructures, such as paths and patios.

Enhancing Visual Appeal

The presence of moss in your garden may detract from its overall appeal. Strategically removing moss can revive the natural beauty of your lawn and garden furniture. For a moss-free garden, consider:

  • Manual Removal: Use a scarifier or a stiff brush to remove moss.
  • Chemical Treatments: Products containing potassium salts are effective at killing moss without harming surrounding plants.
  • Home Remedies: Common salt, specifically low-sodium salt containing potassium, can be dissolved in water and applied to mossy areas.

Remember, when applying home remedies or chemicals, protect your garden furniture and ornaments from splashes that could cause damage or discolouration.

Functional Aspects of Garden

Moss can compromise the functional aspects of your garden, making surfaces slippery and blocking proper drainage.

  • Safe Paths: Regularly treat paths and drives with appropriate moss killers to maintain safe, non-slip surfaces.
  • Lawn Health: Moss in the lawn can be a sign of underlying issues such as poor drainage, compacted soil, or low pH. Treating moss should go hand-in-hand with lawn maintenance to promote grass health and prevent reappearance.
  • Tools for Maintenance: Equip yourself with a garden hose, sprayer, or watering can for even application of moss treatments on affected areas.

Final Thoughts

When tackling moss in your garden, salt can be an effective method to remove it. However, bear in mind that indiscriminate use may harm plant life and alter soil composition, hence it’s crucial to apply it judiciously.

Salt Types:

  • Table Salt: Readily available but use sparingly.
  • Sodium Percarbonate: A blend of hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate, effective for larger areas like driveways.

Application Tips:

  • Identify the mossy areas and apply salt directly, avoiding nearby plants.
  • For larger infestations, dilute salt in water to create a solution, which can then cover the affected surface more evenly.

Environmental Impact:

  • Use salt in moderation to prevent soil damage.
  • Consider the runoff implications and the potential harm to surrounding flora and fauna.

Garden Health:

  • Focus on moss removal without compromising on the health of your garden as a whole.
  • After moss removal, take steps to prevent its return, such as improving drainage, aeration, and ensuring the correct pH for your soil.

In using salt, your main goal is to address moss effectively while maintaining a balance that sustains the overall garden ecosystem.


When exploring the use of salt to eradicate moss, you may consult various sources to enhance your understanding. The resources listed below offer insights into the effectiveness of salt against moss and present alternative solutions for moss control.

Online Articles

  • Garden Gild: Offers an explanation of how salt can address the issue of unwanted moss, particularly on walls.
  • eHow UK: Discusses the specific types of salt that are effective in combating moss, highlighting liquid products with potassium salts.

Scientific Studies

While specific studies are not listed here, reputable horticultural research can provide empirical evidence on salt’s efficacy and its potential impact on other plants and the environment.

Home & Garden Expert Opinions

Experienced gardeners and lifestyle reporters often share practical tips. Phoebe Cornish, a lifestyle reporter, outlines diverse methods to control moss, catering to different garden types.

Product Information

  • Safer Brand: One of the liquid products on the market that contain potassium salts, which are designed to kill moss.

Remember to evaluate each source critically and consider the broader impact of using salt in your garden, such as potential damage to soil quality and surrounding vegetation. Use this knowledge to make informed decisions tailored to your garden’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs address common concerns and queries regarding the use of salt in moss control.

Can sodium chloride effectively remove moss from hard surfaces?

Yes, sodium chloride, more commonly known as table salt, can remove moss from hard surfaces. When applied, it dehydrates the moss, leading to its death.

Will a blend of vinegar and sodium chloride eradicate moss?

A combination of vinegar and sodium chloride can be used to kill moss. The acetic acid in vinegar damages the moss, while the salt assists in drying it out.

Is potassium salt efficient in exterminating moss?

Potassium salt, particularly potassium bicarbonate, is effective in killing moss without harming nearby plants or grass.

What natural remedies exist for the eradication of moss?

Natural remedies for moss include the application of baking soda, diluted vinegar, or simply manually removing the moss by raking and ensuring proper drainage.

Are baking soda solutions potent against moss?

Solutions containing baking soda can be effective against moss, as the bicarbonate reacts with the moss, inhibiting its growth and survival.

What substance can immediately eliminate moss?

While no substance can kill moss instantly, fast-acting solutions generally contain ferrous sulphate, which is found in many commercial moss killers.

About the author 


Hey there, I am founder and editor in chief here at Good Grow. I guess I've always known I was going to be a gardener. I'm on a mission to share my UK based weed control & lawn care tips with you all. If you have any queries please post in the comments below.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts

How to Clean and Remove Moss on Decking
Why Should I Remove Moss From a Roof & How?
How to Kill Moss and Algae on Fencing
Cleaning & Prevention of Moss on Flat Roofs
How to Clean and Kill Moss from Artificial Grass
How Does Moss Spread and Reproduce