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How to Clean Palm Thatch

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017
A palm thatch roof can last a decade or more.

Palm thatch is an exotic and surprisingly effective roofing option for tiki huts, pool-side bars and other tropical structures. But, unlike shingles, this natural building material needs to be cleaned before it is used as well as routinely once it's in place. Freshly harvested thatch should be cleaned of any lingering insects before it is used. New thatch roofs can leach a dark material which should be periodically cleaned away. Older thatch roofs can develop mildew over time. If properly cleaned and maintained, a new thatch roof can last up to 15 years.

Clean newly-harvested palm thatch of bugs and dirt by beating them against a wall. This will be enough to clean most palm fronds. However, if heavy infestation is suspected, spread the palm fronds out in a small, sealed room and release a smoke-based bug bomb.

Clean freshly applied palm thatch of leached sap by hosing it off. Repeat every time the sap builds up enough to run down to the ground.

Clean any visible mildew by spraying it with a mixture of one part bleach to three parts water on a sunny day. Once the affected area is thoroughly wet, just before the point of dripping, leave the bleach to dry.

Hose off the palm fronds. Check the palm thatch periodically for new build-up.


Things You Will Need

  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Bug bomb


  • Built-up mildew causes no harm to palm thatch roofs.

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.