We often spend a large amount of time cleaning and clearing out our gutters in the fall readying ourselves and our house for the incoming season of rain and snow. However, how often do we pay attention to cleaning the outside of gutters? A beautiful house is not just tidy inside but must look utterly clean from the outside as well. You may have a beautiful home that has beautiful landscaping, winding drive way and sprawling lush green lawns; however one unclean element will have your house standing out from the rest. Therefore, as much as cleaning the inside of your gutters matters, exteriors of your gutters must also be paid heed to.
Dirty, dingy and stained gutters are bound to drop the appeal of your house. Many times the water dripping of the edges of your gutters due to overflow and leaves stains and marks which are commonly called the Tiger stripes. Also, the moisture on the outer surface of your gutters leads mold to grow and thrive thus, blackening the whole surface and giving it a rather filthy look.
Fortunately, the grime and stains can be wiped off the gutter surface using specialized products such as paint thinner or a general purpose solvent. However, knowing the right products isn’t enough you must know how and where to use which product for best results. Here are a few listed techniques for efficiently cleaning the outside of your gutters.
Use Cleaning Agents
Clean your gutters using cleaning agents or solvents which are marketed and sold under the TSP-PF label. For those new with buying and using cleaner products, TSP-PF stands for Tri-sodium Phosphate- Phosphate free which implies that the product possesses the cleaning and degreasing qualities of the component, Tri-sodium Phosphate but does not cause the harmful effects of Phosphates.
Now to use this cleaning agent, in one cup of the TSP-PF add one quarter of Bleach with three quarters of hot water. After mixing well, apply the mixture on the outer-surface of the gutters with a soft-bristled brush or a rag and let it stay for around 10 minutes. Make sure to cover the vegetation around the house with a plastic sheet as it may damage the landscapes.
Most people wouldn’t know that many cleaning agents can be derived from home itself. One such brilliant cleaning agent is white vinegar or technically known as ‘Acetic Acid’ which can be easily found in any household. Before you begin, make sure to scoop out all the dried leaves and debris to free your gutters from any clogging material. Once your gutters are clear mix warm water and acetic acid and pour the mixture in your gutters after capping them and plugging the downspouts. Let the mixture sit the gutters for an hour before emptying the gutter stream. Then rinse the gutters thoroughly using a garden hose pipe. Scrub along excess dirt with a brush to remove any remaining grime.
One can also successfully employ liquid detergent to clean off your gutters and make them shiny new. This cleaning agent is especially used for vinyl gutters. Even for vinyl gutters, liquid detergent alone cannot be used to clean the gutters properly. For that mix half cup of household liquid detergent with half cup of bleach in two gallons of water. Use this solvent to scrub off the outer surface of your gutters with a stiff brush or a piece of cloth. Once the mixture is applied to the gutters let it stay for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with a garden hose and a nozzle sprayer.
Key tips to keep in mind:
Use warm water for rinsing off the dirt.
Wash and rinse as you go because if dirt and soap dry off together, they might stick to the surface making it even harder to clean off.
Assess your gutters carefully before deciding on the cleaning agent. If the dirt is super bad use stronger agents with TSP-PF.
Pre-spray the gutters to breakdown the dirt and clean off the dust before you go about the whole process.
Make sure you wear gloves and coveralls and an eye gear for protection from the fumes of the bleach and other harsh chemicals.
Follow these basic tips to clean off your gutters inside out as filthy gutters on your house look just as bad as a beautiful dress with a horrible stain. Happy cleaning!