3 DIY Tips For Cleaning Out Your Gutters

Posted on: 24 May 2016

When it comes to caring for your home's exterior, cleaning out your gutters is probably one of the least popular chores. However, it has to be done. If your gutters aren't cleaned out regularly, they can become clogged. And clogged gutters can overflow, causing water damage to your home's exterior walls or your landscaping. Clogs that remain for too long can also lead to leaks, necessitating gutter repairs or replacements. Take a look at some simple and effective DIY tips for cleaning your home's gutters to avoid these problems. 

PVC Gutter Cleaner

One of the most difficult parts of cleaning your gutters is climbing up on the ladder to hose them out. Not only is this difficult, but it can be dangerous, especially if you don't have the right ladder or if you're working alone. However, a homemade PVC gutter cleaner can help you get the gutters clean while remaining safely on the ground.

Making the gutter cleaner is simple. You'll need a length of ½" PVC pipe with a U shape at the end. You can create the U shape with two 90-degree couplings and two 6″ lengths of PVC pipe. Once you have that in place, install a cap over the pipe on the short side of the U, using PVC primer and glue. Then you can use a drill to drill three holes in the cap. Then, on the long end of the U, you should install a threaded adapter. You will use the adapter to attach your hose to the PVC pipe. Then, all you have to do is turn on the faucet and raise the PVC pipe cleaner up to the gutters. The water coming from the holes in the cap on the short side of the U will spray into the gutter to clear out any debris.

Vinegar For Tough Debris

Sometimes, just blasting water into your gutters isn't enough. Debris can get stuck in your gutter for any number of reasons. Even if the debris isn't enough to clog your gutters, the leaves, twigs, and trash that find their way into your gutter can get stuck on debris that's already there and eventually lead to a clog. Making sure that your gutters are completely clean can help new debris flow through more smoothly, so it's in your best interest to get rid of any stuck-on rubbish.

You can do that by mixing a few cups of vinegar with a few gallons of water and pouring that mixture into the gutters. Let that soak for awhile, and then use the hose again. The vinegar solution should have loosened the remaining debris so that it dislodges easily.

Shine Your Gutters With Cream of Tartar

Once your gutters are cleaned out thoroughly, you may want to shine them up. If you like using homemade cleaning materials, your first thought may be to use baking soda, as it's a good nontoxic scrubbing cleanser for many areas of your home. However, it may not be the best choice for aluminum gutters; it can scratch the surface.

However, if you have cream of tartar in your pantry, you have a good cleaner handy already. Cream of tartar is also known as potassium bitartrate, which is what you might see it called when you find it in the ingredients list of various metal cleaners. As it turns out, cream of tartar is mildly acidic, which can help remove stains, and also mildly abrasive, which can help with general cleaning, but not so acidic or abrasive that it will damage the metal. That makes it a good choice for cleaning aluminum objects, like gutters. Just make a paste of cream of tartar and vinegar or lemon juice, apply it to the outside of the gutters with a cloth or soft scrub brush, and then rinse off the residue with water from your hose.

Cleaning your gutters yourself can leave you with a feeling of accomplishment. However, don't take unnecessary risks over it. If your cleaning job requires climbing a ladder and you're not confident that you can do so safely, hire a professional, like those at Allstate Gutter & Siding, to take care of the job instead.