Gutters that are dirty and streaked on the outside detract from your home’s curb appeal. Over time, mineral buildup, algae and mold can pit, scratch or permanently streak the material gutters are made of. Removing exterior stains from your gutter system will also improve the longevity of your gutters.
Consider the Gutter Material
Gutters are made from a number of different materials including vinyl, aluminum and copper. Use the appropriate solution for your gutter system.
When cleaning exterior surfaces of gutter sections, be aware of any special cleaning instructions recommended by the manufacturer. If you’re not sure, test clean a section of gutter not easily viewed from the street.
For gutters that have been painted, be careful that the solution you use doesn’t remove the paint or make the colour bleed. Don’t scrub or clean painted gutter surfaces if there are chipped spots or worn areas.
Not All Stains are Created Equal
Some stains are harder to remove than others. While most stains and marks on gutters can be cleaned away with soapy water, removing stains left behind by mold will require a solution that includes bleach.
Tiger striping is probably the hardest type of stain to remove from the outside of gutters. Black streaks or tiger stripes are caused when particles of asphalt and tar from the roof chemically bond to the surface of the gutter. There are industrial strength solutions designed specifically to target black streaks. Use cautiously and as instructed.
Cleaning Gutter Surfaces
When using a ladder to remove exterior stains from your gutters, do so safely. If you plan on rinsing the gutters with a hose from the ladder, keep movements to a minimum and never pull the garden hose closer to you when standing on a rung.
Clean small sections at a time. Choose cloths and brushes with bristles that will be the least evasive.
Dampen the area with water first. Spray the solution or apply the cleaning gel on the stains. Let it sit on the surface of the gutter, but don’t let it dry – chemicals allowed to penetrate the finish might harm the gutters. Completely rinse away any soapy or chemical residue