Pressure washers make outdoor cleaning easier, and gutters are no exception. The high-pressure stream, combined with a good detergent, cuts through stubborn stains and gunky buildup faster and with less effort than a trowel and scrub brush.
But there are some things you should know about how to pressure wash gutters. There are safety considerations and there’s even a little technique involved, as outlined in this step-by-step guide.
Why Clean Your Gutters?
Gutters collect debris, and if you don’t clean them regularly, water will overflow, defying the purpose of installing a gutter system. No homeowner likes to see their home’s foundation, siding, roof, and landscape get damaged by water after spending thousands of dollars on a gutter system.
How Often To Clean Gutters
Experts suggest cleaning gutters at least twice a year, during early spring and late fall.
During winter, plants, especially deciduous trees, shed their leaves because of low sunlight. There’s also a chance for small branches to fall off the trees and accumulate in your gutters during winter storms.
Cleaning your gutters when it’s freezing cold is next to impossible. So, the right time to remove the debris is during early spring, when the weather starts warming up. Spring is also the wettest season, so when you clean your gutters in early spring, you’re ensuring they can handle the upcoming rains.
Plants shed their leaves and flowers rapidly during fall. When you clean your gutters in late fall, you can remove the debris accumulated throughout the season and keep your gutters in good shape for the upcoming months.
Pro tip: If you install gutter guards, especially micro-mesh, cleaning your gutters once a year in late fall will suffice. Gutter guards minimize debris buildup, which, in turn, increases the life of your gutters by preventing pest infestations, mold growth, and rust.
Tools Needed to Pressure Wash Gutters
With the correct pressure washer and tools, you can clean your gutters in less than an hour. Here are the gutter cleaning tools that can make the job easier.
You can either purchase gas-powered or electric pressure washers. But we recommend gas-powered washers as they have more GPM, are cheaper, and last longer. You can choose pressure washers with 2.5 to 3 GPM for gutter cleaning.
GPM (Gallons Per Minute) refers to the water flow. If you opt for a pressure washer with 2.5 GPM, 2.5 gallons of water will flow out each minute. Most pressure washers with 2.5 GPM or higher will have at least 2,600 PSI, which is more than enough for cleaning gutters.
If your house is two stories or taller, we recommend using a telescoping wand to clean your gutters effectively. Most telescoping wands will adjust from 8 feet to 24 feet.
Never use ladders to pressure wash gutters because the water stream kicks back enough to throw you off balance.
Gutter Cleaning Wand
A telescoping wand is straight, so if you’re working from the ground you need a curved attachment to direct water into the gutter. Attaching a U-shaped gutter cleaning wand to the end of the telescoping wand will make it easier to clean the inside of your gutters.
Telescoping gutter wands are hard to find in local home improvement stores, but you can order them from Amazon.
Water alone removes debris from your gutters. But to remove the unsightly stains, you have to use a detergent. Some of the best gutter cleaners include:
- Krud Kutter
- Simple Green
- Gutter Butter
If you’re a DIYer and want a more eco-friendly gutter cleaning solution, here are your choices:
- White vinegar and water
- Liquid dish soap, baking soda, and water
Note: When using a detergent, cover the vegetation around the perimeter of your house to avoid any damage.
Why do you need safety gear, you might wonder. After all, you won’t be on a ladder, and you’ll be several feet or more from the business end of the high-pressure stream. Simple: that stream will blow dirt and debris everywhere, so you’ll want to cover your eyes and as much of your skin as possible.
Here is the safety gear you need.
- Safety glasses
- Protective clothing (fully covered clothing)
Step-By-Step Instructions to Pressure Wash Gutters
Step 1: Move Outdoor Furniture
Before cleaning your gutters, move any furniture, flower pots, or other items around the perimeter of your home to prevent debris from falling on those objects. It also ensures that you don’t trip over anything when cleaning. Remember, you’ll be looking up much of the time and may not see obstacles.
Step 2: Add the Attachments to the Pressure Washer
Attach the telescoping wand to the pressure washer hose. Adjust the length of the wand depending on the height of your home.
If power lines run above or along the edge of your house, be sure to avoid them with the wand.
Note: Use a green nozzle for gutter cleaning. Red and white are high-pressure nozzles, and they can damage your gutters, fascia, and soffit. They may also cause injury.
Step 3: Rinse Your Gutters With Water
Wear safety gear and rinse your gutters with water using the power washer. The water forces out large debris and removes clogs in downspouts.
Note: It may take a few minutes to get the hang of it. A high-pressure nozzle at the end of an extended wand creates a good bit of force, so you may want to practice controlling the wand and angling it to blow the dirt and debris where you want it.
Start cleaning from outside your gutters by spraying along the soffits. Next, attach the gutter cleaner attachment wand to the telescopic extension wand for cleaning inside your gutters.
Step 4: Apply Detergent
When the gunk and large debris is gone, apply detergent to loosen the grime and other hard-to-remove dirt. Use a black nozzle to spray detergent gently.
Step 5: Rinse Again
Wait 10 to 15 minutes for the detergent to work before rinsing. This final rinse should remove mildew, grime, and other debris from the gutters. If it doesn’t, repeat steps 4 and 5.
Step 6: Clean Up
You can generally rake up much of the debris that falls to the ground. For the smaller grit and dirt, just wash it gently into the soil. Use a green or white nozzle to clean around your home. The pressure washer can also blow dirt onto your siding, so you may have to rinse that off as well.
That’s it! Pressure washing gutters is as simple as that.
Bonus Tip: Inspect Your Gutters for Damages When Cleaning
While cleaning your gutters, make sure to inspect them for leaks. Gutter corners (miters) and seams are the most prone to leaks in a gutter system. In most cases, sealing the leaky joins with a silicone sealant will fix the leak.
If there’s a small hole in your gutters, you can fix it with an adhesive patch. If your gutters are loose, replacing the spikes will fix it.
Pressure washing gutters is relatively simple, but if you’re busy or don’t want to deal with the mess, you can hire a gutter cleaning pro for between $100 and $300, depending on where you live.
It depends on the size of your home and how much build-up your gutters contain. But, on average, it takes about an hour to pressure wash the gutters on a 2,000-square-foot home.
Renting a pressure washer can cost you about $60 a day, while a new 2.5 gallon per minute (GPM) pressure washer costs about $300. Gutter cleaning is a recurring job, so buying a pressure washer may be a better option.
The Final Word
A pressure washer can make gutter cleaning a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about falling from the ladder or getting your hands dirty. Remember to wear safety equipment and use the right nozzle for cleaning your gutters.
If you need help with gutter cleaning, contact the gutter experts at GutterGnome. They can also help you with gutter installation, repair, and everything related to gutters.