Mildew can stain your aluminum gutters, detracting from the beauty of your property and reducing your home's curb appeal. This problem can be tough to remove with standard soapy water. To do a proper cleaning job on your gutters, you'll need the proper materials and elbow grease.
Distinguish Mildew from Dirt
Dirt is much easier to remove than mildew, but sometimes dirt and mildew can look alike. To ensure that the black streaks that you've identified on the gutters are indeed mildew, stand on a ladder and use a sponge to wipe down a dirty area of the gutters. Dirt will smear and come off easily with minimal effort while mildew will stay stubbornly in place. Once you've determined that the stains you see are mildew, move on to the next step.
Gather Your Materials
To clean your gutters, you'll need a scrub brush, a ladder, a hose with sprayer, a bucket filled with warm water, and a little bleach. There are two different types of bleach that you can buy: oxygen and chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach is commonly available in many households, but it's toxic for plants and thus can damage the landscaping in your yard. You can pick whichever type of bleach you want, but if you decide to use chlorine bleach, you'll need to protect your landscaping before you start to clean.
Protect Your Plants
If you do decide to use chlorine bleach, prepare the area by watering down the landscaping located around the perimeter of your home and then covering the plants with plastic tarps. This will prevent the plants from absorbing the bleach that drips down from the gutters.
Scrub, Scrub, Scrub
Once you're ready to clean your gutters, put a little bleach in the bucket of water and then stand on the ladder near your gutters. Use a scrub brush dipped in the warm water and bleach solution to scrub down your gutters. Once the mildew has been removed, spray down the aluminum to rinse the bleach. Repeat this process all the way around your gutters.
Prevent Mildew from Returning
Mildew grows best in moist, shady conditions. To prevent the mildew from returning, cut down any overhanging branches that could be shading the aluminum and dripping onto the gutters after storms. Clean out the inside of your gutters to remove clogs that could cause the gutters to overflow with water when it rains.
For more information and advice on the care and cleaning of your aluminum gutters, contact a gutter-repair service such as A-1 Seamless Gutters Inc in your area.