Gutters can get easily covered in mildew.
With the rain running off your roof and a variety of temperatures that can cause mold to grow, expect that mildew is something you will have to deal with from time to time.
Luckily, for most homeowners, getting mildew off gutters is not an overly complicated process.
As long as you have the proper supplies and the steps necessary to complete this process, this is a project that should not take more than a few hours.
If you are dealing with a smaller house with very few gutters, you could potentially be done in less than an hour.
Therefore, if you are curious about how to clean mildew off gutters and you want the quickest and most efficient way to do it, keep reading.
How To Clean Mildew Off Gutters (Step-By-Step)
The gutters on your home are going to be unique to the home you have.
However, this list of supplies and steps has worked for us in the cleaning of most gutters.
One of the things that must be mentioned before we start this process is the fact that when cleaning mildew off gutters, you must ensure that you are considering your safety.
It is a bit dangerous in areas where you must be on a ladder, and you need to get the gutters clean, so taking the proper cautionary steps will ensure that you stay safe.
Here are the supplies and the step-by-step instructions for cleaning mildew off gutters.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
The first part of this process is to gather the necessary supplies to start cleaning the mildew off your gutters.
Having all of your supplies in one place and ready to go will help to ensure that this process is quick and easy.
One of the first things you will need to make sure you have is access to water.
It is best to have a garden hose nearby so that you can continue to fill water as you are working on your gutters.
In addition, you will need a scrub brush with a long handle, a ladder, and some bleach.
There will be mixed reviews about whether or not to use bleach on the gutters because of the plant life and material that is under the gutters.
However, if you really want to kill the mildew that sits on these gutters, you will need to use bleach.
Although some soap and water could help to get the mildew off, the bleach will be what takes things to the next level.
The bleach not only removes the mildew, but it also works to create a barrier that will keep it away.
Of course, you will also need a bucket, and for those who are sensitive to bleach, you may want to wear gloves as well.
Here is a recap of the things that you need to clean mildew off your gutters.
- Garden Hose
- Scrub Brush
- Long Handle for Scrub Brush
Step 2: Prepare Mixture
The next step is to prepare the mixture that you will use to remove the mildew from the gutters.
The mixture should contain one part bleach to three parts warm water.
You will be able to use this for the majority of gutter cleaning jobs.
For gutters that are really covered in mildew, you may need to do two rounds of this process, but it does not really make sense to increase the potency of your mixture.
In the end, you are better off working with safe amounts of bleach as opposed to trying to use a pure bleach solution.
Pure bleach is not necessary, and it is too harsh to everything that is around you.
Remember that when you are working with this bleach solution, you must make sure that you are wearing clothes that you are not all that fond of.
Any kind of a drip that comes down from the gutter could end up making your clothes turn a light color and get bleach stains on them.
The amount of mixture that you need will depend on the number of gutters you have around your home.
For most homeowners, the number of gutters that you have will not take more than about half of a five-gallon pail filled with the solution.
Keep in mind that you sometimes will need to empty this pail and refill it if the water gets too dirty, so you don’t need a very large batch.
Once you have the mixture prepared, you can move to the next steps.
Step 3: Rinse
Once you have your supplies ready and your mixture prepared, it is time to do the initial rinse of the gutters.
This first rinse is not going to take any of the mildew off but instead to remove a good bit of the debris on the gutters and get them ready for cleaning.
For the rinse, we would recommend using a hose and putting it on a setting that will actually work to spray some of the dirt off.
If you struggle with bird droppings destroying your gutters, you can use this rinse to help get some of that off before moving on.
The rinsing process also allows you to see what areas of your gutters may have stains and which are simply just going to need a light cleaning.
Almost immediately after rinsing, you should be able to see the major problem areas.
There is no need for the gutters to dry before moving to the next step in the process.
Simply move right along to the next steps as you finish rinsing.
Step 4: Protect Area Beneath
For those who have plantings under their gutters, you may need to put down a drop cloth or something to protect them.
The way that the water flows down from the gutters as they are being cleaned will sometimes cause the bleach solution to kill the plant life underneath.
You will not want the bleach to come into contact with your plants as they will likely not recover from this.
This step of protecting the area under the gutters really won’t matter if you have rocks or mulch that will not suffer any damage.
Step 5: Scrub Gutters
The next part of the process is to scrub the gutters with your brush.
The best way to do this is from the ground so that you don’t have to be on a ladder while trying to scrub.
A brush with a long handle is the perfect solution because, with a long handle brush, you can get enough pressure to scrub the mildew off without having to put yourself in any danger.
When you scrub, you will take some of the solution you mixed, put it on the brush, and then apply it to the gutters.
As you are scrubbing your gutters, you will move the brush back and forth over the areas that need to be cleaned.
Then you can take the brush and continue to drop it in the bucket and then put it back on the gutters.
You want to make sure that you are continually applying the bleach solution to the gutters so that it can start to break down the mold and mildew.
Although your scrubbing will help, the thing that really starts to get rid of mildew is the bleach solution.
The more of it that you can get on the gutters, the better the chance you have of it doing a great job of cleaning it off.
Some people find that before they start rinsing the gutters, a little bleach solution in a spray bottle can be a helpful pre-rinse step.
This pre-rinse will give the bleach solution some time to start breaking down the mold and mildew on the gutters.
Try to determine how bad your gutters are, and then you can figure out how many steps of this process you will have in front of you.
Step 6: Gutter Cleaning Pressure
When cleaning your gutters, make sure that you apply a good amount of pressure to break down the mildew.
However, there is really no need to completely push on the gutters as you can do quite a bit of damage.
If you are leaning into the gutters and pushing on them, they can come off the house or even get knocked off the track a bit.
If this happens, you will be stuck trying to fix this and then having someone come in to handle the process for you.
Essentially, you have to think about using bleach as a way to break down the mildew.
Don’t try to manually break down by scrubbing with great force, as it will likely not leave you with great gutter conditions when you are finished.
Step 7: Rinse
Once you have scrubbed your gutters, it is time for the final rinse.
In some areas, you may still see some dirt or stains, but sometimes this just takes a little rinse, and it can clear itself.
The final rinse will tell you if this is a process that you need to repeat or if this is something that you can be finished with.
Most homeowners are going to need to go through this process about twice per year.
Sometimes in the spring, you can do it as all the new life starts to grow.
At the end of the summer, before entering into the fall and winter season, you can do it again to see if there is any impact.
Safety Tips For Cleaning Gutters
For many homeowners, the gutter cleaning process can be completed from the ground.
This is a great benefit as it helps to ensure that you are standing on the ground and not on the ladder when doing the work.
Of course, there are some areas of the house where the gutters may be higher and require you to stand on a ladder.
The most important thing to be careful of is that your ladder is stable and that you have an extra set of hands to help you.
Try to have someone hold the ladder in place while you are scrubbing.
Sometimes you will become preoccupied with a stain or issue on the gutter and forget that you are several feet off the ground.
When doing any of the work with the hose, try and stand on the ground and spray up.
Most hoses will have enough water pressure to help spray off the dirt and animal residue without you having to stand on a ladder.
Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable with this process in any way, you can always hire someone to work on your gutters for you.
Most of the time, a landscaping company or even a roofing contractor or power washer can come to your home and help with this process of getting the gutters cleaned.
How Often Do Gutters Need To Be Cleaned?
How often you clean your gutters will often depend on the pitch of your roof and the surrounding area.
In addition, the weather and climate can also come into play.
When you live in an area with a lot of tree coverage, you will have to worry about gutters that jam up rather quickly.
The gutters will become filled with debris, and they are going to need to be cleaned quite often.
In situations like this, people often get gutter guards so that they don’t need to continually pull debris out of the gutters throughout the year.
However, even with gutter guards in place, there is a chance that you can still have trouble with the mildew stains.
We recommend treating your gutters for mildew and scrubbing them two times per year.
Doing it in the spring and then again at the end of the summer is a great idea.
This ensures that the mold is kept away during the times of the year when your gutters need to be used the most.
Some areas of a home where there is a lot of shade and the sun cannot dry the gutters will experience higher levels of moisture and mildew.
Keep this in mind when you are looking at areas that may need that occasional treatment of a bit of bleach spray.
You may not need to use it on your entire home throughout the year, but simply taking care of a few spots will be the most effective way of keeping your gutters mildew-free.
Can Gutter Guards Help With Mildew Stains?
Chances are you will still get some mildew stains even if you have gutter guards.
However, certain gutter guards on the market will try and redirect water so that it does not continually hit the same spot on the gutter over and over again.
When water runs down the same spot, it often creates mildew in that area.
If you can avoid hitting this area repeatedly with the water flowing down the roof, you may get fewer mildew stains.
Some gutter guards are pre-treated with solutions that will help to ensure they do not spread mildew across your gutters, and if you are smart about periodically cleaning your gutters, you will have fewer issues with mildew as well.
One of the best tips that we offer homeowners is to keep a bleach solution around for a good portion of the year, especially in the spring and summer.
In areas of the home where you often see mold or mildew starting, take a few quick sprays to stay on top of it.
You can use this mixture around decks and pool areas and also on the gutters.
The preventative measures you take will end up saving you a lot of time and effort when it comes to the biannual gutter cleaning process.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you can clean your gutters with ease.
This gutter cleaning process of removing mildew does not need to be difficult.
In fact, you will quickly learn the power of bleach and how it can be one of the most effective home improvement solutions on the market.
Always ensure that you protect any vegetation under your gutters and make sure that you follow proper safety precautions when working on your gutters.
If you do these things, this will likely be a very successful project for you.
Looking back, you will probably wonder why you didn’t get your gutters looking great months ago!