What Products Should You Choose to Clean your Rain Gutters?

June 02, 2017

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Rain gutter cleaning detergent
Rain gutter cleaning can be a pain sometimes, but there is no doubt that it is a necessity considering all the mishaps that clogged and dirty gutters can cause once the rainy season is in full swing. Clogged gutters will let rainwater cascade all over your foundation, causing structural damages that will diminish your property's durability and make the repair bills stack up. Keeping your rain gutters clean and cleared allows for rainwater to flow freely into the channels and downspouts and be redirected far away from where it can cause costly damages.

Well, suppose you have already decided to tackle this activity. You clear your Sunday schedule, go to the hardware store to pick up the most effective equipment, and then you go to the cleaning products' aisle. You are struck with an immense variety of detergents to choose from to make your gutters look sparkling clean. Which should you choose? And what happens if you pick the wrong detergent and completely ruin your vinyl gutters or aid the rust on your metal gutters?

These are the questions a responsible homeowner must think of when purchasing products to take care of important home features. If you were involved in the installation of your current rain gutters, then your licensed contractor must have mentioned the type of material your gutters are made of. Labels always want to convince you they are selling you an all-around cleaner, but know that these types of cleaners are more effective on some materials and deteriorate others. This is something to consider if you are keen on protecting your investment and making your gutters last the 20 plus years most varieties are supposed to.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters are fairly common thanks to their price and their ubiquitous presence in most hardware stores. They usually come in various parts you can assemble, and cleaning them shouldn't be a particularly difficult ordeal.

Most common detergents can be used on vinyl gutters, but you should be wary of using harsh cleaners containing organic solvents like methylethylketone (MEK), acetone, benzene, aromatics like xylenes/toluene, petroleum ethers and other distillates, as these are capable of altering the structural integrity of vinyl, making it weaker and discoloring it.

Steel metal rain gutter cleaning Stainless Steel Gutters

High-end materials justify their price every time. Stainless steel gutters have stellar endurance, as they can resist collisions with ladders and tree branches, plus they don't rust. In fact, they can last 50 plus years with mild maintenance.

Stainless steel is quite easy to clean. Most of the time water will do the job, but if you wish to sanitize them you can use a mild detergent. Just avoid abrasives and chlorine-based bleachers, as this will destroy the oxide layer on stainless steel.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum is one of the best materials for gutters, as it is comparatively cheap, lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust. Cleaning it is even easier, especially if you get aluminum seamless gutters.

Aluminum has no problem with the use of most cleaners on the market as it is almost impervious to rust, so your run-of-the-mill mild detergent will be all you need to keep your gutters impeccable. However, keep in mind that aluminum is quite malleable and can be scratched by very harsh abrasives. Scratched aluminum is more complicated to clean due to residue depositing itself in the scratches. Use nylon abrasives instead for better results.

Galvanized Steel Gutters

Galvanized steel gutters are the sturdier counterpart of aluminum gutters. They are usually one of the preferred types for commercial gutters because of their general durability and low maintenance needs.

Galvanized steel has a reputation of being resistant to rust, but you must be careful about the cleaning products you use on them for this to remain true. After all, galvanized steel is just steel covered with a layer of zinc, and it is the latter that creates the resistance to oxidization. Closeness to salt or the use of salt water, coupled with the indiscriminate use of abrasives, can peel this protective layer off, leaving the steel vulnerable to the elements.

Stick to mild detergents and try to forgo abrasives as much as you can with these types of gutters.

Copper Gutters

The most expensive type of gutters, though definitely worth the investment as they greatly increase the value of your property, are copper. Another good thing about copper gutters is that they are as resilient as stainless-steel ones, and can last for an extremely long time.

Rain gutter cleaning copper gutter Copper needs proper care to look its best. Even though it doesn't rust, it will develop a greenish patina over time—a look many homeowners want. To clean copper gutters you can use mild acidic cleaners or natural options like vinegar (acetic acid) or lemon juice to restore copper's warm gleam.

As with stainless steel, forgo abrasives and be gentle with your copper gutters.

If despite all of this information, you still feel at a loss, it's okay. Rain gutter cleaning can be an overwhelming task to tackle and it is also quite risky. That is why many savvy homeowners prefer to hire a licensed contractor to clean their gutters. Professionals have all the utensils and products already sorted out to obtain the best results. In the long run, you will save time and money letting experts handle your rain gutter cleaning.

It doesn't matter what kind of gutter you have installed for your home or business, if they are dingy, we at Rain Gutters Solution can clear and clean them up for you in no time. Call us at (305) 270-7779 or fill out our contact form to get a quote. Also, consider subscribing to our newsletter to be privy to our best deals, and follow us on Facebook at Rain Gutters Solution, Twitter @RainGuttersSolution and Instagram @GuttersSolution to get more useful information on all things rain gutters.

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