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How to Clean the Outside of Gutters (without a ladder!)

Do your gutters have black streaks and grime? Learn how to clean the outside of gutters without getting on a ladder with this tutorial!

How to clean outside of gutters

Our rainy season came hard and fast last fall, and our gutters were overflowing in no time. Even when the leaves were cleaned out and water was flowing smoothly again, they still spilled over from time to time during sudden downpours.

dirty gutters on back of house

By spring, our gutters looked like they had tiger stripes! The grime and muck had spilled over the front edge, then baked on when the sun came out again.

dirty white gutters on back of a house

Just spraying the gutters with a hose did nothing, and I was hesitant to use the power washer since it might force water under the roof shingles. My trick for cleaning aluminum siding wouldn't work because the chemical sprayer wouldn't reach that high (and it would just come back in my face!)

Luckily, I found an easy way to clean outside of gutters without getting on a ladder! It only took about half an hour to get the entire back half of our house sparkling clean. Here's how I did it!

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Materials Needed to Clean Outside of Gutters

How to Remove Black Streaks from Gutters

Prepare the surrounding area

Before you start, I recommend covering any outdoor cushions or pillows with a tarp to protect them from the spray. This stuff does contain bleach, and will ruin the colors of fabrics nearby (including your clothes!)

While the manufacturer says this cleaner doesn't harm plants, you should give them a quick rinse with the hose to dilute any chemicals that might settle on the leaves.

Attach the cleaner bottle to the hose

The hose attachment on the bottle of 30 Second Cleaner screws onto the end of a garden hose easily. Just make sure the water and the arrow on the bottle are both turned to off! (And yes, our deck is a mess too. I'm working my way down there, and I'll be using this same deck cleaner as before to get the job finished quickly!)

30 seconds Outdoor Cleaner on hose to clean outside of gutters

Pull the hose to the furthest end of the gutters with enough slack so that you can lift the bottle over your head comfortably. Then turn the water to the hose on, but not at full power! You'll run out of cleaning solution really quickly if the water is on full blast.

Adjust the red tip depending on the height of the gutters

I can almost touch the gutters on the back of our house while standing on the deck, so I left the red fan tip in place. But if you need more power to reach those second story gutters, take out the red piece on the nozzle for a stronger spray!

Spray the gutters

Put on your safety glasses and don rubber gloves if your skin is particularly sensitive to cleaners. On a windy day, some of the spray might fly back into your face and you don't want this stuff in your eyes!

Turn the nozzle on the bottle to CLEAN. This will start the flow of the water/cleaner mix, so make sure it's not pointed at you! 🙂 Spray your dry gutters with the solution until they're dripping.

spraying cleaner on outside of gutters

I could instantly see the dirt and grime literally melting off the gutters! Work in small sections so it doesn't dry out. Turn the nozzle back to off in between sections so you don't waste the cleaning solution.

Scrub the gutters with a long handle brush

If your gutters aren't too dirty, you can probably skip this step and go straight on to the rinsing part. But ours were really bad and needed a bit of elbow grease to scrub off the heavy buildup.

Use a soft-bristled scrub brush with a pole attachment to gently remove the gunk from the outside of the gutters. You can get these poles in different lengths to reach even the highest spots of the house!

scrubbing outside of gutters

Don't forget the underside of the gutters as well! Drips collect along the bottom edge and leave gunk and mineral deposits behind.

using scrub brush on a pole to clean outside of gutters

Rinse the gutters and siding

Once you've worked all the dirt free of the gutters, it's time to rinse. Turn the nozzle to RINSE and give them a thorough shower. All the grime should flow right off!

rinsing outside of gutters after cleaning

If there are stubborn spots that won't go away, you may need to repeat the process. But ours were looking great after just one round! Just look at the difference between these two sections!

clean outside of gutters before and after

Make sure to rinse the cleaning solution off the house siding and windows as well. I noticed a white film and drip marks on our red siding after I completed the first few sections because I didn't rinse it off well enough. If this happens, just repeat the cleaning process on the siding!

streaks and haze on siding from gutter cleaner

Now that I've cleaned the outside of the gutters, I can focus on painting the fascia underneath. I've been putting off that task for years, but it's time to get it done!

How to clean outside of gutters without getting on a ladder