How to Clean the Gutter & Sidewalls with a Pressure Washer

Updated 5/3/2023
Imagine standing in your backyard, admiring your freshly cleaned gutters and sidewalls, gleaming in the sunlight. How did you get here?

By following a comprehensive guide on how to clean gutters with a pressure washer, of course!

Pressure washing gutters and sidings can be daunting, but with the right tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to showing off your sparkling-clean home exterior.

So, grab your pressure washer, and let’s get started!

Preparing for Pressure Washing

No matter which type of pressure washer you choose, it’s important to prepare the area before you start cleaning. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Clear the area.

Move any outdoor furniture, grills, and other items away from the gutters and sidewalls.

Protect nearby plants.

Cover your nearby plants and trees with plastic sheeting or tarps to shield them from the high-pressure water spray and any cleaning agents you might use.

Don’t forget to cover any electrical outlets or fixtures to prevent water damage and potential electrical hazards.

Wear protective gear.

Gear up for the task by donning appropriate protective clothing, such as goggles to shield your eyes from debris, sturdy gloves to protect your hands, and closed-toe shoes to keep your feet safe.

Now that you’ve prepared the area, you’re almost ready to pressure wash your gutters and sidewalls.

But first, let’s talk about setting the pressure and spray pattern for optimal cleaning results.

Setting the Pressure and Spray Pattern

The key to a successful pressure washing experience is finding the perfect balance of pressure and spray patterns.

Too much pressure can damage your gutters and sidewalls, while too little won’t do the job.

To find the sweet spot, follow these steps:

  1. Test the pressure and spray pattern on an unimportant surface. This will help you gauge the effectiveness of your settings without risking damage to more visible parts of your home.
  2. Choose a nozzle with a wider spray angle to minimize the risk of damage. A 25-degree nozzle is a good starting point, as it provides a broad enough spray to cover large areas without posing too much risk to your surfaces. You can always switch to a narrower nozzle if needed.
  3. Adjust the pressure and nozzle as needed based on your results. If the pressure is too high, you can switch to a wider nozzle or turn down the pressure on your pressure washer. Conversely, if the pressure is too low, you can opt for a narrower nozzle or increase the pressure.

Cleaning Gutters and Sidewalls

You’re ready to tackle gutters and sidewalls with your pressure washer and the perfect settings. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the best results:

  1. Stand at an appropriate distance from the surface. Most pressure washers mean standing about 3-4 feet away from the gutters or sidewalls. Adjust your distance as needed based on your pressure settings and nozzle choice.
  2. Hold the pressure washer wand at a 45-degree angle to the surface. This will help avoid etching or gouging the surface while providing effective cleaning power.
  3. Use smooth, overlapping strokes to clean the surface. This ensures you cover the entire area without leaving streaks or missed spots.
  4. For gutters, start at the downspout and work your way outward. This allows debris and water to flow freely through the gutter system as you clean.
  5. When cleaning sidewalls, start at the top and work your way down. This prevents dirty water from running down onto areas you’ve already cleaned.

With patience and diligence, you’ll soon have sparkling clean gutters and sidewalls that will make your home the envy of the neighborhood!

Gutter Washing Tips

For gutters, use a 25-degree nozzle and set the pressure between 1200 to 2000 PSI to avoid causing damage.

Start at the top of the gutter and move the nozzle down to remove the debris effectively.

Siding Washing Tips

For sidings, use a 15-degree nozzle and set the pressure between 1500 to 2500 PSI, depending on the material.

Avoid spraying water at an angle, as it can force water behind the siding and cause damage. Instead, hold the nozzle perpendicular to the siding and work from the bottom up.

Rinse the siding thoroughly with water to remove any remaining dirt or cleaning solution.

Common challenges when pressure washing gutters and sidings include:

  • Clogged gutters
  • Stubborn stains
  • Hard-to-reach areas.

To clean clogged gutters, use a gutter cleaning attachment or a pressure washer extension wand to reach the debris.

For stubborn stains, use a cleaning solution or detergent before pressure washing.

For hard-to-reach areas, use a ladder or an elevated surface to access them safely.

Eco-Friendly and Safer Cleaning Options

Although traditional cleaning agents such as TSP can be effective, there are eco-friendly and safer alternatives that you can use with your pressure washer.

Some popular options include:

  • Vinegar: Mix equal parts water and white vinegar for a simple yet effective cleaning solution. This can be especially helpful for removing mildew and mold.
  • Baking soda: Combine 1/2 cup of baking soda with a gallon of water for a gentle yet powerful cleaning agent. Baking soda is great for removing dirt and grime without damaging surfaces.
  • Citrus-based cleaners: Look for all-natural, biodegradable citrus-based cleaners at your local home improvement store. These environmentally friendly cleaners pack a punch when removing stubborn stains and grime.

Post-Cleaning Maintenance

Once your gutters and sidewalls are clean, it’s important to take some steps to maintain their cleanliness and prevent future issues.

Here are some tips for post-cleaning maintenance:

  • Rinse the area with clean water to remove any remaining debris or cleaning agents. This will prevent residue buildup and keep your surfaces looking fresh.
  • Inspect your gutters and sidewalls for any damage or necessary repairs. Pressure washing can sometimes reveal underlying issues, such as loose or cracked siding, that must be addressed.
  • Schedule regular gutter and sidewall cleanings to keep your home in tip-top shape. Staying on top of maintenance will prevent problems from escalating and save you time and effort in the long run.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What do you spray on gutters before pressure washing?

Before pressure washing gutters, spraying anything on them is unnecessary. However, if there is heavy buildup or stains, some people use a cleaning solution or eco-friendly cleaner in conjunction with the pressure washer to achieve optimal results.

How do you clean the sides of gutters?

To clean the sides of gutters, you can use a pressure washer with an appropriate nozzle and spray pattern. Stand at the appropriate distance from the surface and use smooth, overlapping strokes while holding the pressure washer wand at a 45-degree angle to avoid etching or gouging the surface.

What pressure washer tip for cleaning siding?

For cleaning siding, it is recommended to use a pressure washer tip with a wider spray angle to minimize the risk of damage. A 25-degree or 40-degree nozzle is typically best for this task.

What do you spray on siding before pressure washing?

To ensure the best results when pressure washing siding, it’s important to test the surface for compatibility with cleaning agents beforehand. If using a cleaning solution, it should be applied to the siding with a low-pressure sprayer and left to set for a few minutes before rinsing with a pressure washer. However, some types of siding may not need any cleaning solution and can be efficiently cleaned with water pressure alone.

Do you need soap to pressure wash siding?

Not necessarily. While some types of siding may benefit from using a cleaning solution, others can be effectively cleaned with just water pressure.

Wrapping it Up

Congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated the world of pressure washing gutters and sidings and are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to maintain a beautiful home exterior.

By following these sidewall cleaning tips and best practices for pressure-washing gutters, you’ll improve your home’s appearance and protect it from potential damage.

So, go forth and put your newfound pressure-washing prowess to work – your home will thank you for it!

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