How to Clean Copper Gutters (Simple and Effective Methods)


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Copper gutters are uniques and beautiful.

However, if you don’t take care of them properly, their aesthetic value will quickly diminish.

How to Clean Copper Gutters tips
How to clean copper gutters

One of the ways you can keep them looking amazing is by cleaning them.

However, you need to use a unique solution or paste to clean such gutters.

The Process of Cleaning Copper Gutters

To make a copper cleaning paste, combine 4 cups of flour, 4 cups of salt, and 4 cups of vinegar in a plastic bucket. This combination works incredibly well and will have your gutters sparkling clean.

Another crucial maintenance tip is preventing oxidation which turns copper gutters green.

Cleaning copper gutters step by step guide
Tips for cleaning copper gutters

Copper will react with oxygen if left unprotected in an open atmosphere.

Other catalysts include:

  • temperature
  • level of pollution
  • and moisture

Once oxidation occurs, the copper will corrode and develop a dull tan tarnish on its outer layer over time.

After a series of chemical reactions, the copper will develop a pale green outer coating known as patina.

The good news is that you can remove the existing tarnish with a copper cleaning solution.

Apply a UV/Anti-Oxidant Coating to the surface. If the damage is extreme, install only the best premium copper gutter system available in your area.

Copper Gutter Cleaning Steps

What You Need

  • Use a sturdy ladder. (Remember to rest it against the roof rather than the copper gutters.)
  • Plastic bucket (copper is corrosive when other metals come into contact with it, so plastic tools are recommended).
  • Bucket hook to keep the bucket close at hand.
  • Garden trowel made of plastic.
  • Gloves for gardening.
  • Garden hose and jet setting nozzle.
  • Cotton gloves, cleaning paste, a soft-bristled brush, and soft rags are optional polishing materials.
  • Trash can.

Step1: Cleaning the Debris

Before you begin working, put on gloves.

Grab your trowel and insert it into the gutter at the far left edge, tip pointing to the right.

Gloves for gardening for thorns
Protective gardening gloves for thorns

Push it down at a 45-degree angle, taking care not to nick the gutter’s bottom.

Scoop out the leaves and debris with this leverage. If you keep hitting the bottom of the gutter, lift the debris out with your hands.

Keep In Mind: Do not apply too much pressure as this can cause damage to the connections and joints.

Step 2: Choose Your Ladder

When cleaning copper gutters, it is critical to take precautions.

Use a sturdy extension ladder with stabilizer arms that extend 6 inches beyond the height of your copper gutters.

These arms are available separately and can be attached to standard extension ladders.

Step 3: Set Your Ladder

Place your ladder on a stable surface.

If the area around your property is soft or landscaped, place plywood beneath the ladder’s feet to provide stability.

Place the ladder where the gutters are nailed to the building because the ladder will be most stable at this point.

Take care not to dent the gutter’s delicate metal. Climb on it and get to where you want to work.

You should be able to lean to the right and left without losing your balance.

Heads Up! It’s best to have a helper on the ground who can hand you the tools and help stabilize the ladder.

Step 4: Work In Sections

Before moving on to the next section of the gutter, you must complete several cleaning steps.

When you’re finished cleaning one section of gutters, move the ladder to the next section to continue scooping out debris.

Place a trowel full of muck in the trash can. Repeat until all of the large debris has been removed from your copper gutters.

Step 5: Flushing

Flushing copper gutters tips
Flushing copper gutters

Position your ladder in front of the farthest end of the gutter from the downspout and grab your garden hose attached to the sprayer nozzle.

Insert the hose nozzle into the gutter and point it toward the downspout. This should get rid of any grime that’s remaining.

Then, turn off the hose and wipe the gutters with a wet rag or cloth.

This will assist you in adequately removing the stains and dust buildup on the gutters. Perform this step before applying copper gutter cleaner.

Step 6: Cleaning

In a plastic bucket, combine 4 cups of flour, 4 cups of salt, and 4 cups of vinegar.

To make a copper cleaning paste, thoroughly stir all ingredients with a plastic spoon.

How to make copper gutter cleaning paste tips
How to make copper gutter cleaning paste

Climb the ladder.

Dip your soft-bristled scrub brush into the paste, and coat it about a half-inch deep. In a circular motion, rub it on any tarnished areas or those needing extra shine.

Use caution when cleaning around joints with the brush. You risk damaging your gutters if you use too much pressure with the brush. Also, remember to clean the downspout.

Other eco-friendly copper gutter cleaning gels are available at your local home and garden store if this cleaner does not get the job done.

Step 7: Wipe

After scrubbing, remove the cleaner from the gutters.

Fill a medium-sized bucket halfway with hot water and grab an old cloth to rub the copper gutters.

This will aid in loosening any remaining debris on the surface of the gutters, resulting in spotless gutters.

Rinse the copper gutters with a garden hose to remove any dirt residue or remaining cleaner

Step 8: Cover Your Gutters with an Anti-oxidant Coating

Once your copper gutters are clean and gleaming, you must take precautions to avoid future oxidation.

To Do This – You will have to apply an anti-oxidant coating to your entire gutter system.

In addition to anti-oxidant properties, the coating should include a UV protectant, not to prevent the patina but to keep the coating from browning your copper gutters.

Avoid using a lacquer coating, which will fade in the sun.

Copper Gutter Cleaning Methods

Copper gutters and downspouts can be cleaned in a variety of ways.

However, a professional gutter cleaning service will use the least invasive method for the job.

Gutter Cleaning By Hand

This is the most common method used by most people since it does not require any specialized skills or equipment.

Gutter Cleaning By Hand guide
Copper gutter cleaning by hand

The only things you will need are:

  • a bucket
  • ladder
  • garden trowel
  • and heavy-duty garden gloves

The most challenging aspect of this method is that it will be highly labor-intensive.

You’ll have to go up and down your ladder several times, and you’ll have to empty the bucket regularly.

Remove the leaves and debris and place them in the trash can.

Finally, flush the copper gutters and downspouts with water to ensure they work correctly.

Leaf Blower

Many leaf blowers come with a nozzle attachment that creates a powerful air stream, which is ideal for blasting twigs and leaves out of gutters.

They are also very easy to use.

Just position your ladder appropriatly to allow you to move from one end of the gutter to the other, blowing out any obstacles along the way.

To prevent leaves from blowing into the downspout, you also need to cover your downspouts with an old towel or a rag. Finally, use a hose to remove any remaining leaves or twigs.

From Experience: This method works well when the debris in the gutter is dry.

Using a Power Washer

bosch universal aquatak 135 pressure washer

A power washer cleans and removes debris by using a high-powered stream of water.

If you put this stream of water into your gutter, it can remove almost anything in its path.

This is the best option for unclogging clogged gutters and downspouts.

Insert the nozzle into the hole and rinse the shaft until water runs freely through it.

Rinse the roof and exterior walls afterward.

Power Scrubbing Method 

You can also purchase a rotary gutter cleaning tool that connects to a power drill and garden hose.

Here is the process:

  • To operate the rotary scrubber connect the pole to a power drill
  • Insert the scrubber into the gutter farthest away from the downspout.
  • Start the drill and move the rotary scrubber slowly along the channel.
  • Remove the power drill and connect the hose after scrubbing the entire gutter.
  • Turn on the water and spray the gutter to remove any remaining grime.

Using a Garden Hose to Clean Copper Gutter

This is another simple method you can use:

  • You need to get a garden hose sprayer attachment for gutter cleaning.
  • Connect the attachment’s pole to the hose.
  • Turn on the water and insert the attachment away from the downspout.
  • Use the trigger on the attachment to activate the spray as needed.
  • Blast debris out of the gutter and toward the downspout until the gutter is clear.

Final Thoughts

Copper gutters are durable and very beautiful.

However, if not appropriately maintained, they lose their glossy look.

Therefore, always clean the dirt and debris out of the troughs at least once every spring and fall. 

Numerous gutter cleaning methods are available, many of which are not listed above.

The method you go for should be influenced by the condition of your gutter and the available equipment at your disposal.

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