How to Clean House Gutters

How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

Cleaning the gutters and downspouts of your house just comes with the territory of owning a home, but it doesn’t have to be a big chore. Although it’s not the most fun task, it isn’t that difficult, doesn’t take that long, and will help prevent damage to your roof and the eaves themselves. Plus, it helps make your house look nicer.

Why You Should Clean Your Gutters

If you don’t clean your gutters, major damage will eventually plague your house when rainwater cannot go down a blocked drain. That blocked water builds up and gets under your shingles or rooftop material, and

How to Clean House Gutters
How to Clean House Gutters

rots the wood of your roof, trim and siding, and water can even get into your house, which we all know is not good.

Downspouts that are clogged in fall and not cleaned before the snow falls can become a problem. During warm winter days or the spring when the snow melts, if the melt water cannot go down the drain, tis can cause a big ice lip to build up at the edge or your roof that not only prevents snow from sliding off your roof, but it also puts a massive amount of weight on your roof. This can lead to a damaged roof or even a collapsed roof.

Even if the roof eaves of your house don’t get clogged or overflow each season, it’s just not a good idea to leave decaying debris in your gutters, as it’s an invitation to mosquitoes and carpenter ants.

So no matter how busy or lazy you feel, the little effort it takes to clean your gutters can save you lots of headache and damage costs. It’s definitely worth the effort, and not worth the consequences if you don’t do it. So let’s get to it.

Get the Right Tools

  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Trowel or Hand Scoop
  • Trash bag or Bucket
  • Rope (if you do this alone)
  • Garden Hose

Be Safe

If your home is more than one story, you may need an extension ladder. But even if your house is only one story, you could get seriously hurt if you fall. So no matter how many stories you have, make sure your ladder is stable. Either use a stabilizer, or make sure you’re on level ground, or both.

Figure out how you’re going to get your trash bag or bucket down before you start. It will be heavy and awkward, but if you can hand it to someone, or lower it with a rope if you’re doing this job solo, you’ll want to have this planned out before you start. Don’t wait until you’re umpteen feet above the ground, on the roof, balancing a heavy bag, wondering what to do with it.

Gloves don’t just help keep your hands and nails clean, but they can protect your hand from sharp objects. Leather ones will protect your hands better than cloth, as well as keep them cleaner. Make sure they’re the right size so you can do this job safely and properly.

Where to Start

After you have all your tools in place, it’s best to start where the downspouts are, which is typically at the corners, but not always.

Start at the downspouts so you can avoid pushing debris down the downspout and further clogging it, by simply pushing debris away from the drain hole as you clean the gutters.

Do it Right

  1. Simply scoop the debris into your bag or bucket. Use your trowel for the big stuff, and you may need to use your hands for the small stuff and gunk stuck to the bottom. If the debris is wet, I recommend a
    How To Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily
    How To Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

    bucket rather than a bag, unless you use an extra sturdy bag. Wet stuff is heavier than dry stuff, so you may not want to fill the bag all the way up.

  2. After all the larger debris is removed, rinse the gutter with your garden hose, spraying toward the direction of the nearest downspout.
  3. You will need to clear any downspouts that may be clogged. If you start by spraying water down the spout from the top, you may just compact the clog so it gets lodged in tighter and becomes harder to budge. The best way is to start at the bottom of the drain spout and shoot some water up so it hits the bottom of the clog by using the spray nozzle of your hose at the highest pressure setting. Then get on the roof and shoot water down the pipe from the top. If it’s a loose clog, this should clear it up. If this still doesn’t clear it up, you can use a plumber’s snake, or if the clog is near the top, any type of long pole, like the end of a rake, will do. Collect the clog at the bottom of the spout after it comes out and put it in your debris receptacle.

Follow all the above procedures for all your gutters and downspouts of your home, garage, or any outbuildings you have that have gutters.

And finally, dispose of all the debris you’ve collected by putting it in the trash, or more preferably, a compost pile. You may already have your own compost pile, or can start one, or often your local city offices can tell you where a free community compost trash receiving site is located.

And that’s How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily!

And now you can sit back and relax as you pat yourself on the back for taking care of business and keeping your property well taken care of. It’s okay to admire your own work, because not only do you now have clean gutters, but also peace of mind.

Prevent Future Problems

Use a stand-off or stabilizer, which not only keeps your ladder stable, but it also keeps your ladder from resting on, and thus possibly damaging or denting your gutters.

Inspect the gutters and downspouts now for any signs of damage. Look for holes, dents, or cracks. If you discover any signs of damage, repair them as soon as possible.

It’s best to clean the eaves and gutter spouts of in late spring or after nearby trees have finished shedding their leaves in the fall. If there copious amounts of trees or rain in your area, you should probably check your gutters more often.

Other Tips

Install leaf strainers inside the eave near the drain hole to prevent leaves from going down, and possibly clogging, your downspout.

You may want to consider installing guards that prevent the debris from sliding off your roof into your gutter in the first place. They won’t stop all falling leaves and branches from landing in your gutter, but can make your biannual gutter cleaning much more easy in the future.

Your local city yard refuse disposal site is also a great place to get free compost for your garden in the spring.

How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway

how to clean leaf stains off driveway
How to clean leaf stains off driveway

The changing colors of fall leaves are truly beautiful but the bright reds, oranges and yellows can stain your driveway so you might want to know how to clean leaf stains off driveway. On a gorgeous, clear fall day, bundle yourself (and your kids) up warmly and head outside to get to work.

How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway

Cleaning the leaf stains off your driveway is a great job that kids can do. Rake or sweep any leaves and debris off the area you are planning on cleaning. Periodically, take time to jump in the piles of leaves with your kids! Dispose of the leaves in compost or green waste. Use a hose with high water pressure to spray off the surface dirt. Sprinkle some laundry detergent with bleach or bleach alternative onto the driveway stains. You may find powdered laundry detergent works better than liquid laundry detergent because of its scouring ability but either type of detergent works. Let the detergent sit on the stains for a few minutes then proceed to scrub the area with a heavy duty shop broom or scrub brush.


Use the hose with high water pressure to rinse the area, taking off the soap and dirt, and stain. Be careful not to clog up storm drains with leaves at the end of your driveway or on your street

The Rest of the Driveway:

After you’ve cleaned the leaf stained areas, they will  really stand out from the rest of the driveway. You may wish to clean your entire driveway by hosing it down, sprinkling laundry detergent all around, scrubbing the driveway then rinsing.

Now relax and enjoy the lovely reds, oranges and yellows in your trees and all around you, now you know how to clean leaf stains off driveway.


Window and Door Screens

This work is often done in the spring before bug season, or at the end of summer if you store your screens for the winter season.  Try to pick a warm day with a bit of a breeze to facilitate drying.

The  proper way to clean screens is to remove them from the window frames or doors.  If you are planning on cleaning multiple screens at one time, (and it is best to considering the set up!) it is wise to number both the screen and the window with a permanent marker before starting.

Construct a simple wooden 2X4 frame on a flat smooth deck or patio big enough to accommodate your largest screen.  Cover the frame with a heavy plastic or tarp and fill it with water and a few teaspoons of dish washing soap.

Lay one screen at a time into the frame, and gently brush it with a soft brush, or a synthetic broom.  Brush both directions and along the screen frame before flipping the screen over and repeating the procedure on the other side.

Lift the screen out of the frame and allow the cleaning solution to drain off before rinsing the screen off with a garden hose sprayer on a gentle setting.  Give the screen a quick shake and set it against a fence or wall in the sun or breeze to permit drying.

If you are storing your screens, it is best to protect them with a piece of cardboard or plywood and cover them with an old bed sheet or plastic tarp to keep them from getting dusty before the spring.

Before replacing your screen, using a bucket and sponge or clean rag, wipe the frame of the window to remove any accumulated dust.

In the event you cannot remove your screen, you can vacuum with a soft brush attachment, which will remove the bulk of accumulated dust.  Using a plant mister, spray the screen with a water/dish soap solution, and using a dry clean cloth, wipe off the screen.  If possible clean the exterior, then the interior.

How to clean an oil spill in the garage

how to clean oil from garage floor with kitty litter
Kitty litter to clean oil spills

Its a good to have a bag of cat litter in your garage…even if you don’t have a cat. Its great for any kind of spill or oil leak. Just cover spill leave for a day or so and sweep up.  Repeat the process if necessary.

For stubborn stains you may have to use a regular detergent and warm water and scrub with a deck brush and rinse.  You can upgrade to a commercial degreaser (found at hardware store or any janitorial supply store).  TSP (found at hardware store) is also a strong cleaner that can be effective.  Never mix chemicals.

Bricks and foundation masonry

A question recently submitted:

The rocks on the lower part of our house are discolored. I am assuming that it is mold as it is along the lower part and where I have done a lot of watering.

How is this best way of cleaning this off?  We don’t want to use anything that will damage the mortar.

Masonry can discolour for a number of reasons. Most masonry cleaners are acidic in nature and will remove most mildew or algae that grow on rock work. You have to be careful with bleach based products that will hurt your soil and produce some nasty effluent. Look for a environmentally friendly product such as a biodegradable cleaner that will not kill your grass.  A little elbow grease and a long handled brush should do the trick.

To prevent this from happening in the future, apply an inexpensive masonry sealer to the rockwork and mortar. It will provide an attractive “wet look” if desired and prevent penetration of organic matter that can lead to mildew and algae growth.

Central Air Conditioning

Exterior Evaporator Unit

Turn off the electrical power to the outside condenser/compressor unit.

Cut weeds, grass and bushes within 24 inches of your condenser unit.  Vacuum the fins on the exterior of the condenser unit with a soft brush. Vacuum around the entire unit to remove any leaves and other debris that has built up in or around the fins.  Using a dinner knife or a specialized fin comb to gently apply pressure to damaged or bent fins and straighten them out. Don’t insert the knife more than a half inch into the fins or you risk damaging the coils inside.  Remove the fan from the top of your condenser/compressor unit by unscrewing the top grille. Lift the fan out and manually remove any leaves or debris that have collected inside the unit.  A vacuum might be the easiest option, but use extreme caution to NOT damage any of the components with the steel vacuum wand.  Wipe down the inside of the unit with a damp cloth. Use a garden hose to spray the fins from the inside out, using a fair amount of water pressure. Place the fan back in the unit and fasten the screws to secure the top.  Turn the power back on and set your indoor thermostat to “Cool” to allow the compressor unit to cycle on.

Interior Evaporator Unit

Turn off the power to your furnace before you start cleaning the indoor evaporator unit.

Open the main blower compartment of your furnace and remove the filter. If it’s disposable, replace it with a new one. If it’s reusable, place it in a tub and cover it with water and add a little laundry detergent to create some suds and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Rinse with a shower head from both sides and allow to air dry before re-installing the filter back in the furnace unit.  Use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to suck up any dust in the blower compartment. If the motor has lubrication ports, add a few drops of electric motor oil into each port to keep them running smoothly.  Locate the plastic condensation drain tube and pull it off the drain port. If there is algae growth inside, mix one part bleach and 16 parts water into a solution and pour it into the tube. If flushing doesn’t remove the dirt, replace the tube.  Clean grime and dirt out of the drain port with a pipe cleaner. Put the drain tube back onto the port and turn your main power switch back on.  Give yourself about a half day to clean your air conditioning unit if you’re doing it for the first time.  Try to clean your air conditioning unit when the temperature is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit so you can be certain it will cycle on once the cleaning is complete.  Consult your owner’s manual for any special cleaning instructions that apply to your unit.

Baseball Gloves

Now that summer is over many of you will be putting away your baseball & softball gloves until “spring training” next spring. Here is some advice on how to keep that glove in top shape and ready for next season Many types of treatments and care have been suggested over the years for baseball and softball gloves.
Some of these are safe and some, unfortunately, may damage glove leather. We recommended that one of the best and safest leather cleaners and conditioners is untreated petroleum jelly. Professional glove repairmen and leather specialists agree that this is one of the best applications, both for cleaning and conditioning glove leather.
During the break-in period, treat your new glove with a light application, working it into the leather. This will reduce the stiffness of the new leather and facilitate a faster and more comfortable breaking in procedure. Also, at the end of the season, take a generous amount of petroleum jelly and thoroughly cover the outside and inside of the glove.
Don’t ignore the laces or hard to-get-to areas, both inside and outside the glove. Then take a clean rag and wipe off excess to remove grit and grime. This will also remove and help neutralize much of the salt and acid buildup inside the glove caused by perspiration, a chief problem to the leather lining, usually made of softer leather. We do not recommend neatsfoot oil, linseed oil or silicon-type spray as these tend to close the pores of the leather, causing it to dry, harden, and become heavy over an extended period of time and through repeated use. Petroleum jelly keeps the pores open and in effect, keeps the leather “alive” while also providing a softening condition.
Basically remember that leather is skin and leather experts tell us not to treat glove leather any differently than you would your own skin. Prolonged harsh temperatures, excessive water soaking (especially use of hot water), abrasives, the salt and acids produced from perspiration and excessive dryness all or individually can be harmful to the glove leather.
Also, continued exposure to sunlight may result in fading of the leather color. Be careful about sealing gloves in plastic bags for over 12 months. We hope this gives all you players a good idea on how to care for your glove until the next time you hear those words so near and dear to our hearts – PLAY BALL!!

How to Clean Resin Patio Furniture

How To Clean Resin Patio Furniture resin patio chair

Resin plastic chairs are popular as patio furniture because they are inexpensive, durable, easily stored and easy to clean. The original protective coating wears off over time, however, particularly if you leave the chairs sitting outside all the time in the sun, rain and snow. These chairs then tend to develop a chalky film that gets onto skin and clothing. With a little elbow grease, you can clean resin patio furniture and get the pieces looking great again.

Instructions for How to Clean Resin Patio Furniture

Things You’ll Need:

  • Garden hose
  • Water
  • General purpose cleaner (like fantasik)
  • Clean cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Bucket
  • Bleach
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge

General Purpose cleaner

Step 1

Hose off loose dirt and dust from the chair.

Step 2

Spray a generous amount of general purpose cleaner onto the chair. Allow it to soak on the chair for five minutes.  Agitate with a soft bristle brush.

Step 3

Then hose the chair off again and allow it to dry in the sunshine.  Or buff dry with dry cleaning cloths.

Now you can enjoy your patio furniture again!

Resin Chairs

Bleach Solution

Step 1

Use a bleach solution if chairs are covered with mildew. Add three-fourths cup bleach to a gallon of warm water.

Step 2

Apply a little to the underside of the chair to make sure it does not cause discoloration. This is unlikely but may occur on chairs with bright or dark colors.

Step 3

Pour the bleach solution into a plastic spray bottle. Apply a generous amount to the chair. You also can wear rubber gloves and apply it with a sponge or clean cloth. Let the solution sit on the chair for five minutes.

Step 4

Wipe an area of the chair where you found chalky stuff. See if the bleach solution removed it. If not, try scrubbing the chalky areas with a soft-bristle scrub brush as you did with the general purpose cleaner.

Step 5

Rinse the bleach solution from the chair with the hose and let dry in the sun.

Tips & Warnings

Don’t use a coarse bristle brush or any metal-based scrubbing pads, as this may scratch the resin.

I have also heard of people who use car wax to try and restore a better finish to a resin chair that is all chalky due to the finish being worn off.  Or paint the chair, but frankly resin chairs are so cheap you may be better off just buying new ones.

Barbecue – Outside

Here is a question submitted by Diane:

There is a saying in the cleaning business, “let the chemical do the work for you” You need to use a heavy duty degreaser, if you are cleaning the BBQ on a regular basis then just a spray mixture of 1 ounce of dish soap and water in a spray bottle would be effective.

But if your like me (I have not cleaned mine since I bought it) you will need a commercial grade degreaser which you can get at any major hardware store or janitorial supply store and just spray on let it sit for several minutes agitate a little with a medium brush and hose off. If you can’t hose off just use a bucket and a sponge with clean water.

In some cases I have heard off people using a pressure washer to wash down their BBQ, but the way I see it if you have to use a pressure washer you may as well same yourself to trouble and just buy a new BBQ.


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