Homemade Solvents for Washing Aluminum Gutters

Find aluminum outdoors as window trim, screen doors and gutters.
Find aluminum outdoors as window trim, screen doors and gutters. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many powerful cleaning agents lie waiting inside of most pantries, doubling as basic foods. Natural homemade solvents are eco-friendly and cost-effective. However, aluminum does not react favorably to all of these otherwise harmless edible products. Mix a batch of the right combination of cupboard or fridge items to clean and polish your aluminum gutters.

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Aluminum

Aluminum remains rust- and tarnish-free for life, regardless of what Mother Nature throws at it. However, it will corrode if it is in contact with other metals, such as copper and steel. Baking soda or washing soda also can chemically deteriorate aluminum. Painted aluminum gutters have added protection from the elements, but regardless of whether your gutters are painted, wash them using the same care as unpainted gutters

Gutters

You should thoroughly clean your gutters twice a year to keep them clear of clogs, suggests building supplies giant Lowe’s. Begin with a simple garden hand trowel, making quick work of removing leaves and other fallen debris from your metal rain transportation system. Work in the cooler part of the day for comfort.

Vinegar

Aluminum readily welcomes a solution of warm water and acetic acid, more commonly found in the kitchen as "white vinegar." After scooping the gunk from your gutters with the trowel, mix a bucketful of solvent, using 1 cup of vinegar for every 3 gallons of water. Pour the vinegar-water solvent into your capped gutters and allow them to soak for up to one hour. Gently remove the loosened dirt, using a garden hose and a soft-bristled auto/marine brush attachment or rag.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar, otherwise known in the science world as potassium hydrogen tartrate, is another slightly acidic and useful cleaner. Create an aluminum polishing paste from cream of tartar and water. Wipe down the exterior of your gutters with this gentle yet effective buffing agent. Rinse and dry for a lustrous finale.

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