How to Clean Copper Gutters

Kate Evelyn

Copper is one of the less common materials builders use for gutters because it can tarnish over time, which will make it look gray or green instead of the shiny copper color. However, it can also be a good metal to use because it is attractive. The best way to clean copper gutters is to first remove any debris from them, such as leaves and mud, and then go back and polish the copper, as needed.

  1. Pull the top of your extension ladder out so it reaches at least 6 inches beyond the height of your copper gutters. Carefully lean the ladder against the leftmost edge of the front of the roof, being cautious not to dent the gutters' delicate metal. Grab your trowel and climb up to the third rung from the top.

  2. Place the trowel in the gutter at the leftmost edge, pointing the tip of the trowel to the right. Carefully push down with it at a 45-degree angle, being sure not to nick the bottom of the gutter. Use this leverage to scoop leaves and debris out. If you keep hitting the bottom of the gutter, lift the debris out with your hands, instead.

  3. Drop each trowel full of muck into the trash can, which should be placed below you on the ground. Move the ladder and the can as needed until you've gotten all of the large debris out of your copper gutters.

  4. Grab your garden hose, with the spray nozzle attached, and place your ladder in front of the end of the gutter that is the farthest away from the downspout. Have an assistant turn the water on as high as possible. Put the nozzle of the hose in the gutter, aiming it toward the downspout. This should get rid of any remaining grime.

  5. Polish the copper. Concentrate on the front of the gutters, since this is the part people will see. If there is tarnish inside the gutter, it will not harm it long term. While back on the ground, mix together 2 cups of white flour, 2 cups of table salt and 2 cups of vinegar in your half-gallon bucket to make a paste. Stir with your plastic spoon.

  6. Climb the ladder and have your assistant hand you the bucket and your scrub brush. Dip your soft-bristled scrub brush in the bucket so it is coated about a half-inch deep in the paste. Rub it on any tarnished areas, or spots that just need some extra shine, in a circular motion. Rinse off with the hose. Repeat as needed. Don't forget to polish the downspout.