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Your Guide to Cleaning Your Windows, Gutters and Downspouts This Spring


on February 1, 2021


Spring is a time of rebirth. Even in warmer climates, the change from winter to spring makes the outdoors come alive. That rejuvenation sparks many homeowners to make their homes feel as fresh as the new blooms outside.

While there’s nothing like the look of a home after a thorough spring cleaning, there’s still more work to be done after you’ve spruced up the inside of your home.

Why Spring Is the Best Time for Downspout, Window and Gutter Cleaning

Nearly everything in your home requires a little annual maintenance. And there are a few weather-related factors that make spring a great time to do some home maintenance:

  • Warmer temps – The weather is just right — not too hot, not too cold. So you can open up your windows to clean them or get outside to check things off your to-do list. 
  • Flowering plants – The warmer weather kickstarts the growth of plants. As part of that, they release pollen or sap. That can build up on your windows and create a sticky film that obstructs the glass or accumulates on the frame. The sticky substance can also mix with old leaves or debris in your gutters, potentially creating blockages.
  • Rainy forecast – While precipitation depends on where you live, spring brings a lot of rain for many parts of the country. Sometimes, that helps do the work of cleaning out your gutters and downspouts for you! But if they’re full of debris, a rainstorm can cause them to flood. With nowhere else to go, the water can leak down into your roof, siding or windows and cause permanent damage.

You can easily help your home transition from winter to spring in one weekend if you follow these tips for cleaning windows, gutters and downspouts.

Woman cleans interior of windows with cloth

The Best Way to Clean Windows

Cleaning your windows like a professional takes some practice. Every window works a little differently and some are easier to clean than others. Single-hung and double-hung-windows are easy to clean — even from the second story — because the sashes tilt in so you can clean the exterior from the inside of your home.

Whether you have to climb a ladder or can clean both sides of a window pane from the comfort of your home, these window cleaning tips will give you spotless glass and frames.

Cleaning Window Glass

  1. Choose a time of day when the sun isn’t shining directly on your windows to prevent streaks or water spots when the window dries too quickly.
  2. Place a towel along the window sill to catch drips from reaching the frame.
  3. Use a soft microfiber cloth or paper towel with a commercial cleaning solution like Pella Glass and Window Cleaner.
  4. Start at the top of the window and work your way down, moving the cloth back and forth in a Z-shaped motion.
  5. With a fresh cloth or paper towel, dry the glass to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
  6. If you see streaks or spots, spray on some more solution and do it all again.

Cleaning the Rest of the Window

  1. Using the brush attachment on your vacuum or another dry brush, go over the window frame, sill and track to remove dirt and debris.
  2. Wipe away excess grime with a cloth or paper towel and warm, soapy water.
  3. Dry everything off with a different cloth or paper towel.
  4. For tougher stains or sticky deposits, apply a small amount of mineral spirits and gently scrub the spots away.
  5. Use a small, soft-bristle brush to clear out the weep holes on both the interior and exterior.

Gloved hands using gutter scoop to clean gutters

Tips for Cleaning Gutters

While it may look like all the leaves fall to your lawn, plenty are blown into gutters where they cause clogs and potential flooding. So you should at least inspect your gutters twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, to ensure they function. 

A springtime cleaning of your gutters is important because there could be leaves that held on until winter before dropping — especially if you live in a neighborhood with older tree growth. And as winter’s snow and ice recede, the melt brings all the dirt and debris from the roof down to the gutters. Follow these steps to clean your gutters without all the clean-up:

  1. Lay a tarp on the ground beneath your work area and over your landscaping to keep everything free of gutter gunk.
  2. Place the ladder on a sturdy, even surface and use a ladder stabilizer to give you a larger workspace and clearer view of the gutters.
  3. Use a gutter scoop, spatula or any small plastic scoop (even a toy from the sandbox works!) to pick up any debris and toss it down to the tarp below.
  4. Run the hose to flush out any remaining debris, working toward the downspout, and check for leaks along the gutter.
  5. Seal leaks, mount hangers to fix sagging metal and perform any other needed repairs while you’re up there so that your gutters keep working. 

Hands reattach gutter downspout after cleaning

How to Clean Downspouts

Downspouts are just extensions of your gutter. Gravity and a little running water from your gutter cleaning are often enough to clear everything out. 

Sometimes, clumps and clogs can get lodged on their way down. Since you can’t see or access where the problem is, it’s much harder to clear out. If you don’t see water flowing freely out to your lawn or landscaping — or worse, it’s getting backed up into the gutters — try these downspout cleaning tips:

  1. Detach any horizontal extension pipes to give you better visibility and access to the downspout.
  2. Attach a nozzle to your hose and flush out your downspout with water at a higher pressure.
  3. If the problem persists, try a pressure washer at a lower setting that won’t damage your piping.
  4. For the most difficult clogs, feed a plumbing snake from the top of the downspout until it meets the clog. Rotate the head until you no longer feel resistance and then recoil the plumbing snake.
  5. Run water from the hose through the downspout to wash away any remaining debris that could start another clog.

Gutter cleaning professional on ladder clearing debris from gutter

When to Call in the Pros

These routine cleaning jobs sound easy enough for even the least handy of homeowners. But any time you’re on a ladder working at heights, safety is a major concern. When water is involved, it can make for a potentially slippery metal ladder, which increases your risk of a mishap.

If the heights, window sizes, window types or roof slopes of your home cause hesitation, consider bringing in a professional. You’ll likely find a variety of local services offering window and gutter cleaning near you. They have all the equipment and take all the precautions to make sure your windows, gutters and downspouts are debris-free.

You can also contact your local Pella service team when you need a window professional specifically. They can answer your window care and maintenance questions or schedule a service visit when you spot bigger window problems.

A clean set of windows, gutters and downspouts is an investment in your home. Whether you enlist professional help or do it yourself, you ensure that each part of your home looks — and works — great for years to come.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.