Have the Necessary Tools
To clean your gutter, these are the tools you need.
For Ground Cleaning:
- Leaf blower attachment
- Telescopic water pole
For Ladder Cleaning:
- A tall ladder and a stabilizer, especially if you’re going at it alone
- Protective glasses and water-resistant work gloves
- Buckets or trash bags to collect debris
- A trowel or gutter scoop
- Garden hose with a spray nozzle
With these tools and knowledge, you’re ready to clean your gutter.
How Do You Clean Your Gutters?
There are two main ways to remove debris from your gutters and ensure a thorough cleaning.
Cleaning With a Ladder
Cleaning with a ladder — also known as manual removal — requires you to remove debris with a gutter scoop and use a hose to wash smaller pieces down the gutter.
Remove Large Debris
Start by removing large debris such as leaves, twigs and branches from the gutters. Use a gutter scoop or trowel to remove looser matter, and deposit it into a trash bag or bucket. Be careful not to damage the gutter or downspout during this process.
Flush Out the Gutters
Once you’ve removed the large debris, flush the gutter with a spray nozzle attached to your garden hose. Work your way from the far end towards the downspout. This will help loosen any dirt or small debris stuck in the gutters. Be careful not to spray water under roof shingles.
Scoop Out Remaining Debris
After flushing the gutters, use a gutter scoop or trowel to remove any remaining debris the water didn’t wash away.
Inspect and Repair Gutters and Downspouts
While cleaning the gutters, inspect them for any signs of damage, sagging, or holes. Also, check the downspouts to ensure they’re clear. A good way to dislodge clogs is to feed your hose into the downspout from the ground and turn it on at full pressure. If you struggle or find any issues, call in someone to repair them promptly and ensure proper water flow.
Install Gutter Guards or Covers
Consider installing gutter covers to prevent clogging and debris. These guards allow water to flow through while keeping debris out.
Schedule Necessary Repairs and Future Cleanings
Seal any leaks or damaged joints with gutter sealant. These products typically have instructions to guide you on proper use. Finally, schedule future cleanings to ensure your gutters remain clear and functional throughout the year.
Some Safety Tips to Follow
Keep yourself safe with these ladder tips:
- When you’re on the ladder, ensure you can reach things comfortably and are always below the second-to-last step.
- Use a ladder stabilizer and have someone nearby for any emergencies.
- Choose a day with good weather and no wind to prevent flying debris and easier balance on the ladder.
Cleaning From the Ground
Staying on the ground is a safer option — it just requires more maneuvering to make it work.
Use a Vacuum or Leaf Blower Attachment
Place the end of the attachment into the gutter and walk along the house to blow debris off. Then, use a rake to gather the matter and dispose of it. A vacuum attachment works well for smaller waste like small dry leaves and dirt.
Use a Telescopic Water Pole
This nifty device lets you focus the water stream directly into your gutters. Unlike cleaning them on a ladder, using a water pole requires you to start at the downspout end. After that, you’ll work in the opposite direction to ensure the gutter is completely clean.