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8 Steps for Cleaning Your Gutters

Safety first!

Ensure that you have the right equipment and supplies to do the job safely. Consider the weather when you plan your project. Never use a ladder in the rain, and think twice about using it in very cold weather, even if there is no precipitation.

Wait for good weather.

There is a reason why gutter systems get cleaned in the springtime. In addition to safety, you should consider the weather conditions for ease of cleaning. The optimum time to clean your gutters is when the debris inside has had plenty of time to dry out. Wet, rotting debris can be harder to remove than dry material.

Gather the right supplies.

You’ll need:

  • A good pair of work gloves for protecting your hands.

  • A good ladder. You may be able to use a standard ladder if your lawn is level, but you’ll probably want an extension ladder.

  • A garden trowel to scoop out the debris inside your gutters. You can also purchase a special scoop designed for cleaning gutters.

  • A bucket for debris or another plan for collecting the material from inside the gutter. Ensure that you can handle your bucket safely while you’re on a ladder. You may need to go up and down the ladder every time you fill the bucket. You can also use a garbage bag, but this can become awkward to handle, making this a dangerous option. Spreading a tarp below works, too, if this is feasible. You can toss debris onto the tarp for easy removal at the end of the cleaning.

  • A garden hose with a nozzle to create enough water pressure to effectively spray out gutters. There is even a specialized wand for the end of your hose that you can use to clear gutters from the ground.

  • A gutter (or pipe) brush for getting inside downspouts and hard-to-clean areas, or a telescoping brush to clear the gutter from the ground.

You may be inclined to use a leaf blower or shop vac to clear your gutters, but it is difficult (and dangerous) to maneuver machinery at the top of a ladder. Additionally, these solutions cannot be as effective as manual cleaning. Debris can get stuck, and the best way to remove it is by hand.

Clear the gutters of debris.

Your first task is to remove all materials from inside your gutters. You can do this on a ladder by hand or use your scoop/trowel. As you remove the debris, collect it to reduce mess. You can hook a bucket directly to the edge of your gutter to easily clear material straight over the edge into the bucket, or you can toss material onto a tarp on the ground if it’s feasible for the area. You can also clean the gutters from the ground using your telescoping brush, but this method is much less effective.

Ladder safety requires you to move the ladder frequently. You never want to lean over further than your arms can reach.

Wash out your gutters and downspouts.

Use your hose and nozzle (or gutter cleaning attachment) to spray out your gutters, and try to get rid of any sediment you couldn’t scoop or manually remove. Look to see if you have any areas collecting water, whether it be from clogged downspouts or sagging gutters. These will need attention.

Flush the downspouts.

The next step is to remove anything obstructing the downspouts. You’ll use water pressure to release any clogs in your downspouts. If issues persist, you may even need to clear the downspout with a gutter brush or plumber’s snake.

Protect your gutter system for the future.

Clear gutters and downspouts are imperative to a well-maintained gutter system. Since your gutter system protects your whole home, regular gutter maintenance cannot be ignored or delayed. Homeowners also benefit from installing gutter guards. Gutter guards reduce the need for intensive regular cleaning. Consider updating your system with highly effective gutter guards to keep debris from collecting and clogging your gutters.

Get reinforcements!

Cleaning your gutters can be a lot of work, and may even be dangerous for some homeowners. The cost of supplies and the time it takes to clean your gutters yourself make hiring a professional for the job a well-reasoned option. Call Gutterworks for all of your gutter needs, including cleaning, routine maintenance, and gutter guard installation. Our professionals get the job done correctly and promptly. Email or call us today at (304) 848-9870.

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