How to clean gutters

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Neglecting to clean your gutters regularly isn’t just an issue of curbside appeal. Over time, clogged gutters can cause leaks and eventually, structural damage to your home.

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Best way to clean gutters

Cleaning gutters doesn’t need to be a drag, but it does need to be done twice a year. If your gutters go ignored, the problems that may arise down the line can cause headaches or even financial hardship. 

Learning how to clean your gutters is not rocket science, but it can be tricky. This means you need to know how and when to clean your gutters and what equipment you need to make sure your home stays in working order. Fortunately, you can do this with equipment you already have at home.

Why you need to clean your gutters

Most owners don’t realize that not cleaning their gutters can not only lead to their home looking unkempt but can cause severe structural damage. This is because gutters clear rainwater and snowmelt away without letting it fall down the side of the house and onto the topsoil.

If water collects on the topsoil, it can cause basements to flood, foundational damage and even attract unwanted pests and landscape destruction. While it may be tempting to skip cleaning your gutters, you may be creating serious problems down the line. This is why gutters need to be cleaned twice per year, in the spring and fall.

Equipment for cleaning gutters

Cleaning gutters can be a dangerous task. You’ll need to access your roof using a ladder and it can be easy to cut your hands on loose debris. Gutter cleaning can also get extremely messy, so it’s not something you do while wearing your Sunday best.

For a safe and clean gutter cleaning session, you’ll need:

  • Overalls
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Heavy-duty footwear
  • Ladder
  • Handheld brush or extendable gutter tool
  • Pressure washer

How to clean your gutters in four steps 

Cleaning gutters is a dreaded task. This is why most people leave it to the professionals. However, gutter cleaning doesn’t need to be difficult, especially if you do it regularly. Before you start cleaning your gutters, it’s essential to know what you need and to strategize.

Step 1: Prepare yourself, your gutters and your workspace

goggles

After making sure weather conditions are optimal (no high winds or rain, and plenty of daylight left), get your equipment ready. Always take a safety-first approach. This means getting your overalls, gloves, work boots and goggles on.

tarpaulin

Get your ladder out and check that it’s in safe working order. Next, spread tarpaulin along the sides of the home so any debris you clear can be swept up and bagged up at the end of the process. 

The final step in the preparation stage is to make sure any obstacles are cleared so you can move your ladder in a clockwise way around the home as you clean.

Step 2: Remove large debris

Once you ascend the ladder, survey your gutters for any large debris. Do this in stages. This means start at the back of the home and move clockwise until you’re back to the start.

scoop

Debris can come in all shapes and sizes. However, look for large clusters of dirt, twigs and leaves. Move your ladder accordingly so you can safely scoop the trash out of the gutters and onto the tarp below.

Once you are done, walk around your home and bag up any large debris you have cleared into some disposal bags.

Step 3: Remove small debris

At this stage, things get a little tricky and a little technical. Typically, you’ll start at the corners. This means you need to get right over the drainage system. Once you’re over the drainage pipes, you need to identify any blockages and clear them as needed.

pressure washer

Next, get your hose out and connect it to your gutter wand or your pressure washer. Once that’s done, move along the gutter and clear any pieces of small debris with the hose. Small debris includes leaves, twigs, sludge, dirt or any other type of dirt you can identify. 

Finally, make sure water runs clear through the drainage system. This step is critical because any blockages in the drain pipes may not be identifiable with the naked eye. 

Step 4: Clean up your worksite

Once you’ve removed all the small debris and hosed down the gutters and drainpipes, it’s time to clean up. Any small or large trash should be bagged and treated in the most environmentally friendly way possible. You can do this by adding the waste to a compost heap or passing it off to your nearest environmentally friendly waste-disposal unit. 

Conduct one final check to ensure that any downspouts are cleared. This means you’re going to need to climb back up the ladder and aim the hose pipe back down the drainage unit to make sure no water fills up and the runoff is clear.

What you need to buy for cleaning gutters

Buyplus Telescoping Pressure Washer Extension Wand

Buyplus Telescoping Pressure Washer Extension Wand

This pressure washer wand attachment is lightweight and durable with an easy-to-use handle that’s great for beginner and expert gutter cleaners. With an 18-foot reach, this wand is safer and easier to use when cleaning hard-to-reach areas. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

The Water Rocket

The Water Rocket

Not everyone is working with equipment like pressure washers. If you’re using a simple garden hose for your gutter cleaning, this attachment focuses the spray into a high-pressure stream to clear stubborn dirt. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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