The Best Way to Clean Gutters

Doing your annual gutter cleaning? Here's the best way to do it—from prep work to gunk and debris removal.

Installing rain gutters not only protects your home’s landscaping and siding, gutters also prevent damage to your home’s foundation.

When gutters fill with leaves, sticks and other debris, this can cause clogs and result in water creeping under the roof and sometimes, into the foundation. Clogged gutters can also lead to ice dams in the winter. That’s why it’s important to be cleaning out your gutters, especially in the fall.

You should clean your gutters at a minimum of once a year. You should do it more often if you have overhanging trees and after a big storm.

How to Clean Gutters

1. Make sure you have a good, sturdy, extendable ladder. Always place the ladder on a sturdy surface (beware of landscaping rocks below which can shift). You can use a ladder stabilizer for safety and to help prevent damage to the gutters. Also, it’s best to have a helper in case you drop something or need a hand with the ladder.

2. Dress for the job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants and rubber gloves. Cleaning gutters is a dirty job.

3. To remove the gunk from the gutters, use a small, plastic scoop. Gutter scoops are available at the hardware store, or a child’s sandbox shovel also works just fine. If you have an old plastic kitchen spatula, that works too, and it won’t damage the gutters. Better yet, get a gutter cleaning robot to do the job for you!

4. Spread a tarp underneath your workspace to collect all the gutter gunk and protect your lawn and landscaping.

5. Once you’ve removed the debris from the gutters, use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts and clear out any remaining debris. This will also show you if you have any leaks.

6. Once the gutters are clear, repair any sagging metal. You can do this by mounting a gutter hanger. Many gutter repairs are DIY jobs.

Once you get the hang of it, gutter cleaning isn’t that bad, and you’ll feel great when it’s done! Now that you know how to clean out gutters, be sure to add it to your to-do list at least once a year.

If cold weather is around the corner, learn what a takes to prepare your gutters for winter.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.