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9 Must-Have Tools for Cleaning Gutters

Is "clean the gutters" on your to-do list this weekend? Before you start, make sure you have the tools you need to do the job right.

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Dirty guttersAlpamayoPhoto/Getty Images

Gutter Cleaning Basics

We get it — climbing a ladder to scoop gunk from your gutters is not how you want to spend your weekend. Especially a drizzly fall weekend or a bitter cold winter weekend.

This leaves you with two choices: Hire a professional to do the dirty work (which can cost more than $200, depending on the size of your home, HomeAdvisor reports), or just get out there and do it yourself. Skip it just this once? Not an option, unless you want to deal with the problems that come with clogged gutters. We’re talking water damage, pest infestations and cracks in your foundation, to name a few.

And don’t let gutter guards fool you! While gutter guards certainly have their benefits, they won’t absolve you of your gutter cleaning duties. Debris can still get stuck in, around and especially on top of gutter guards.

How do you make this dirty job a little less so? With the right tools, of course. Here are nine must-have tools for cleaning your gutters.

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A Sturdy Ladder

Before you consider DIY gutter cleaning, invest in a good ladder. This can be a lifesaver — literally. While any basic ladder will work, we like this 23-foot multi-position aluminum model by Gorilla Ladders. It has a 375-pound capacity, as well as a platform to hold your tools and supplies.

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A Ladder Stabilizer

If the ladder you have on hand is a little wobbly, a ladder stabilizer can save the day and help you avoid investing in a replacement. The best-selling Louisville ladder stabilizer works with various ladders and attaches to said ladders easily. At less than $30, it’s definitely budget-friendly as well.

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A Hard-Working Bucket

Next up? A heavy-duty bucket, because you are going to need a place to put all the debris you pull out of those clogged gutters. Sure, you could just toss it onto the ground, but that will just add another fall cleanup task to your list. This rugged bucket holds seven gallons, so you won’t need constant trips up and down your ladder to empty it.

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Puncture-Resistant Work Gloves

Most gutter-cleaning pros will tell you that your hands are the best “tool” for the job. Work gloves that protect your hands without decommissioning them are an absolute must when cleaning gutters. Otherwise, you might find yourself encountering something rusty and/or sharp. Do you really want a tetanus shot today?

A pair of nitrile/rubber gloves will help you avoid all that. This pair by Milwaukee has numerous five-star reviews and an affordable price.

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What’s the Scoop?

To keep your gutter cleaning routine simple, all you really need (beyond a ladder, bucket and gloves) is a basic gutter scoop. That’s the key to doing the job right.

Will any type of scoop do? Not really — gutter scoops are flexible and designed to reach under gutter supports, making the task that much easier. Plus, gutter scoops are affordable. The popular Gutter Getter is less than $10, and can sometimes be a lot cheaper depending on where you shop.

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Hard-to-Reach Help

Even with a ladder, you might not be able to see and/or reach every section of your gutters. To ensure you don’t miss a spot, consider this tool designed to alleviate the problem.

The Melnor Vortex Extreme Cleaning Wand attaches to your garden hose and extends from 40 inches to 72 inches. Plus, the nozzle rotates 360 degrees, making it that much easier to wash the gunk out of all the nooks and crannies.

If there’s a lot of caked-on gunk, though, a garden hose attachment might not offer enough pressure to remove it all. In this case, an extension wand that attaches to a pressure washer, such as the Agiiman cleaning tool, is the way to go, Similar concept, but with a 4,000 PSI boost.

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Leaf Blower Attachments

For those who need to clean their gutters but also want to keep two feet on the ground, a leaf blower is a viable option. If you go this route, make sure the tool actually reaches your gutters, like the Toro gutter cleaning kit. It includes a nozzle, shoulder strap and five extension tubes. Make sure the kit you choose works with your particular leaf blower, too; the manufacturer’s specs will provide this information.

One thing to keep in mind with this tool: It works best on dry debris. If you’re dealing with a lot of wet debris, be prepared to take extra steps to finish up, like breaking out your pressure washer to clean the mess left behind.

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The Gutter’s Exterior

Don’t forget about the exterior surface of your gutters — that needs to be cleaned, too. (And here you thought you were done after removing the leaves and debris.) Be sure to use a spray or cleaning solution that removes dirt and mildew without damaging your gutters and gutter covers, like Krud Kutter gutter and exterior metal cleaner.

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‘Smopping’ It Up

And speaking of cleaning the exterior surface of gutters, how do you actually do the scrubbing? Any quality cleaning brush will do the trick, but you might get by with a little less elbow grease if you go for something designed specifically for this job.

One option: The CHOMP microfiber cleaning “smop” (sponge + mop). The smop attaches easily to standard extension poles so you can reach your gutters. Plus, it’s microfiber, so it’s soft, durable and functional. As long as you are scrubbing your gutters, you might as well scrub your siding, too.

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Dawn Weinberger
Dawn Weinberger is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon who has contributed to numerous publications and websites over the past 20 years, including, Glamour, Women's Health, Entrepreneur, and many others. Dawn has a BA in journalism from Western Washington University and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She writes about everything from health and medicine to fashion, shopping, and business.

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