How to Clean Your Gutters Properly For Long-Term Health

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Cleaning your gutters is not a complicated task, but it can prevent some bigger problems with your roof and house. Do it regularly and properly, following these simple guidelines.


It might seem unnecessary and too much of a hassle sometimes but it is very important to take care of your gutters properly. Their role is to prevent water to retain on the roof or run down the walls, and to allow it to drain safely away from your roof and house. Gutters protect your walls, windows, doors and sidings, so it is important to keep them clean and unobstructed, to avoid any water damage.

When water is retained on the roof it can damage it, cause leakages and moisture inside your house. When gutters are clogged and overflowing, water can pour over and cause damage to your deck, foundations, or even basement.


Ideally, you should clean your gutters twice a year, and it’s best to do it every spring and fall. If there are no big trees around your house, no leaves or some kind of debris falling on it and in the gutters, then it can even be enough to do it once a year. It is also recommended to clean them after a big storm, because the chances are that there will be some clogged areas from the leaves, branches and other debris that the storm brings.

Preparation and tools

Make sure you know what you’re doing and that you are comfortable with doing it at heights. Cleaning the gutter is no complicated task and it doesn’t require a lot of tools, but make sure to prepare what you do need:

  • ladder
  • trowel
  • hose
  • bucket(s)
  • gloves
  • safety glasses

Man cleaning gutters on ladder

How – a step by step

  1. Check your roof to see if there are any leaves or debris collected on it, and if there is, rake it or blow it off with a leaf blower, so that it doesn’t fall in the gutters once you’ve cleaned them.
  2. Start cleaning from the downspout. Use a trowel to scoop out all the debris, and work your way away from the downspout, scooping a bit by bit. You can also do it with your hands, instead of a trowel, because it is easier to feel the clogs and unclog them, but make sure you are wearing quality, thick work gloves. Collect all the debris you scoop out in a bucket instead of throwing it on the ground and having to clean it up later. Alternatively, you can lay a tarp on the ground and throw the debris there, which will also save you some cleaning time.
  3. After you’ve cleared all the bigger and chunkier debris, use a garden hose for the rest of it. Flush out every length of your gutter toward the downspout, so that it can easily drain down.
  4. Let the water run for a bit and inspect the spout to make sure the water flow is unobstructed. If the water is not coming out cleanly and easily, then there is a clog inside the spout. In this case, flush the downspout with a hose under high pressure to push out the debris.

Safety tips

First of all, it is not recommended to clean the gutters from the rooftop, especially if has a very pitched slope. Always try to do it with a ladder.

When standing on a ladder, stand firmly, don’t lean over the sides, keep your hips between the rails, and try to avoid standing on the top two rungs.

If you are using buckets to collect debris, attach them to the ladder safely with wire hooks.

Make sure the area below you and the gutters is clear.

If your roof is flat or with a very low pitch, and you decide to clean the gutter from there, never lean over the edge, wear appropriate non-slip shoes, and work only under good weather conditions. Never go on the rooftop if it is wet or icy, or when the wind is blowing.

Doing all of this will ensure that your gutters stay nice and clean and last for a long time.


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