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6 Tips for DIY Gutter Cleaning

gutters filled with leaves

For those of us in the part of the world that are lucky enough to have yards and neighborhoods full of gorgeous, deciduous trees, cleaning out our gutters is a seasonal reality. It’s also a task that can seem surprisingly daunting if you’ve never done it before. Do you need to hire a pro, or can you do it yourself?

If you don’t feel good about getting up on a ladder, or if you suspect (or can clearly see) that your gutters are in need of repair, it’s a good idea to call up your local roofing or gutter company. But, if your gutters are in good shape and you’ve got the right equipment, this is a task you can probably handle on your own (though you may find it’s worth the cost to have your local roofing or gutter company take on the toil, risk, and mess for you).

Safety First: Get the Right Ladder (if You Need One)

Some (tall) people find that they can clean their gutters pretty successfully while standing on the ground. If you can manage it, that’s always the safest strategy. Most people will need to get up on a ladder to get those gutters clean. Please — and we can’t emphasize this enough! — use the right ladder! You’ll need an extension ladder with stabilizers. Don’t use a regular step ladder, and don’t try to clean your gutters by getting up on the roof — leave that to the pros.

Have a Helper on Hand

Ask a friendly helper to help stabilize your ladder, or to help you manage any of your equipment as you go along. A second set of eyes and hands can be really helpful if your ladder is wobbly or if you drop anything while you’re up there.

Get the Right Hose Attachment

With the right attachment, your standard garden hose can be the perfect tool to clean your gutters. Look for a telescoping gutter cleaning wand or similar attachment for your hose. Alternatively, you can get the same job done with a bucket, a scoop, and heavy-duty gloves.

Clean Them Regularly

The key to an easy experience cleaning your gutters is to clean them regularly — so if it’s been a while since your gutters have been cleaned, maybe bring in a pro the first time, and then you can take over in the future. Ideally, try to clean your gutters at least yearly —  once per year in the fall, after all of the leaves have fallen, and then possibly once again in the spring if you live in a place where the trees drop their leaves throughout the winter. As with many yard and household tasks, keeping up with the work keeps the job simple, and helps you to spot any potential damage or gutter issues before they become a major headache.

Clean Your Downspouts, too

“Gutter cleaning” gets all the attention, but if we’re being thorough, we should really say “gutter and downspout” cleaning. Once your gutters have been cleaned well, spray some water down the downspouts powerfully to see if there are any blockages (which you might dislodge in the process). If the water doesn’t come out as forcefully as it’s being put in, a plumbing snake can be used to clear out any collected debris and to keep the water flowing smoothly down and away from your home.

Keep an Eye Out for Damage

As you go through the process of cleaning your gutters, you’re going to get an up-close look at the state of them. Take note of anywhere you see damaged gutters, or places where they might be coming loose. Also try to notice anywhere the water tends to pool, rather than running smoothly towards the downspout – these places can show where the gutters aren’t sitting properly, and they can become problem spots of collected debris or even a breeding ground for mosquitos in the future. Contact your local roofing company to help you get your gutters in good shape … before you need a roof leak repair, instead.

Cleaning your gutters is the kind of job you can definitely do for yourself, but we’re also here if you’d like to save yourself the hassle and let us take care of things. We’ve got years of experience and we’re happy to come give you a free estimate – you might be surprised to find that it’s one task you’d be just as happy letting us take care of for you!