The Right Way To Clean Your Gutters

It’s fall, and that means it’s time to get those gutters cleaned before winter sets in—especially before real snowfall comes your way.

There are a number of reasons this chore is important. If the gutter can’t do its job of moving water safely away from your house, it can cause plenty of problems, including the dangers of a soggy foundation.

Untended and clogged gutters also collect pools of water, which can cause rust or rot, not to mention make a home for unwanted mosquitos. Rotting debris can attract pests. And buildup can actually pull the gutters away from the house.

So to keep your home looking nice and to avoid damage, clean your gutters at least once a year, and clean them right. Here are tips to help you get your gutters clean easily and safely.

To Make It Easier:

  • Get and install a ladder hook to hold a bucket for debris. It’ll make it easier to collect and then trash instead of tossing everything down onto the lawn and having to clean it up again later.
  • Use a garden trowel to scoop debris out.
  • Bring a paint stir stick to scrape build up off the bottom. It’s the right size, and it’s strong enough to do the job without harming the gutter.
  • Start at a downspout and work away.
  • If it’s feasible, and if your roof has a low enough pitch to be fairly safe to walk on, then it’s a good idea to rake leaves and debris off the roof so the next storm doesn’t send them right back down to clog the drains you’ve just worked hard to clean.
  • Use a ladder stabilizer or thin 2×4 to keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.

To Keep Yourself Safe:

  • Work from a ladder if possible. It’s safer than getting on the roof.
  • Use standard ladder safety. That means making sure it’s stable and on level ground. Remember not to lean out over the sides, and to stay off the top two rungs. And keep two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times (it’s known as the 3-point system).
  • Never work in dangerous conditions. If it’s wet, stormy, icy, or windy, then it’s not the right day to do this job.
  • Wear protective gear, including safety glasses or goggles, a dust mask, and gloves.

Of course, for you as a homeowner, the easiest and safest way to get the gutters clean is to hire someone else to do it. If you don’t have the time, equipment, or maneuverability to do it yourself, bringing in a professional may be the way to go.

And if your gutters are on the second story of your house, then hiring professionals is definitely the safer choice (unless, of course, you happen to be a professional yourself).

But if you’re aiming to save money, spend time outside, and feel the satisfaction of getting things done and taking care of your own home, then DIY is the way to go.

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