How to Clean Gutters

Many homeowners take their gutters for granted. They think that if they ignore the fact that they are clogged with leaves and other debris, the problem will eventually go away. But of course it doesn’t work that way. It only gets worse, and could eventually lead to sagging gutters, flooded basements or even foundation problems. Watch this video and learn the basics of cleaning your gutters and downspouts.

Tools

Steps

  1. How to Clean Your Gutters - Step 1

    Remove gutter covers.

  2. How to Clean Your Gutters - Step 2

    Scoop out debris with a tool or with your hands. Be sure to wear gloves.

  3. How to Clean Your Gutters - Step 3

    Flush the gutter with water and check for proper flow.

  4. How to Clean Your Gutters - Step 4

    Check the down spouts for any lodged debris. Put the hose on full force and spray down the spout. If the volume of water coming out is less, there is a clog.

  5. How to Clean Your Gutters - Step 5

    If there is a clog, remove the nozzle and work the hose up the down spout.

  6. How to Clean Your Gutters - Step 6

    Make sure that all gutters are securely attached and don’t look loose.


Read Video Transcript

Many homeowners take their gutters for granted. They think that if they ignore the fact that they are clogged with leaves and other debris, the problem will eventually go away. But of course it doesn’t work that way. It only gets worse, and could eventually lead to sagging gutters, flooded basements or even foundation problems. So take some time to periodically inspect and clean out your gutters. It doesn’t take that much time, and in the long run, you and your wallet will be glad you did.

Today we’re going to show you how to clean your gutters and downspouts. We’ll show you the proper methods, recommend some tools to make it easier, and give you some safety tips as well.

So let’s get started.

A fact that might surprise you is that an average sized roof can shed nearly 1,000 gallons of water for each inch of rain that falls. That’s a lot of water. When you gutters and downspouts are clogged or sagging, that water overflows out of the gutters and can damage your roof, your gutter boards, and work its way down your foundation and eventually into your basement, where it can lead to mold, mildew and even flooding. When flowing properly, however, your gutters and downspouts carry this water away from your house.

So when is the best time to clean your gutters? The ideal time is after several dry days. The debris in your gutters won’t be as wet, and dry leaves and debris are less messy to remove. A dry day is also a safer time to work on the ladder.

Now let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need. Cleaning gutters requires getting on a ladder, so if you aren’t comfortable with this, be sure to call a licensed professional to do the work. You’ll also probably want some rubber gloves, especially if the contents of your gutters is wet. To keep from climbing up and down the ladder more frequently than necessary, get a large bucket that you can hang from the ladder with a wire. And finally, you’ll also probably want a trowel or a gutter scoop to help you dig debris out of the gutters.

Whenever using a ladder, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the ladder safely.

These gutters don’t have gutter covers, which certainly makes our job easier. While gutter covers dramatically cut down on the amount of debris that gets in your gutters, most will eventually still need to be cleaned, so be sure to pick a cover that can be easily removed for cleaning.

Now it’s time to get up on the ladder and start scooping out the debris. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It just takes some time and persistence on your part. When it’s clean, flush the gutter with clean water to check for proper flow.

After the gutters are clean, check the downspouts for any debris that might be lodged inside. The best way to do this is with a hose and spray nozzle. On the full spray setting, spray down the downspout and check the volume that comes out at the bottom. You’ll be able to tell if there is a clog. If there is, remove the nozzle and work the hose up into the downspout as far as it will go, flushing it with water. This is also a good time to make sure you splash blocks are placed properly and that all your gutters and downspouts are attached securely.

In between regular cleanings, one way to keep your gutters free of debris is to use a gutter wand like you see here. It has a curved head and a telescoping handle that reaches high enough on a single story home to keep from getting the ladder out.

Well there you have it. Now your gutters are now flowing properly. And you’ve taken proper precautionary measures to keep the water away from where it can do a whole lot of damage to your home.

If you have questions about this or any other home improvement project, be sure to read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this video. And be sure to print out our Project Instructions, which includes a Tools and Materials checklist, before visiting your local independent home improvement retailer. That’s where you’ll find all the products and helpful advice to complete your project. If you’re not sure where to find your local store, check out our Store Locator.

Good luck with your project and thanks for watching.

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4 Responses to “How to Clean Gutters”

  1. Clogged gutters are one of the simplest fixes on a home, but if not cleaned can lead to very costly repairs. When we go to work on garage doors throughout Westchester during the winter (where it gets very cold) we always see bad ice damming on roofs. This is almost always associated with clogged gutters. Homeowners would be wise to take care of this during the fall after the leaves fall to prevent problems with their home over the winter.

  2. Please, please, please clean your gutters! I won’t go out of business but you guys need to prevent major damage with this simple step. You really only need to do it a couple times in the fall. You can even install rain gutter guards to avoid this all together.

  3. I suggest twice a year in our part of the country – Northeast. In heavily wooded lots even 3 times a year is great!

  4. Great thanks for sharing this information. You should think about the maintenance of a gutter before the gutter stop working properly. A Gutter cleaning is Very important for smooth and effective water drainage system.

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