How to Make Your Gutters Squeaky Clean (and Why You Need to) 

gutters with red and yellow leaves overflowing in it

You need to get your mind in your gutter twice a year (figuratively speaking, of course). If you leave your gutters alone for too long, you may find yourself with: 

  • Birds and tiny animals making nests in them. 
  • Tiny plants growing inside them.
  • Expensive water damage to your roof and attic due to clogs and ice dams. 
  • Expensive water damage in your home’s lower levels thanks to clogs. 
  • Sagging gutters from too much dirt, debris, and clogs. 

As fall approaches (and gutter cleaning season), our experts put together this quick guide to how to clean your gutters with tips, tricks, and other super important information. 

“After the seeds fall and after the leaves fall”

leaves turning colors on a tree - cleaning your gutters and downspouts
It’s almost time to clean the gutters.

How often should you clean your gutters? Experts recommend a regular gutter cleaning at least twice a year. If you live where trees shed their leaves, you may want to clean your gutters and downspouts in late spring and late fall – “after the seeds fall and after the leaves fall.” 

Live near pine trees? you may have to do it more frequently – every three months to prevent debris from creating clogs. 

If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you may want to clean them even more frequently to prevent dried leaves from becoming fire hazards. 

The tools and supplies to get the job done 

a homeowner wearing green gloves and cleaning out gutters
Protect your hands!

Make sure to use work gloves plus latex gloves as gutters have muck, dirt, leaves, debris, and as we mentioned earlier, potentially nests. (Don’t be bitten by Chip or Dale!)  

Depending on the size of your house and other factors, your gutter cleaning project may require some or all of the following items: 

  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle.
  • Extension or step ladder. 
  • Ladder stabilizer. 
  • Gutter cleaning tools, including a trowel or scoop, cleaning wand, or telescoping extension pole.
  • Gutter sealant. 
  • Bucket(s). 
  • Pressure washer. 
  • Plumbing snake.

Gutters were not designed to take the weight of an extension ladder, so if you’ll be using one, make sure to use a ladder stabilizer. Also, always place your ladder on solid, even ground. 

Now – get down and get dirty

a homeowner in orange gloves cleaning out the gutters
Your gutters are more important than you think!

As always, if you ever feel uncomfortable about a home maintenance or improvement project, call professional gutter cleaning services. However, if you’re able and ready, here are a few tips to help get your gutters squeaky clean. 

  • Place your ladder on solid, even ground and use a ladder stabilizer if need be. (Make sure to keep three touch points – one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot – at all times.)
  • Scoop out the dirt and debris from the gutters either using your hands (with gloves), a trowel, or other gutter tools. Put the muck in a secured bucket. 
  • Once you’ve cleaned out of the muck, remove the downspout screens and flush the entire gutter. 
  • If you see any places where water escapes the drainage area, seal it up with gutter sealant. 
  • Check the downspout to see if the water is flowing freely. If you notice any hesitation or a slower than usual water flow, you may have a clog. 
  • If you have a clog, place the garden hose with a spray nozzle at the bottom opening of the downspout. If the clog remains, try using a plumbing snake to clear the area. 
  • Replace the downspout screen and flush the area again to make sure the water is flowing smoothly.
  • Check that the gutters and downspouts are secured to the house, and if they’re not, secure them. 
  • Finish up by washing the exterior of the gutter system. This can be done easily and efficiently with a pressure washer.

How long does it take to clean your gutters?

That generally depends upon the size of your home. Content Writer Susie and her sister cleaned their home’s gutters in a little under an hour; however, a larger house or a home with gutters and downspouts in disrepair may take longer. 

Afraid of heights? 

If using a ladder is not your thing, then consider buying a set of tools that help extend your reach. Gutter wands, pressure washer attachments, even a leaf blower attachment can all help to make sure you stay safe while clearing your gutters and downspouts. 

If you have a multi-story home or feel uncomfortable completing this project, then hire a “gutter cleaning professional near me” who can take care of this for you. 

Have a standing water problem?

worker fixes the gutter system on the roof - cleaning gutters and downspouts
Are your gutters sloped correctly?

If you noticed any standing water while flushing the gutters, then your gutters may not be sloping properly. They should slope ¼” toward the downspout for every 10 feet of gutter. A super handy homeowner may be able to fix this issue with a drill. If you’re not super handy, we recommend calling a roofing professional for gutter cleaning and repair.

It is important to complete this step as water damage from your gutters can be incredibly expensive, especially if it leads to mold and mildew.

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