How to Clean Gutters Clogged With Fall Leaves

Fall is the perfect time for cleaning out gutters. They should be as clear as possible so leaves don’t cause clogs and send water into your home, creating major damage. We’ve put together a few gutter-cleaning tips to help make sure you and your home are safe all winter long.

What You Need for Cleaning Out Rain Gutters

When cleaning out rain gutters, there are several things you’ll want to have on hand to keep both you and your home safe:

  • Gloves and protective eyewear: This allows you to grab twigs and debris without harm and keeps you from getting any dirt or debris in your eyes – an especially dangerous proposition when you’re one story up on a ladder.
  • A sturdy ladder: Make sure you use one that doesn’t wobble.
  • Garden hose and trowel: Use these tools to scoop out debris and flush away leftovers. You can find special gutter scoops at your local hardware store, which can be great if you don’t have a trowel or if your trowel doesn’t fit.
  • Buckets or trash bags: If your ladder has something you can hang buckets on toward the top, we recommend using one bucket to hold your gear and the second to put debris into, making cleanup easier. If you don’t have a location for a bucket, then use trash bags to keep cleanup easy.
  • Bead silicone sealing: This optional product will fill any holes or leaks you find.

Getting Started Cleaning Out Rain Gutters

Learning how to clean clogged cutters is relatively easy. However, you’ll want to keep moving your ladder so you’re not reaching too far, which can make it a time-consuming chore.

Here are the steps to follow for how to clean gutters:

  1. Place your ladder in a secure spot near a gutter downspout.
  2. Use the trowel or your hands to remove large debris, working away from the spout.
  3. Move your ladder once it’s clear, within an easy arm’s reach.
  4. Continue to clean, moving away from the downspout.
  5. When finished, use your garden hose to flush water and small debris toward the spout.
  6. Look for leaks, missing spikes and other issues as you clean. These can often be repaired and sealed simply.
  7. Move on to the next area of your gutter and repeat.

Use Pressure for Cleaning Out Gutters

If you’ve inspected your gutters and everything is securely held in place with screws or spikes, then you can typically use a pressure washer on your gutters. Make sure this isn’t your first attempt at using a power washer and keep the angle as low and even as possible – you don’t want to aim too high and hit the underside of shingles, knocking them off your roof.

When You Should Call Someone

It’s pretty easy to learn how to clean clogged gutters, and in most situations you or someone in your home can do it safely and easily. However, if one of the following two situations applies to you, we recommend you look for outside help:

  • You have a hard time balancing when you reach high up. Cleaning your gutters could put you at significant risk of falling off the ladder, which would cause serious injury or even death from that height.
  • If powerlines hang low near any portion of your home, it’s always worth the money to have a professional clean your gutters. It only takes a second for a mistake near a powerline to cost you your life.

By using these gutter cleaning tips, you can enjoy the winter snow and spring rain without worrying about clogs.

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