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How to Clean Your Gutters: Guide for Homeowners

How to Clean Your Gutters: A Guide for Homeowners

Keeping your rain gutters clear of leaves, debris, and buildup is a homeowner's most important maintenance task. If left unchecked, clogged gutters can lead to water damage, pest problems, flooding, and foundation issues.

Article Outline

  1. A Clean Gutter System Is Essential for Protecting Your Home's Foundation

  2. Which Gutter Cleaning Tools Do You Need?

  3. When Should You Clean Your Gutters?

  4. How Should You Clean Gutters? Step-By-Step Process

  5. Professional Gutter Cleaning: Should You Hire a Service?

  6. Helpful Gutter Cleaning Tips From the Pros

  7. Conclusion and Key Takeaways

Skip the process and have your gutters cleaned right away. Contact us now at Colorado Gutter Professionals.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about cleaning your gutters properly. You’ll learn about the best tools, techniques, and tips from gutter cleaning professionals to help you do the job safely, efficiently, and affordably. Thank you for reading!

Which Gutter Cleaning Tools Do You Need?

Before starting any gutter cleaning project, having the right tools is important to make the job safer, faster, and easier. Here are some of the most essential gutter-cleaning tools:

Gutter Scoop or Trowel

A gutter scoop or small garden trowel lets you scoop out debris by hand. It's useful for removing leaves and small sticks. Look for a scoop with a long handle to avoid climbing ladders repeatedly. I highly recommend the Witte Long Handle Gutter Cleaner tool. It's lightweight and has a wide scoop to clean out leaves quickly. The over 3-foot length helps you access gutters without using a ladder for some areas.

Gutter Cleaning Wand 

This tool attaches to a standard garden hose and has a curved nozzle to flush out debris. The wand lets you spray from the ground and effectively clears loose leaves and dirt. Models with a pressure washer attachment are even more powerful. I recommend looking at wands with a rotatable nozzle that makes cleaning gutters from different angles easy. The Briggs & Stratton pressure washer wand is a great option.


Choose a sturdy A-frame or extension ladder tall enough to reach your gutters safely. Use caution when leaning a ladder against gutters to avoid bending or denting them. Look for ladders with flat steps and pick one specifically designed for gutter cleaning with padded ladder stabilizers to prevent damage. The Little Giant 22-foot multi-use ladder is excellent for accessing gutters on two-story homes.

Gutter Guard Installation Tools

If you want to install gutter guards or screens, you'll need tin snips for cutting metal and a screwdriver to secure them in place according to manufacturer instructions. I recommend using aviation snips for effortless cutting through aluminum and steel gutter guard screens. A cordless drill/driver also helps speed the installation of gutter guards.

When Should You Clean Your Gutters?

Knowing the best time to clean your gutters can help avoid clogs and keep your system working efficiently. Here are tips on scheduling gutter maintenance:

  • Fall - Clean gutters at least twice in the fall to remove leaves. Target the peak of autumn leaf drop in your area. In Colorado, aim to clean gutters in early October and again in late November.

  • Late Winter/Early Spring - Clear out any debris that accumulated over winter before spring rains arrive. Try to clean gutters in March in preparation for April showers.

  • Mid-Summer - Clean gutters after storms or heavy winds that drive leaves and sticks into the gutters. It's smart to do a mid-summer gutter cleaning in July after thunderstorms.

  • Before Big Weather Events - Remove debris before heavy rains or storms or before winter if you live in a region with snow and ice. Clean gutters before blizzards or tropical storms to allow proper drainage.

  • Signs of a Clog - Clean ASAP if you notice overflowing gutters, water pooling around the foundation, or moisture in the basement after rain. Don't delay cleaning if you see water damage.

How Should You Clean Gutters? Step-By-Step Process

Follow these steps for cleaning gutters safely and thoroughly:

  1. Inspect gutters up close for debris and confirm they are angled properly for good drainage. Check for sagging areas or misaligned sections that could impede water flow.

  2. Using a gutter scoop, remove large debris like sticks and branches by hand. Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands.

  3. Use a garden hose attachment or pressure washer wand to spray out small debris. Flush debris down the downspouts.

  4. Inspect gutters and downspouts again after cleaning to ensure they are free-flowing and unobstructed. If you notice any remaining dirt or debris, use a wet/dry shop vac to remove it.

  5. Consider sealing leaks with gutter caulk if you notice small holes or seams allowing water to escape. This prevents water from seeping behind gutters and causing wood rot. 

  6. Install gutter guards or screens to prevent debris accumulation after cleaning. Carefully measure and cut screens to fit your gutter lengths.

Professional Gutter Cleaning: Should You Hire a Service?

Cleaning gutters yourself using ladders can be dangerous if you’re uncomfortable with heights or unable to handle heavy equipment safely. Many homeowners choose to hire a professional gutter cleaning service for safety and convenience. 

Here are some top reasons to hire the pros:

  • They have specialized tools like pole extensions that allow cleaning from the ground. This lets professionals thoroughly clean gutters on two-story homes without using ladders.

  • Gutter service teams work efficiently and can complete homes quicker than DIY cleaning. They know how to clean gutters based on years of experience quickly.

  • Some provide fast service after storms to prevent flood damage. Reputable companies can respond promptly if you experience an overflow or other gutter emergency.

  • Many inspect gutters and downspouts thoroughly while cleaning. A professional assessment of your gutter system can identify issues needing repair.

Ask for local references and verify licensing. Compare gutter cleaning prices and services to find the best value.

Helpful Gutter Cleaning Tips From the Pros

Follow these pro tips to make your DIY gutter cleaning job as smooth as possible:

  • Work slowly on a ladder and maintain three points of contact for stability. Don’t overextend your reach to avoid falling.

  • When clearing by hand, wear thick gloves to protect your hands from sharp debris and gutter grime. Waterproof nitrile gloves hold up best.

  • Rinse debris down the downspouts using a hose attachment. Avoid clogging downspouts, which can lead to water backup and leaks.

  • After cleaning, inspect the full system, including downspouts, to ensure proper drainage. Also, make sure no leaves are trapped in elbows or bends.

  • Schedule cleanings when gardens below the gutters don’t have delicate plants and flowers. Clean gutters before planting or after harvest to prevent damage to your landscaping.

  • Use gutter screw caps on ladder stabilizer feet to prevent scratching or denting gutters when positioning ladders.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

  • Regular gutter cleaning is one of the most important exterior maintenance tasks, as it prevents water damage, foundation problems, and pest issues around your home.

  • Use quality tools, such as gutter scoops, wands, and ladders, specifically designed to make gutter cleaning safer and easier.

  • Hire reputable professional gutter cleaning services if you are uncomfortable working at heights or unable to handle equipment.

  • Clean gutters at least twice per year in spring and fall. Additional cleanings after storms may be needed depending on debris buildup.

  • Work methodically to inspect, remove debris, and then rinse the system completely. Check for proper drainage when finished.

  • Consider installing gutter guards to reduce future maintenance after deep cleaning the gutters initially.

Keeping your rain gutters clear and functioning is one of the smartest ways to protect your home’s exterior and foundation. Follow these gutter cleaning tips and complete cleanings regularly to prevent water damage. Your home will benefit for years to come or get a gutter cleaning subscription from your local gutter cleaning company.

If you're from Metro Denver, contact us at Colorado Gutter Professionals to have your rain gutters serviced.

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