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7 Expert Gutter-Cleaning Tips: How to Maintain Your Gutters Like a Pro

Mathew installing leaffilter on customers gutter
January 17, 2024
Angela Stringfellow
Read Time
5 minutes

Cleaning out your gutters from a ladder can be a time-consuming and potentially dangerous task, especially without the proper training and equipment.

On the other hand, neglecting your gutters is a bad idea. Unless you have the LeafFilter Gutter Protection System (which is guaranteed to keep your gutters clog-free), you’ll probably need to clean out your gutters at least once or twice a year to release clogs and keep the water flowing freely.

So how do you do that while taking the proper steps to avoid getting hurt? Follow these seven expert gutter-cleaning tips to safely maintain your gutters like a pro.

In this article:

1. Clean Out Your Gutters from the Ground

This is always the safest way to approach gutter cleaning—just stay off the ladder entirely! The most effective way to clean out your gutters from the ground is to use a pressure washer with a gutter-cleaning attachment. Then you can go along spraying out your gutters with the pressure washer, which will help dislodge any clogs and clear built-up leaves and debris out of your gutters.

You may also use a wet/dry vacuum with a gutter-cleaning attachment to vacuum out all the gunk. As long as you regularly empty the vacuum tank, this method can work well.

A leaf blower with a gutter-cleaning attachment may also work, depending on the debris you’re dealing with. If it’s mostly dry leaves and sticks, the leaf blower may work just fine, but if you have moist or wet leaves, dirt, and pine needles, you’ll be better off with a wet/dry vacuum or pressure washer.

2. Invest in the Right Tools

To properly clean your gutters from the ground, you’ll need the right tools. We mentioned several of the most important gutter-cleaning tools above: a pressure washer, wet/dry vacuum, or leaf blower with the proper attachments.

It’s also important to have quality eye protection, gloves, a gutter scoop or trowel to clean out the bottom of your downspouts, and tarps that you can put over flower beds, bushes, and anything else you want to protect from flying debris while you’re cleaning out your gutters.

3. Clean Out Your Gutters Twice a Year

The best way to save yourself from having to climb a ladder is to have a regular gutter-cleaning schedule each year. For example, it’s a good idea to clean out your gutters twice yearly: once in the spring and once in the fall.

Regular gutter cleanings help prevent the build-up of stubborn dirt and debris that can be more difficult to remove. If you wait too long, sometimes even a pressure washer may not be able to dislodge stubborn clogs. (Plus, you have to be careful not to use too much pressure or you could damage your gutters.)

Instead, clean out your gutters in the spring once the snow has melted to give your gutters a fresh start on the season. Then, clean them out again in the fall after the trees have shed their leaves. If you have a lot of tree cover around your home, you may need to clean out your gutters more often.

Set reminders on your phone or a calendar. Committing to the task regularly usually means you can clean out your gutters quicker and with fewer issues.

4. Inspect Your Downspouts Once a Month

You can get a jump on any potential clogs inside your gutters by keeping a watchful eye on your downspouts.

Once a month, check them at ground level to see that they are still clear. If not, scoop out any debris you see with a gutter scoop or trowel. Then use a garden hose or pressure washer attachment to funnel water through the downspout to ensure it’s flowing freely.

If there’s a clog inside your downspout, use a plumber’s snake to dislodge any debris that may be stopping the water. You can also point your pressure washer up into the downspout to loosen a clog.

If plain water doesn’t do the trick, add some cleaning solution to it (anything that is approved for use in your pressure washer), spray it up into the downspout, and then let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing your downspout clean.

5. Trim Trees and Branches Near the Roof

You can make life easier for yourself by tackling the cause of many clogged gutters. Trees are often the most common source of debris, and if you have several around your house, you may be dealing with more debris than usual.

Check around your home for any overhanging trees and branches that may be dropping twigs and leaves onto your roof (and into your gutters) throughout the year. Then, take out a long-armed tree saw and trim these areas back so they’re no longer depositing material that can lead to clogs inside your gutters. You can also hire a professional tree-trimming service to handle this task for you.

6. Regularly Inspect Your Gutters

Gutters can get clogged quickly, particularly after a heavy rainstorm or during a harsh winter. Look for ice dams, loose gutters, broken downspouts, overflowing gutters, stains on your siding,  and other problems as you walk around your home. You also want to check the gutters for holes, sagging sections, or rust.

If you see any of these problems, take action. It may be time to clean out your gutters or to hire a professional gutter cleaning service to clean out and repair them. Catching any issues early can save you money and hassle in the long run.

7. Invest in LeafFilter Gutter Guards

Our LeafFilter Gutter Protection System is designed to keep out all types of debris, including pine needles, shingle grit, seed pods, and more. It’s professionally installed directly onto your existing gutters, and once in place, keeps everything but the water out.

Our award-winning, patented 3-piece system includes:

  1. a steel micromesh screen that keeps out debris
  2. a durable uPVC frame with a built-in pitch that helps shed whatever debris that falls on it
  3. structural hangers that will make your existing gutter system stronger than before

Lastly, our limited lifetime transferable warranty, promises you’ll never have to worry about clogs inside your gutters again!

Final Thoughts

While you can clean out your gutters yourself, this necessary chore can be dangerous and is best left to the professionals. Fortunately, LeafFilter’s gutter guard system provides a simple, long-lasting solution that’s guaranteed to keep your gutters clog-free for decades to come.

Join the 1.5 million customers who have already entrusted their homes to LeafFilter. Call us today at 1-877-318-0370 to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do most companies charge to clean out gutters?

The average cost of hiring a contractor to clean out your gutters for you is about $200. However, depending on your location, the size of your house, and the ease of access to the gutters, the price may range from $75 to $450.

When is the best time to clean out your gutters?

It’s usually best to clean out your gutters once in the spring and once in the fall. Cleaning out your gutters in the spring helps remove any dirt and grime that accumulated from the winter weather. Cleaning them out in late autumn helps remove fallen leaves and sticks so water can flow freely through your gutters during the winter.

What will clean black streaks off gutters?

You can find specially designed gutter cleaning solutions that help remove streaks on your gutters. Check with your local home improvement store or look online for products like Gutter Zap and Gutter Butter.

What is the most common problem with gutters?

The most common problem with gutters occurs when debris accumulates inside them and blocks the flow of water. This can result in water overflow, leaks, gutter sagging and breakage, and water damage to your attic and foundation.

How do you clean out your gutters quickly?

You can clean out your gutters more quickly if you clean on a regular schedule—at least twice a year. That way, debris has a smaller chance to build up and cause clogs, and cleaning won’t take you very long. Also, using the right tools—such as a pressure washer—can help the job go more smoothly.