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How to Clean High Gutters: 4 Best Methods

Person standing on a ladder to reach a home's second story gutters
December 29, 2023
Angela Stringfellow
Read Time
5 minutes

Maintaining clean and debris-free gutters is important for the long-term integrity and value of your home. In most cases, you’ll want to clean out your gutters twice a year to dislodge any clogs inside your gutters and keep the water flowing freely toward your downspouts.

(If you choose our LeafFilter Gutter Protection System, you can enjoy having less maintenance and a system that works FOR you to actively block debris from building up inside your gutters.

Cleaning out gutters on a one-story home can be challenging enough, and to avoid the risks of falling from a ladder, we recommend you always clean them from the ground. If your home is two stories or higher, the task becomes even more challenging and potentially dangerous.

In this guide, we’ll share our recommendations on how to clean high gutters.

In this article:

Two Methods We Urge You to Avoid!

You can use the following two methods to clean out your high gutters, but we don’t necessarily recommend them. There’s a risk of injury, and it’s simply not worth potentially hurting yourself.

Gutter Cleaning from a Ladder

If you have a ladder extension that will reach your high gutters, you may be tempted to use it to clean out those gutters.

This is possible and can be effective, but keep in mind that there are over 500,000 ladder-related injuries and 300 ladder-related fatalities every year, according to the American Ladder Institute.

If you decide to use a ladder to clean out your high gutters, make ladder safety your top priority.

An ordinary household ladder isn’t the safest option when it comes to ladders for this kind of task. Choose one that’s fully equipped with safety features and the proper mechanics for use on a roof, and then secure it by tying it off to a sturdy anchor point or by using ladder stabilizers.

Next, have someone with you at all times to serve as a spotter. It’s this person’s job to alert you to any safety hazards and to hand you any tools or equipment you may need.

Avoid cleaning during rainy or windy conditions, as they increase the risks of injury, and take regular breaks to rest and drink water.

Also, follow the “3-points-of-contact” rule when climbing—keep two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times. If you feel worried or uncomfortable at any point, stop and try one of the other preferred methods.

Gutter Cleaning from the Roof

This is another common method of cleaning out high gutters, but again, it can be very dangerous. You’ll need a ladder to reach the roof, and you’ll then be spending considerable time near the edge, which can put you at risk of falling.

Slippery or icy roofs, hot temperatures, and heavy winds can increase the risk of a fall from a roof. It’s also worth noting that steep roofs are more difficult to navigate, while older roofs may break under foot traffic, resulting in injury.

We highly recommend you avoid both these methods and clean out your gutters from the ground instead, and if you do get up on the roof, stay away from the edge.

Use long tools that allow you to easily reach inside your gutters (such as a hose and sprayer wand or long scraper) and only work in good weather.

Cleaning out your gutters from the ground is a much safer option. Below are four different ways you can accomplish the task.

Method 1: Pressure Washer Attachment

Flushing your gutters with water is a good way to clean them out. Start with your downspouts; check them at ground level first and use a gutter scoop or trowel to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris.

Next, use a gutter cleaning attachment on your pressure washer. These are available at home improvement stores or online, and are curved at the end to allow you to access your gutters. Most will also have extensions that can reach inside your high gutters.

Again, start with the downspout, and using a low-pressure flow, check to see that water is moving freely through. If not, remove any clogs there before proceeding to the rest of the gutter system.

Next, use a general rinse to wet down the material inside the gutters. Then, add detergent to the pressure washer tank, and gradually move from the middle of the gutter system to the right downspout, and then from the middle to the left.

Watch to see that the debris is flowing through the downspout. If it’s not, you may need to clean out the downspout again.

Let the detergent sit in the gutters for 10-15 minutes, then rinse everything out and you’re done.

Method 2: Wet/Dry Vacuum Attachment

You can also find gutter-cleaning attachments for wet/dry vacuums at home improvement stores and online. Like pressure washer attachments, these are also curved at the end to allow easier access to the inside of your gutters.

Attach an extension and the gutter-cleaning tool to the hose, turn on the vacuum, and steadily move from one end of the gutters to the other. Empty the vacuum as needed when it gets full so you won’t lose suction.

After you’ve collected all the debris, use a hose extension to flush the gutters out with water.

Method 3: Use a Leaf Blower Attachment

If you have a leaf blower, you can also use that to clean out your high gutters. Again, you’ll need an extension and a gutter-cleaning attachment.

First, clean out your downspouts, then use the leaf blower to go along and blow debris out of your gutters.

If most of your debris consists of loose sticks and leaves, this method should work well for you. However, if you have dirt and grime, or other more stubborn items, you may be better off using a pressure washer.

Method 4: Hire a Professional

This is by far the preferred method of gutter cleaning if you have high gutters. Professional gutter cleaners have the equipment and the training needed to do the job safely and efficiently.

Having your gutters professionally cleaned will cost more than a DIY solution, and your home’s size will affect pricing.

However, if you factor in the money you’ll save from not having to buy the equipment, the convenience of not finding the time to do it yourself, plus not having to potentially risk injury, this cost is more than worth it.

Best Recommendation: Choose LeafFilter!

Here at LeafFilter, we’re all about saving you time while preserving the integrity of your home. If you choose the LeafFilter Gutter System, you’ll find our patented, award-winning technology will block even the smallest debris from slipping into your gutters.

That, plus our limited lifetime transferable warranty, guarantees that you’ll never have to worry about cleaning out your gutters again. You deserve to have one less “to-do” item on your list! Give us a call today at 1-855-978-2259 for a free quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean out gutters you cannot reach?

The best way to clean out high gutters is from the ground. Use an attachment on your pressure washer, wet/dry vacuum, or leaf blower to gain access to the gutters. As an alternative, hire a professional gutter cleaning company.

Is there a tool to clean out gutters without a ladder?

There are many tools available that allow you to use the devices you may already have to clean out your high gutters. Check your home improvement store or look online for “gutter cleaning attachments.”

What’s the best way to clean high gutters?

The best option is not to have to clean them out at all! If you choose LeafFilter, you don’t have to worry about cleaning them out twice a year. Otherwise, using a pressure washer with a gutter-cleaning attachment is probably the most efficient way to dislodge dirt, grime, and debris.

Is it safe to lean a ladder against a gutter?

This is usually a bad idea. The gutter may not be sturdy enough to support the ladder, which increases the risk of a fall. Instead, if you must use a ladder, lean it against a brick wall or another sturdy surface.

How big of a ladder do I need to clean gutters?

For a two-story house with high gutters, you’ll need a ladder that can extend between 19 and 22 feet or more. The ladder should extend far enough that you don’t have to use the top run to reach your gutters.