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How to Clean Second Story Gutters Yourself

January 9, 2024
Angela Stringfellow
Read Time
4 minutes

If you live in a single-story house, it’s likely you can reach your gutters with the help of a stepladder. You might also have good luck cleaning out low gutters with a garden hose or a leaf blower. It’s not the most fun job, but it is manageable most of the time.

What happens, though, when you live in a house with two or more stories? Your second-story gutters might be 20 or more feet up from the ground, so you certainly can’t reach them with a small stepladder. How can you safely clean second-story gutters by yourself?

Keep reading for a primer on cleaning out and unclogging those high gutters.

In this article:

Cleaning Out Your Second-Story Gutters with a Ladder

In general, we recommend not using a ladder to clean out your gutters unless you’re very comfortable with doing so, as the risk of a fall might outweigh the benefit of cleaning out your gutters yourself.

If you have any doubts about your ability to do this safely, consider calling in a professional to clean out your gutters or explore ways to clean out your gutters from the ground.

What You Need

Here’s what you need in order to clean out second-story gutters with a ladder:

  • An adequately sized ladder, such as an extension ladder
  • Safety harness
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Gutter scoop (or a hand trowel)
  • Bucket
  • Tarp, wheelbarrow, or some other receptacle to collect debris
  • Garden hose with a spray attachment
  • Soft bristle brush (optional)

Steps to Take

  1. Set up your work area. Stabilize the ladder, preferably with the help of an adult partner. You can read some important safety information about how to set up a ladder at
  2. Use your safety equipment. Put on your work gloves and goggles, and attach the safety harness. Better safe than sorry!
  3. Start by removing loose debris. Use your gutter scoop or hand trowel to scoop out the leaves, twigs, and other loose debris. Place the debris in your bucket.

You’ll need to go up and down the ladder, periodically moving it so you can clean out the entire length of your gutters down each side of the house. As you go, empty the bucket onto a tarp or into a wheelbarrow.

  1. Check and clear the downspouts. As you get to a downspout, remove any debris blocking the tops of the drains.
  2. Rinse with a garden hose. Now, using your hose’s spray attachment, begin rinsing any small debris, dirt, and muck that’s left inside your gutters. You may need to clean out the downspouts by spraying water up and down if they’re clogged.
  3. Scrub the outsides of your gutters. If desired, you can use a soft bristle brush to scrub the outside of your gutters to keep them looking clean and fresh.

Cleaning Out Your Second-Story Gutters Without a Ladder

It’s preferable to clean out your gutters without a ladder, though we recognize this can be a challenge with second-story gutters. Here are two ways you can do it.

Extension Poles

One way to clean out your second-story gutters without a ladder is by using a scoop or brush attached to a long pole. You’ll stand on the ground and use the extension pole to direct the tool into the gutters.

This type of gutter-cleaning tool is suitable for removing relatively dry materials like leaves and twigs. However, it won’t do a very thorough job, and might not be enough for clearing clogs inside gutters.

Leaf Blower Attachments

Another option is to use a leaf blower attachment to blow leaves and other dry materials out of your gutters. Again, this isn’t going to work well for wet or packed debris.

Also, it will result in the leaves scattering and falling to the ground. For that reason, avoid cleaning out your gutters with a leaf blower right after raking the lawn, as you’ll need to rake afterward.

Here is more information about how to clean out your gutters without a ladder, including how to use a garden hose or pressure washer. You might find one of these methods to be right for you.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning out your second-story gutters yourself can be problematic and risky. Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to worry about clogs inside your gutters again? Fortunately, our LeafFilter gutter guard system promises just that!

Our award-winning, patented technology blocks even the smallest debris—including shingle grit and pollen—from entering your gutters and only allows water through, so your gutters remain clog-free. Our gutter guards also come with a limited lifetime transferable warranty, giving you peace of mind knowing that your home is protected.

Call us today at 1-888-385-0199 to learn more, and find out why over 1.5 million homeowners have trusted LeafFilter to protect their homes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to avoid having to clean out second-story gutters?

Yes. You can have gutter guards such as our LeafFilter gutter protection system professionally installed. Our award-winning gutter protection system significantly reduces the amount of time, energy, and money you’ll spend on gutter maintenance. LeafFilter gutter guards are backed by a limited lifetime transferable warranty and our clog-free guarantee.

What if I don’t clean out my gutters?

Neglecting your gutters can lead to a wide range of issues, from ice dams building up on your roof to water damage to your siding or foundation. It’s important to keep your gutters cleaned out, free from clogs, and flowing smoothly to avoid these issues.

What is the 4 to 1 rule for ladders?

An important ladder safety rule is that for every four feet off the ground before touching the wall, the ladder should be one foot away from the base of the wall. For example, if your ladder is touching your wall 20 feet up, the bottom of the ladder should be five feet away from the wall at the bottom for adequate stability.