How to Clean Your Gutters

how to clean your guttersYou should clean your gutters every spring and fall to make sure that they are equipped to do the job they’ve been installed to do. Without a regular cleaning, debris can build up inside of the gutters, clogging the downspouts and causing the water to run over the side of the gutters, sending it right back towards your home instead of safely removing it.

Remember that you will need to be up on a ladder the entire time. If you’re not a fan of being up on a ladder doing the work yourself, it may be time to call a professional gutter cleaning company like us. We give free estimates, so don’t be shy!

If you’re not afraid of working on ladders, however, and you have the time, here is the step-by-step method for cleaning your gutters.

Step 1: Check the Weather

You want to clean your gutters after you’ve had a few dry days so that you’re not having to deal with wet, muddy leaves. Check the forecast to make sure that the weather will stay dry throughout the entire job.

Step 2: Choose Your Cleaning Method

There are two methods for handling your debris: the scoop and bucket method and the scoop and drop method. You’ll want a good pair of work gloves for either, so keep them handy!

If you’re going to use the scoop and drop method you will need a broad tarp or sheet that can sit beneath your work area. You’ll simply scoop the gutter debris onto the tarp.

If you’re going to use the scoop and bucket method you’ll need a bucket with a hook on it. You’ll hook the bucket to your ladder so that you can easily add the debris to the bucket.

In either method you’ll need a bucket that’s designated for your tools as well. Carry the bucket up the ladder and hook it to the ladder.

Bringing your tools up in a bucket ensures your safety, as they won’t be in your pockets where they might fall out or leave you unbalanced as you fumble for them at the top of the ladder. Usually you’ll need at least a trowel.

Step 3: Remove the Debris

Next you will reach in to remove the debris. You can simply remove loose twigs and leaves with your hands. Debris that’s packed in tight might require the trowel.

Once you’ve pulled out as much as you can use a garden hose to flush the gutters. Watch the downspouts as you do this.

If the water doesn’t flow freely through the downspouts there may be a clog inside. You have two options for dealing with these clogs.

If your hose fits in the downspout you can simply run the hose straight up the downspout with an attachment that gives you a bit of pressure. Use the water to flush out the clog, moving the hose up and down.

If you can’t get your hose into the downspout then your second option would be to use a plumber’s snake, which will allow you to reach in and get to the clog.

You may have to remove the very bottom of the downspout if you can’t get the hose or snake inside. The removal is temporary and you can simply reattach the bottom of the downspout when you are done.

Check the downspout one more time by flushing the gutters once more.

Step 4: Look for Standing Water

The presence of standing water is usually evidence that your gutters will need some repairs. It’s usually a good idea to call in a professional gutter installer at that point.

Step 5: Make the Job Easier in the Future

If you’d like to put a lot less time and effort into maintaining your gutter then you should investigate the possibility of having a gutter guard installed. Gutter guards make your life easier by keeping the debris out of the gutter in the first place.

We have been cleaning and repairing gutters in Brandon and all of central Florida since 1975. If you’d like to investigate having your gutters cleaned, repaired, or fitted with a gutter guard, just call us for a free estimate.


  1. JOHN says:


    • Darren Driscoll says:


      Hey John. You shouldn’t have to clean them at all. The only exception would be if you have a heavily wooded lot and you notice a bunch of twigs and leaves “building up” on top of the leaf guards. This rarely happens though. Truth be told, there really isn’t an 100% maintenance free gutter guard system. Almost any leaf guard system requires some kind of maintenance now and then but any cleaning you’ll have to do will be very minor (if you have to do any at all).


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