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Cleaning Out Clogged Gutters Properly

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Cleaning Out Clogged Gutters Properly


Clogged gutters can lead to a number of problems if left unattended. Cleaning them out properly is important for protecting your home and foundation. Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning out clogged gutters the right way.

Safety Precautions

  • Wear protective gear – Gloves, goggles, and sturdy shoes are recommended to protect your hands, eyes, and feet while working on ladders and handling debris.

  • Use a ladder safely – Set it up on level ground and have someone hold the ladder steady. Never lean too far to the side.

  • Avoid powerlines – Make sure ladders and extension poles stay at least 10 feet away from any overhead power lines.

  • Work with a partner – Have someone available to hold ladders and help monitor the job.

  • Check for bee or wasp nests – Use caution if you find any to avoid getting stung.

Inspection and Cleaning Tools

  • Gutter scoop or trowel – Helps scoop out leaves and debris.

  • Garden hose – For flushing out the gutters with water.

  • Bucket or bin – For collecting the debris you remove.

  • Ladder – Use a sturdy, slip-resistant ladder tall enough to safely reach the gutters.

  • Goggles and work gloves – Protect your eyes from debris and hands from sharp objects.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

1. Inspect Gutters for Problems

  • Walk around your home and inspect the gutters for any apparent blockages or leaks.

  • Note areas that are holding standing water or look overflowed.

  • Check for leaks by looking for water stains or rotting wood facia behind the gutters.

  • Make sure downspouts are secure and clear of debris.

2. Clear Gutters of Debris

  • Use a gutter scoop or trowel to loosen leaves, sticks and other debris.

  • Be careful not to damage or pull off the gutter sections.

  • Sweep and collect debris into a bucket or bin as you go.

3. Flush Gutters with Water

  • Use a garden hose with a high pressure nozzle to spray inside the gutters.

  • Flush debris down the downspouts.

  • Check that water is able to flow freely through any problem areas.

4. Check Drainage and Flow

  • Make sure downspouts are draining water several feet away from the home’s foundation.

  • Install downspout extenders if needed.

  • Check for level gutters so water doesn’t pool in any low spots.

5. Clean Out Downspouts

  • Remove any elbows or pieces of the downspout.

  • Clear clogs with a hose or plumber’s snake.

  • Make sure water can flow freely from gutter to the ground.

6. Address Any Leaks or Structural Issues

  • Patch small holes using gutter sealant.

  • For larger holes, replace the affected gutter section.

  • If gutters are sagging or pulling away, use screws to refasten them to the fascia.

  • For heavy debris damage, bent gutters, or rotting fascia, consider professional gutter replacement.

Preventative Maintenance

  • Install gutter guards to prevent debris buildup.

  • Use a leaf blower to clear leaves and debris off the roof and away from gutters.

  • Inspect gutters at least twice per year and after major storms.

  • Flush gutters in the spring and fall to keep them flowing freely.

Hiring a Professional

For severely clogged or damaged gutters, or if working off a ladder is a concern, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service. They have the equipment and expertise to fully clean and inspect your gutters while safely working at heights.


By regularly cleaning out debris, flushing your gutters, and addressing any structural issues, you can prevent future clogs and damage. Following safe practices on ladders and using the proper tools will make the process easier. Addressing clogged gutters promptly using this guide will help keep your home protected.

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