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Got Gross Gunk Growing In Your Gutters? How To Effectively Clean Them Out

March 2, 2024
Got Gross Gunk Growing In Your Gutters? How To Effectively Clean Them Out

Having clogged and dirty gutters can lead to a host of problems around your home. Overflowing gutters can cause water damage to fascia boards, soffits, exterior walls and foundations. Clogged gutters also provide an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed. And it just looks bad! Luckily, cleaning gutters is a do-it-yourself project that can be done in an afternoon. Here’s everything you need to know to get your gutters clean and keep them working properly.

Why It’s Important To Clean Gutters

Keeping gutters clean and flowing properly serves several purposes:

Prevent Water Damage

Clogged gutters overflow and the water winds up where you don’t want it – on exterior walls, fascia, soffits, and foundations. This constant moisture can cause peeling paint, rotted wood, moisture in basements and crawlspaces, and damage to masonry and concrete.

Prevent Mosquitoes

Standing water in clogged gutters is a breeding spot for mosquitoes. And no one wants more mosquitoes buzzing around their property!

Protect Landscaping

By channeling water properly through downspouts, clean gutters prevent soil erosion around your home’s foundation and keep water directed away from landscaping beds.

Maintain Curb Appeal

Dirty, clogged and overflowing gutters just look bad. And they can detract from your home’s appearance.

When To Clean Gutters

Aim to clean gutters at least twice per year – in the spring and fall. Spring cleaning gets rid of any debris that accumulated over winter so everything will flow properly during the rainy spring season. And fall gutter cleaning at the end of the leaf-dropping season prevents clogs from leaves and sticks over winter.

Some additional times you may want to clean gutters include:

  • After a major storm if you notice overflow or pooling water.

  • If you notice any leaks or water damage.

  • If you see water pooling anywhere around the foundation.

  • If you have a lot of overhanging trees, more frequent cleaning may be needed.

Cleaning Gutter Tools You’ll Need

Cleaning gutters doesn’t require a lot of specialized tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A ladder tall enough to safely reach the gutters
  • Goggles for eye protection
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • A garden trowel or small shovel
  • A bucket or wheelbarrow to collect debris
  • A garden hose with a nozzle/sprayer attachment

Optional handy tools include:

  • A cordless drill with a gutter cleaning attachment
  • A gutter scoop/scraper tool

How To Clean Gutters In 5 Steps

Cleaning gutters is a straight-forward process. Just take care when working off ladders and use caution on the roof. Here are the basic steps:

1. Inspect and remove large debris

Put on your gloves and goggles. Bring your bucket or wheelbarrow, trowel, and ladder to the first gutter needing cleaned. Carefully climb up and begin removing all large debris – sticks, leaves, pine needles, etc by hand. Just toss it all into your bucket or wheelbarrow.

Also inspect the gutters at this time for any damaged or loose sections that may need repair.

2. Break up small debris

Use your trowel or small shovel to gently break up any debris stuck to the bottom of the gutter. Small amounts can be left in place to be sprayed out in the next steps.

3. Spray out gutters with water

Using a garden hose on a spray setting, thoroughly spray each section of gutter. Aim the water at any remaining debris to wash it down the downspouts.

4. Check downspouts for clogs

Make sure to spray out all downspouts as well to ensure no clogs remain. Remove any stuck debris you may find.

5. Check drainage

Finally, watch where all downspouts are draining. Make sure water is directed away from the house foundation and landscaping beds where you don’t want pooling water.

Make any adjustments needed if drainage isn’t ideal. And consider installing downspout extenders to fully direct water away from the house.

Then it’s just a matter of repeating the process for all gutters around your home! It’s always satisfying to see all the gunk get cleared away and have clean gutters working properly again.

Prevent Clogs With Gutter Guards

To avoid frequent gutter cleaning, consider installing gutter guards or gutter covers. These fit over gutters and feature holes or mesh that allow water in while keeping leaves and debris out.

Units are available for around $1-$4 per foot of gutter, with professional installation running $4-$8 per foot. DIY versions can also be purchased. This can be a great hassle-free solution if you have overhanging trees.

Hire A Professional For Seamless Gutters or High Roofs

Cleaning gutters can be a dangerous chore on high roofs or multi-story homes. And there’s risk of damaging seamless gutters if you aren’t careful. In these situations, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service. They have the proper high ladders, tools, and experience to safely access and clean delicate gutters and high reaches.

Costs for professional cleaning average $150-$250 for a two-story home. To make the expense more worthwhile, get on a regular cleaning schedule with the company.

So there you have it! That’s everything you need to know to handle the dirty job of clearing out a clogged gutter system. Just get your tools ready, take proper safety precautions, and be prepared to deal with some nasty gunk. But once finished, you’ll once again have a properly functioning gutter system free of leaks, overflows, and mosquito breeding spots!

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