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How to Clean Gutters

Water trapped in gutters can cause major damage to your roof and walls. Maintaining clean gutters helps keep your home in good shape.

Gain access to the roof with a ladder. Don't lean the ladder against a downspout or gutter, which can easily bend or break.

Remove leaves and twigs from gutters by hand or with a large spoon, a gutter scoop or a small garden trowel.

Wet down caked-on dirt, which can be difficult to remove without damaging the gutter itself, then remove it with the gutter scoop or trowel.

Put debris in a bucket or plastic trash bag placed on the roof or ladder. If you use a bag, you can just drop it when it's full.

Check that the downspouts aren't clogged. Use water to unclog your downspouts by placing a garden hose in the opening. But be gentle at first; downspouts aren't designed to withstand the same pressure as a house drain. If a plugged downspout can't be cleared with a hose, use a small plumber's snake or an unbent clothes hanger. Again, be gentle. Gutters are not as strong as house pipes.

Alternatively, use a leaf blower to clean the gutters; however, remember that you'll be high up, often in awkward postures, and carrying a good-sized machine that not only is awkward to use but also can blind you with dust.

Use the hose to flush the gutters with water after cleaning. (This is also the best time to find out if there are any leaks in the system.)

Tip

Consider covering your gutters with wire or plastic mesh. This will drastically cut down on debris.

Warning

Never hold on to the gutter or downspout for support. They're not meant to support your weight. Make sure the ladder is sturdy and well-secured.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden Hoses
  • Garden Trowels
  • Leaf Blowers
  • Large Wooden Spoons
  • Plastic Trash Bags
  • Buckets
  • Caulks
  • Extension Ladders
  • Gutter Scoops
  • Plumber's Snakes
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