Clean Your Gutters the Easy Way

If you’re thinking there’s nothing easy about cleaning gutters, you’re probably right. But it’s like a car trip: driving around until you find the place is not as efficient as looking up the address before you leave the house. The same principle applies to cleaning the gutters – a little organization goes a long way.

Start with a Look-See

Inspect the roof and gutters to give you an idea of how much needs to be done.

If there are a lot of leaves, twigs, and bits of miscellaneous debris on the roof, the roofing tiles will need to be swept or raked first. If you don’t, what was on the roof will reappear in your nice clean gutters.

Are there missing or damaged tiles; loose flashings; damp patches and/mold growth? Whether you plan to DIY or hire a roofing contractor, schedule a time for repairs.

Check the gutter system for missing and/or sagging sections; loose nails, hangers or spikes; leaks; holes (metal guttering); cracks (vinyl gutters); and cracked caulking? Plan on repairing what you can; hire a gutter professional for everything else.

Everything You’ll Need

Before you actually tackle your gutter cleaning chore, select everything you’ll need. Hopefully this will save you from unnecessary trips up and down the ladder. Commonly used gutter cleaning tools are:

  • gutter scoop or garden trowel (FYI the difference between the two is the gutter scoop holds more and has higher sides)
  • pail
  • soft bristle brush
  • detergent/cleaning solution
  • rags
  • trash bags
  • garden hose
  • work gloves
  • safety goggles
  • ladder

Removing the Debris

Remove the debris from the gutters with your hands or use a scoop.

When breaking up dense clumps, use metal tools carefully, especially if you have aluminum gutters.

Put the debris in a trash bag or pail – check to see if these materials are compostable or recyclable in accordance to local bylaws and restrictions.

Once the loose debris has been removed, use a garden hose to rinse away any dirt, silt, stubborn patches, etc.

Wash the outside of the gutters with a mild detergent or cleaning solution. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub away stains that weren’t removed by wiping or rinsing. When using a hose, spray toward the downspout.

Don’t forget the downspouts. Repair loose sections, replace worn hardware and clear away any debris from inside the downpipe or at the gutter outlet.