How to Clean Gutters with Gutter Guards

Homeowners purchase a gutter guard or leaf protection system to keep debris out, cutting down on time spent on maintenance. Unfortunately, the prevailing myth is that gutters with gutter guards never have to be cleaned again. But no matter how high the quality or what kind of gutter guard was installed, the gutters still need to be cleared out regularly.

Why do Gutters with Gutter Guards Need Cleaning?

When gutter guards or any other type of leaf protection do their job, leaves, twigs, pine cones, blossoms, etc. hang around if not blown away. Especially if the gutter guard system is covered by material with holes (mesh screens, round slots, elongated openings), as the debris disintegrates, it breaks down into small enough particles that enter the gutters. Depending on the width of the slots or holes, seed pods, needles, and buds can bypass the gutters guards altogether. Over time, these little bits of material buildup and create clogs.

Set the Stage

Lay down a tarp where you’ll be working to catch falling debris.

Place the ladder on a level surface. If you can’t lean the ladder against the wall, use a ladder stabilizer to avoid damaging the gutters. An extension ladder should be tall enough to extend three rungs above the roof.

Get the garden hose ready – it’s going up the ladder with you.

Suit Up

Where protective gear such as work gloves, safety glasses and work boots or shoes with non-slip soles. For added protection, it’s advisable to avoid short sleeves and shorts.

Cleaning Gutters with Gutter Guards

Once safely on the ladder, spray the top and sides of the gutter section to remove debris and grime. Then aim the spray nozzle into the gutter channel to flush out any silt and bits of material.

Look under the cover or through the screen of the gutter guard and into the gutter channel. If the initial flushing with water did not get rid of the debris, the leaf protector will have to be removed. Depending on the type of gutter guard, it will either have to be unscrewed piece by piece or in sections.

Use a non-abrasive cleaning solution or warm soapy water with a soft cloth or soft bristle brush to remove any residual dirt both inside and outside of the gutters.

Do one section at a time. Don’t overreach; move the ladder instead. Repeat the above steps as needed.

If the gutter guards have to be removed in order to access the gutter channel and then put back, be prepared for the gutter cleaning process to take longer.