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Cleaning gutters with which tools and how often? Find out with our tips and instructions!

Gutters are key to keeping water out of your home. In order for them to function properly, they need to be free of dirt and debris. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to clean them.
Over time, leaves, moss, debris and even bird nests can make it difficult for rainwater to drain properly. Find out the best way to clean gutters with our tips.

What tools to use for cleaning gutters?

Use personal protective equipment when working

If you want to clean your gutters properly, there are a number of tools that will make the job easier and safer.

  • Personal protective equipment – eye protection, non-slip rubber boots, waterproof clothing.
  • Pressure washers and attachments – These can be used to quickly remove stubborn dirt.
  • Hard bristle broom and hand sweeper – for clearing loose debris from the roof and emptying debris from gutters.
  • A small hand trowel – for scraping out debris.

A brush with hard bristles is very useful in the work

  • Green waste bags – for picking up leaves, moss and other debris.
  • A sturdy ladder – for single-story buildings, a pressure washer attachment may eliminate the need for a ladder.
  • Cleaning solution – a good multi-purpose cleaner that dissolves stuck debris without damaging the surface of the gutter.

Wearing personal protective equipment is essential, especially when using a pressure washer, as flying debris and dirt can cause injury. Always wear non-slip shoes and stay away from electrical wires that are near or above the work area.

Clean the roof before gutter cleaning.

Before gutter cleaning, the roof must be cleaned first

Since most of the debris in the gutters comes from the roof, it is advisable to clean the roof first. Use a hard bristle brush or a blower to remove loose debris. If there is a lot of moss growing on your roof tiles, you can use a brush to loosen it up to prevent it from washing into the gutters when it rains. When cleaning the roof, you should also inspect the gutters for cracks or breaks and make sure all fasteners are tight.

Clean gutters: by hand first

Clean gutters by hand first - pick up the large pieces

Your gutters are most likely full of rotting leaves, plants, twigs and accumulated moss . Over time, this can resemble a thick, tar-like substance. You should not begin pressure washing your gutters until you have removed most of it by hand. If you try to wash it away, you risk clogging downspouts and drains. The best way to remove this debris from your gutters is to use a small hand trowel.

Cleaning solution is very helpful

The pressure washer is a good option for gutters

A good cleaning solution will help loosen stubborn debris and create a lubricating effect that makes it easier to rinse off debris during pressure washing. Many cleaning solutions also prevent organic debris from settling on the gutter while penetrating airborne pollutants such as grease, tar and oil. For stubborn debris, use a rotating brush with your pressure washer for a more thorough clean.

Cleaning gutters from the ground

Cleaning gutters from the ground for single story buildings

Cleaning gutters without a ladder, from the ground is a bit more time-consuming than from a ladder, because you can’t see what you’re doing, so you have to proceed systematically and slowly, but such cleaning works well and is by far the safest method. To do this, you’ll need either a garden hose or a commercial wet/dry vacuum, plus a couple of handy attachments.

Applying protective paint is a good solution

A sturdy ladder is indispensable for gutter cleaning

There are special paints that prevent rust from forming and create a protective barrier against the elements. If you are repainting your gutters, you should first clean them with a pressure washer, gently rub them to remove dirt, and let them dry. Once dry, you can apply a primer before applying the weatherproof paint. It’s not a good idea to paint plastic gutters, as the paint may not adhere to them and could contain chemicals that will break them down over time.

Installing guards.

Clean gutters with ladder for high buildings

If your gutters are clogging too quickly, installing guards may be just what you need. These attach to the top of the gutter and prevent larger debris from washing into the gutters. They are also an effective way to prevent birds from nesting in your gutters, acting like a screen that filters out most of the dirt and debris.

Why is downspout cleaning so important?

Downspouts need to be cleaned regularly

If your downspouts are clogged, they can prevent water from running off your roof and property. If rainwater is running over the edge of your gutters, a clogged downspout is likely the cause. Keeping your downspouts clean will allow your rain gutters to work at maximum efficiency.

Don’t forget to clean out your drains

Drains must be cleaned often

When cleaning the gutters, many people forget to clean the drains at the same time. While debris and clogs in the gutters are easy to spot, the drains are more challenging. First, clear the cover of the drain of debris and then remove the grate. Use a hand trowel to dig out all the soil, leaves and debris that are inside, then pour in a good drain cleaner. If your drains are clogged, there are high-pressure cleaning devices that can be inserted into the drain to clear the clog.

Cleaning gutters – how often?

Perform regular cleaning of gutters

For most people, cleaning the gutters twice a year is sufficient. Once you have thoroughly cleaned them the first time, they will be easier to clean in the future. Cleaning them every six months can prevent moss from taking hold and can wash away much of the dirt and debris. Those who live in areas with lots of trees should clean their gutters every 3 months or invest in a guard.