How to Clean Your Gutters in 5 Steps

The gutters attached to the side of your house or the edge of your roofing structure provide a way to ensure rainwater flows down to the drains. However, they also catch various debris such as leaves, twigs, and other items along the way that can create blockages and other issues. This piece gives you five steps on how to clean your gutters. If need further information, Advantage Construction has a handy guide on maintaining your gutters.

Photo of a home roof with gutters and a gutter guard - How to Clean Your Gutters in 5 Steps
Knowing how to clean your gutters in 5 steps makes the process more straight-forward. | Image by 123switch

1. Assess the Task

The first step is to know that cleaning out gutters involves dealing with some height. It will also include climbing up a ladder, which not everyone is comfortable doing. You’ll be leaning over to reach inside the gutters, so it can make the ladder unsteady too.

Over 150,000 Americans fall off ladders every year and go to the hospital. So, the risks are not to be discounted if it makes you uneasy.

If you feel that cleaning gutters will be too difficult, hire a contractor to get the job done for you. They will be trained, have the right equipment, and be fully insured.

2. Have the Right Gear

Should you decide to complete the task yourself, then you’ll need the right gear. First, wear long-sleeved clothing to safeguard yourself from scrapes. Also, some protective work gloves are useful to not only keep your hands a bit warmer but avoid them being accidentally cut by a sharp twig or something metal.

You’ll need a trowel or a similar tool to dig out the debris. Plastic is better than metal for keeping your gutters from damage. Depending on what’s in the gutter, some items will be more easily removed with your hands.

3. Start Scooping

Scoop out all the debris from inside the gutters. Obviously, any article on how to clean your gutters will contain this step.

Try to do a thorough job so you don’t have to complete this task as often. Take your time. Don’t be in a hurry which better ensures your safety.

Use either a laid tarp on the ground to catch the debris or hang a bucket at the top of the ladder to fill up. You’ll be climbing up and down not only to empty the bucket out but also to reposition the ladder to avoid overstretching to reach the next section.

4. Run Water Through the Gutters

Running water along the gutter interior using a garden hose can help to shift stubborn leaves that are stuck inside. Furthermore, it can confirm if the flow of water is reaching down to the drain and if the drain itself is blocked and needs cleaning as well.

Also, any twigs or other debris that have impacted the gutters could have poked a hole right through at some stage or cracked a section. Adding some water will confirm any current leaks indicating a section needing to be replaced or repaired.

5. Repair and Maintenance

If there’s an option to repair a damaged portion of your gutters, that should be your first move. Otherwise, they’ll need to be replaced which may be a simple or a gigantic challenge. Sometimes it’s difficult to find new gutters to match what you currently have on your home.

As a last resort, you may need to replace all the gutters in your home. This can get pricey!

The average cost to install new aluminum gutters is around $4 to $8 per linear foot. On the cheaper end, you could go with vinyl gutters at an average cost of $3 to $6 per linear foot. For a typical home with 150 to 200 feet of gutters, you can expect to pay around $600 to $1,600 for installation.


Once you’re satisfied that the gutters are clean, not leaking, and the drainage is flowing properly, then you’re done until the next time!

Home maintenance checklists can help you remember what needs to be tackled each season. After all, keeping up your largest investment not only saves money in the long run, it also enhances your home’s value.