Gutter Cleaning 101

closeup of gloved hands cleaning gutters
Did you remember to clean out your home’s gutters before the summer storms? If you haven’t yet, it’s still a good idea to clean them so that they can function properly and keep water from damaging your home. Remember these tips when it’s time to clean your gutters.

Check Your Ladder

When any kind of heights are involved, you have to make safety your top priority. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have the right ladder for the job. Check to confirm that the ground underneath your ladder is sturdy, and consider investing in a ladder stabilizer to help brace it against the building. A ladder stabilizer will also help you protect your gutters from damage caused by the weight of the ladder itself. It wouldn’t hurt to have a spotter for your climb, too, so ask someone to help you steady the ladder and stand by while you clean the gutters.

Prepare on the Ground

Before you go up to the roof, be sure you’re prepared with the proper gear. Even if its warm out, it’s a good idea to wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants you don’t mind splashing with gutter gunk, and durable rubber gloves. You’ll also need a sturdy scoop to clear out the gutters, and while a dedicated scooping tool should be available at the hardware store, you could alternatively use plastic beach shovel or even a plastic spatula from your kitchen counter. Finally, lay down a tarp below the area you’re working on so that you can catch and contain all the debris that comes loose when you start cleaning. You might be surprised by how much junk there is in those gutters.

Gutter Cleaning

Next, it’s just a matter of carefully climbing up to the gutters and scraping out all the leaves and other debris that builds up over time. A tool like that scoop will make it easier to break up gunk that’s been stuck there for a while, and the process will be much smoother with a tool rather than by hand. Once the gutters are clear, bring up a hose to wash out the gutters with water. This should rinse out any small bits that might remain, and it will also show you if there are any cracks and leaks in your gutters.

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