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Cleaning Gutters 101: Gutter Cleaning Guide

by May 8,2023

If you’ve never cleaned your home’s gutters before, you might be wondering where to begin.

With the proper tools and plan of action, you can clean your gutters properly and ensure there isn’t a big mess left behind. The Clean and Clear team cleans gutters in Minneapolis-St. Paul year-round, and we wanted to share our gutter cleaning tips and tricks with you.

This short guide will help you understand:

  • How to thoroughly clean gutters
  • How to remove clogs (if necessary)
  • How to avoid making a mess when cleaning gutters
  • How to dispose of gutter waste

Why Gutter Cleaning Is Important

Regular gutter cleaning is a necessary home maintenance task. In fact, it’s something that you should be doing a minimum of 2-3 times per year (in spring and fall, and also mid summer). Avoiding gutter cleaning can result in issues like:

  • Water overflow
  • Water damage
  • Clogs
  • Sagging gutters
  • Pest infestations (e.g. mosquitos)

Ultimately, there are some telltale signs gutters need to be cleaned. The most obvious is leaf and debris build-up. However, other issues like water overflows, pooling water underneath gutters, or sagging gutters typically indicate that your gutters may be clogged and in need of cleaning.

Gutter Cleaning: Where to Start

One of the simplest and most effective ways to clean gutters on residential properties is to access the gutter via a ladder, and to remove the debris by hand, or by using a scoop or small garden trowel.

For safety, remember to:

  • Test the stability of the ladder before climbing
  • Have a helper hold and stabilize the ladder while in use
  • Move the ladder to access different areas, rather than reaching

Cleaning gutters by hand can be time-consuming, but ultimately, it’s the most effective way to clean gutters. With this method, you would move the ladder around the property, accessing all parts of the gutter system and clearing out all debris.

You can also use a bucket attached to the ladder to collect debris, or you can lay a tarp near the ladder and collect debris on the tarp for easier clean-up.

One option: You can use a leaf blower to more quickly remove debris from the gutter. This is more efficient, but can result in a longer clean-up. There are tools that will allow you to clean the gutters from the ground. However, these tools may not be as thorough.

How to Remove Clogs When Cleaning Gutters

Removing debris is essential to keeping your gutters running freely. But in addition to removing debris, a few gutter cleaning tips include flushing with high-pressure water and cleaning downspouts of clogs.

First, check for a clog.

Checking for clogs in downspouts requires a hose. Simply run water into the downspout. You should hear it move freely through the spout. If water begins to backup or if you don’t hear water falling down the spout, you likely have a clog.

If you do have a clog, you may be able to remove it by hand. However, if it’s deep within the downspout, you might need to use high pressure water or remove the spout and clean with a broom handle.

Next, flush the gutters.

After you’ve removed any clogs, the last step is to flush the gutter system. Generally, you’ll remove 90%+ of debris by hand. However, there may still be some debris that needs to be removed, which might include mud that’s collected along the bottom.

You can do this with a high-pressure rinse. Simply add a high-pressure nozzle to a garden hose, and spray down the gutter system. This will flush any waste down and out of the system.

What to Do With Gutter Cleaning Waste

Gutter cleaning can get messy, especially if you haven’t had your gutters professionally cleaned after the fall season. Just remember to collect waste as you clean your gutters. If you aren’t using a bucket or tarp, the clean-up process can add an hour or more to the task.

Once you’ve collected the gutter waste, the two most common ways to discard of it include:

  • Compost the materials – Gutter waste includes leaves, pine needles, dirt, etc. This material works great in the compost pile. These materials will break down over time and make a great garden soil amendment.
  • Discard with yard waste – If your neighborhood collects yard waste, you can include gutter debris in yard waste bags.

Note: If you’re looking for a company to professionally clean your gutters, make sure they will properly dispose of waste. Clean and Clear includes waste removal as part of our process.

Schedule Gutter Cleaning with Clean and Clear

Depending on the length of your gutter system, a clean-up project may take 2-3 hours or more, and it should generally be done about 3-4 times per year (spring, summer, fall, and if necessary, before winter sets in).

If you’re looking for gutter cleaning providers in Minneapolis, St. Paul, contact Clean and Clear. We offer:

  • Quick estimates that don’t require a home visit
  • Removal of all debris from the gutter
  • Gutter flushing if necessary
  • Removal of all waste

Schedule service with us or call for a fast, free estimate today! Book an appointment or request a quote.

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