17 February, 2022

As a homeowner, the ever-growing to-do list of home maintenance tasks hangs over your head day in and day out. For many homeowners, there is one thing that gets regularly neglected—gutter maintenance. Keep reading to learn how to clean gutters and why doing so is essential for your household.


Benefits of Gutter Maintenance

If maintaining your home’s rain gutters is not typically on your radar, consider the benefits of keeping your gutters clean, and remember them when you need motivation. Regular gutter maintenance::

  • Prevents roof leaks and other damage
  • Reduces the risk of pest infestations and disease
  • Prevents soil and landscaping erosion
  • Protects against basement flooding and other foundation issues
  • Improves the curb appeal and value of your home

Don’t let neglected gutters lead to much bigger, more expensive problems down the road. When you keep your home’s gutters clean, you protect your home and yourself from stressful—and avoidable—problems.


How to Clean Roof Gutters

Don’t let “I don’t know how to clean gutters,” become your excuse for clogged or filthy gutters. Here is a step-by-step gutter cleaning guide to get you started:

What You’ll Need

We recommend the following tools and equipment for effective, safe gutter cleaning:

  • Waterproof gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Toolbelt (It’s handy to have somewhere to put tools while you’re not using them, especially while up on a ladder.)
  • Hand shovel or gutter scoop
  • Garden hose
  •  Proper clothing (Long sleeves and pants offer protection while working, and shoes with grippy treads prevent you from slipping off the ladder.)
  • Extension ladder (Don’t have one? We also discuss how to clean gutters you can’t reach.)
  • Drain snake or pressure washer (optional)
  • Gutter guards (optional)

Now that you have all the required tools and equipment, let’s learn how to clean those gutters.

Set up the Ladder

When setting up your extension ladder, remember the four-to-one rule: The bottom of the ladder should be placed one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height to the top of the ladder. If your roof is 12 feet high, you should set the bottom of your ladder three feet from the wall for the ideal climbing angle.

Remove the Debris

Using a plastic shovel or gutter scoop, remove built-up debris from the gutters. Avoid metal tools that can damage your gutters. You will have to move your ladder as you work your way around the house. Use a drain snake or pressure washer to break up compacted debris.

Rinse the Gutters

Rinse the gutters clean using a garden hose or pressure washer. Start at the highest point of your gutters and work your way down.

Check the Downspouts

Inspect the top and bottom of each downspout, and remove any visible clogs. To check for blockages in the middle of the downspout, run the garden hose from the top.

Check the Gutters for Leaks and Damage

Now that the gutters are clean, inspect them for any holes, sagging, or loose connections. Address any discovered damage as soon as possible.

Install Gutter Guards

If you find that you need to clean your gutters more often than you’d like, consider installing gutter guards. These prevent debris from getting into the gutters while allowing water to pass through.

How to Clean Gutters Without a Ladder

If you don’t have access to an extension ladder or heights just aren’t your thing, you can invest in a gutter-cleaning wand. This tool attaches to your garden hose and allows you to reach up to the gutters without ever leaving the ground.

How Long Does It Take to Clean Gutters?

For a single-story home, gutter cleaning generally takes around one hour. Multi-story homes can take up to five hours to clean all of the gutters.


How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

There is no answer to the question of how often to clean gutters that makes sense for every homeowner. The frequency of your gutter maintenance depends on the climate you live in and what kind of debris you deal with. In general, you should clean your gutters twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Harsh Winters

If you live in a place that sees a lot of moisture, you should clean your gutters in the early spring and check for rust between cleanings. Harsh winters may also contribute to damaged gutters, so it’s a good idea to clean your gutters in the fall to prepare them for winter. Before the winter season, be sure to address any damage to avoid clogged, frozen, or collapsed gutters.

Trees or Woods

If you live in an area dense with trees, this significantly adds to debris build-up in your gutters. You will want to do the typical spring and fall cleanings with scheduled checks in between. Depending on how much debris your roof sees, you may need to clean your gutters more than twice per year to prevent blockages and overflow problems.

Dry Climates

If you’re in a dry climate, you probably don’t have to worry as much about rust or overflow. Homeowners in dry climates may find that cleaning their gutters twice a year is unnecessary and may opt to only do it once per year.

For the clearest answer on how often to clean your gutters, inspect them at regular intervals until you have an idea of how quickly debris collects, and watch for problems like overflow. Then, you can create a gutter cleaning regimen that best suits your home.


What Happens If You Do Not Clean Your Gutters?

Neglected gutters can lead to a variety of problems, some of which can become very dangerous. The consequences of not cleaning gutters include:

  • Debris Blockages: When your gutters cannot work effectively, the water overflows the gutter and pools on the roof or next to the house. This pooling effect can lead to roof leaks, dirt erosion, basement flooding, and foundation issues.
  • Gutter Sagging: Poorly maintained gutters may sag over time, which prevents them from working properly and may lead to dangerous situations if the gutter detaches from the home.

These are just some examples of the problems neglected gutters can cause.


How Much Does It Cost to Clean Gutters?

If you plan to clean your gutters yourself, the biggest cost is your time. Gutter cleaning is a tedious process that requires you to be consistently attentive. We recommend finding someone to help as having an extra pair of hands reduces the time spent cleaning gutters and the risk of accidental injury.

 The cost depends on what tools you use and where you find them. Sometimes, you can borrow the tools needed from family, friends, or neighbors. It also depends on whether you learn how to clean gutters with a pressure washer or if you use your garden hose. Knowing how to clean gutters with a leaf blower is another way to reduce costs by reusing your existing equipment.

 If you decide to hire a professional gutter cleaning service, it will likely cost more than it would if you did it yourself (although this is not necessarily always the case).

 If you decide that you could benefit from hiring a professional and live in the Everett, WA area, call Evergreen Window Cleaning & Home Maintenance for a gutter cleaning quote. 


When Should You Call a Professional?

If any of the following are true for you, you may decide to use a professional gutter cleaning service rather than doing it yourself:

  • You are not comfortable on a ladder: Although we discussed methods of cleaning gutters from the ground, you need to climb a ladder to inspect your gutters. A professional service knows how to clean gutters safely while on a ladder.
  • You don’t have time: Gutter cleaning is a time-consuming task that takes a professional team half the time to complete.
  • The work is beyond your scope: Dirty gutters can be intimidating. If you’re simply not sure you can do a good job, there’s nothing wrong with letting a professional service handle it.


Schedule Gutter Cleaning Today!

If you don’t have the time to learn how to clean gutters or the confidence to keep your gutters clean, let the professional gutter cleaners at Evergreen Window Cleaning & Home Maintenance help. Give us a call at (206) 232-1266 to request a quote today!