How to Clean Your Gutters

An image of someone cleaning their gutters with a small shovel.

Cleaning your gutters has a bad reputation for being a once-a-year chore, but homeowners should give more attention to those handy fixtures. If you want to find a professional to get the job done for you, then do not hesitate to give them a call. That is what they are there for! However, if you want to pocket some of your paycheck for the upcoming holiday shopping season, this do-it-yourself task can be done quickly and efficiently with Brunswick Crossing’s guide to gutter cleaning:

  1. Gather the right tools. Wear a long-sleeve shirt, sturdy gardening gloves, a dust mask, and safety goggles for maximum protection. Bring a trash bag or plastic tarp, garden trowel, or gutter scoop and hose or auger to remove debris. Lastly, pack a hard bristle sponge and high-pressure hose nozzle for the actual cleaning process.

Pro Tip: To save money on buying tools, try using a child’s sand shovel instead of a garden trowel or gutter scoop. All of the items get the job done!

  1. Set up your (extendable) ladder, and make sure it is stabilized with a stand-off, ladder horn, or a friend before you begin climbing. Double-check to see that it is well-footed in the ground. You will probably be cleaning for a long time, so safety comes first.

  2. Scoop the debris and sediment into the garbage bag using your gloved hands and/or the garden trowel, scoop, or shovel. If you prefer to drop the mess directly on your lawn, put the plastic tarp down first. This debris could include leaves, small branches, dirt, and other natural blockades, as well as metal objects like roofing nails, so be cautious when picking items up.

Pro Tip: Pay particular attention to the downspout, as this is where the most debris will be backed up after a large rainstorm or a heavy wind.

  1. Move the ladder and tarp down as you finish each foot or so of cleaning the gutter. Be careful when setting up the stabilizer and ladder again, and never reach out further than your natural position. Remember: Safety is always first.

  2. Rinse the gutter for one minute with a high-pressure nozzle attached to a hose after you have carefully tied and placed the full trash bag on the ground and/or cleaned up the tarp.

  3. Scrub the downspout clean with a hard bristle sponge, but avoid getting your home’s siding wet. Once the scrubbing is complete, rinse the downspout with the hose or auger again.

  4. Check for holes, dents, cracks, and pitch problems after the gutter air dries. If you see any problems, call a professional about the appropriate solution. If you want to continue the do-it-yourself theme, invest in gutter caps, covers, or screens to help keep the debris out. You can also purchase leaf strainers for the top of the drain to help prevent larger clogs in the future.

Cleaning your gutters is a critical task in preventing potential water damage to your home, such as a flooded basement or cracked foundation. Completing this chore at least twice per year (and after every large storm) could save you money in future repairs and replacements. With the unforgiving Maryland weather that’s upon us, it’s wise to grab your ladder, put on some gloves, and start scooping. While you are cleaning your gutters, remember to be careful and always put safety first.

After you've finished your cleaning, schedule a tour of Brunswick Crossing, and discover your dream home.

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