Gutters are an essential component of your roof’s drainage system yet they are often neglected.  If you have not cleaned your home’s gutters and downspouts in the past year, it is time to get this important cleaning project out of the way.  Cleaning your home’s gutters and downspouts is easier than you might assume.  Here’s how to do it.



Cleaning the Gutters

Do not be intimidated by the prospect of cleaning your gutters.  If you are willing to put in the effort, you can clean your home’s gutters surprisingly quickly.  Grab a ladder, a large bucket and a tool for scooping.  You will need a garden spade, trowel or a makeshift scooper made with a plastic jug to scoop all the gunk out of your gutters.  In fact, you can even use a spatula to scoop out all the crud from the gutters. 


Do not attempt to scoop out an abundance of leaves, animal droppings, litter and other undesired items from your gutters with one long scooping stroke.  The better approach is to clean the gutters in short sections.  Just be sure to remain close to the ladder as leaning away has the potential to cause a fall.  Do not climb above the step designated by the ladder-maker as the upper-most level for safety.  If necessary, borrow a neighbor’s extension ladder to ensure you can perform a safe and effective clean. 



how to clean gutters


Cleaning the Downspouts

Once your home’s gutters are void of debris, it is time to clean the downspouts.  Horizontal extension pipes must be removed in order to clear out the downspouts.  Put a hose in the downspout through the top opening that the gutters direct water into.  Ask a family member or friend to turn the water on and look for downspout flow. 


Downspout clogging must be thoroughly cleared.  Apply a rag to pack the opening of the downspout so the hose is tightly sealed.  Be sure to open the water spigot to generate ample pressure.  Observe the downspout’s end to ensure it is actually clearing.  If the clog still remains, take away the hose and perform a manual clearing with a plumbing snake.  Move the snake on through the top portion of the downspout so it contacts the obstruction.  Most downspout obstructions are located along the point of the downspout pipe’s curving portion.  Homes with horizontal extension pipes must also be inspected for clogs and subsequently cleared.



Rinse the System

Once you are sure your home’s gutters and downspouts are clear, rinse each for a through flushing.  This rinsing ensures any leftover debris is removed.  Here’s how to do it: put the open end of the hose in the gutter at the area far away from the opening of the downspout.  Turn on the water.  For homeowners with fairly low roofs, this rinsing might be possible with a spraying of water on the roof by the gutter’s end.  Allow the water to run for at least a few minutes until it flows right on out of the downspout. 


If the water that emerges from the downspout is clear and void of gunk, you have successfully cleaned your gutters and downspouts.  However, your gutters will eventually clog once again in due time unless you faithfully clean them.  Clean your gutters and downspouts at least a couple times per year to ensure rainwater can be redirected away from your roof without impediment.