How to Safely Clean Your Gutters

Keeping your gutters clear is one of the simplest ways to avoid water damage to your home, but it comes with risks. Cleaning your gutters on a ladder poses a hazard for anyone, but especially senior citizens. In fact, people over 65 account for half of all ladder-related fatalities. You could damage your home if you clean your gutters the wrong way, too. So, what’s the safest way to clean them?

There are several ways to clean your gutters safely and effectively to keep both yourself and your home in tip-top shape.

1.  Cleaning Gutters with a Garden Hose

If your gutters only have a mild to moderate amount of debris, you may be able to clear them out using only a garden hose. The aim is to use the water pressure to push the debris through the gutters and out the downspout.

You can use a typical garden hose to clean your gutters on a ladder. Or, if you prefer to stay on the ground, you can use a water pole attachment with a curved end piece. This long pole lets you stand on the ground and spray the water into your gutters from below.

The downside is that you won’t be able to see what you’re doing, so it may take time to make sure you’ve flushed out everything.

2.  Cleaning Gutters with a Wet/Dry Vacuum

Another common household tool you can use to clean your gutters is a wet/dry vacuum. It’s as simple as using the hose to vacuum out the debris from your gutters. You can also use the reverse setting on your wet/dry vac to blow the debris through your gutters and out the downspout – but make sure the vacuum is empty first.

This can be somewhat tricky, though, because wet/dry vacs are so large. If you want to clean your gutters from the ground, you can get a long pole attachment with a curved end and move the vacuum along on the ground as you go. If you’re using a ladder instead, it’s helpful to have someone else on a ladder next to you carrying the vacuum.

3.  Cleaning Gutters by Hand

There’s always the option of cleaning your gutters the old-fashioned way: by hand. This method requires a ladder, so it has more risk for injury than using a garden hose or wet/dry vac from the ground, but it’s as simple as wearing work gloves, grabbing debris by the handful, and tossing it in a bucket. It’s a good idea to rinse the gutters with your garden hose afterward to get any remaining small pieces of debris.

Pro Tip: Don’t Forget the Inspections

Cleaning your gutters is essential to keep rainwater directed away from your home, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to see if rarely viewed parts of your home are in order. While you’re cleaning your gutters, take the time to look at your gutter system as well as your roof, especially if you’re cleaning the gutters on a ladder.

Look for anything that appears to be out of place or in need of repair. If you see any areas of concern, call in a professional roof inspector. Our team can check out the problems you’ve noticed and look for any more subtle signs of necessary maintenance and repair. This way, we’ll be able to make recommendations and repairs early instead of waiting until your gutter system or roof breaks during the next rainstorm and leads gallons of water into your home. If you’re due for a roof inspection or gutter inspection, we can help. Call our roofing specialists today to schedule your appointment.