How To Keep Your Gutters Clean (8 Answers You Should Know)

It is very important for homeowners to clean up their gutters at least twice yearly. However, cleaning up gutters can be a bit technical and time-consuming.

So a quick fix could be purchasing gutter guards.

But would you still have to clean even with the gutter guards? If so, how can you clean your gutters properly?

Here, you’ll find a beginner guide to cleaning gutters correctly that answers these questions and more.

Do You Have To Clean Gutter Guards?

Yes, you’ll have to clean gutter guards just like your gutters will also need to be cleaned up. And even if gutter guards are meant to be maintenance-free systems, they can’t completely block out all the debris and dirt that gets into the gutter.

Cleaning up your gutter guards twice yearly is ideal, you can clean up once in spring and repeat the procedure in fall.

But there are different types of gutter guards and depending on the type you have, you may need to do more cleaning or less. Plus, every gutter guard system has its cleaning and maintenance procedures.

Cleaning up your gutter guards will keep you from having to haul out resources for maintenance after storms and leaf falls.

Why Is Gutter Cleaning Important?

Most homeowners tend to pay less attention to their gutters.

However, specks of dirt and debris can easily get your gutter clogged and cause rainwater to overflow, and damage the exterior and interior of your property.

Clogged gutters are very good homes for troubling pests such as insects, birds, and rodents. Certain infestations would lead to health hazards for your family and you don’t want this.

So cleaning up your gutters would help to exterminate these pests from your space and reduce the chances of an infestation.

Clogged gutters can even damage your roof and you’ll eventually require costly repairs or even worse, a replacement.

In addition, an overflow of clogged gutters can damage your foundation as the water may pool up around it and reduce the aesthetic value of your property.

This is why you should make sure to clean up your gutters adequately.

So generally, cleaning up your gutters would help to:

  •  Prevent water damage
  • Preserve the quality of your roofing
  • Keep the disturbing pests at bay
  • Avoid damaging your foundation
  • Save the money you would have spent on maintenance and replacements

As they say, a stitch in time saves nine. So you want to act fast!

Can You Use Bleach On Gutters?

Yes, you can use bleach to get your gutters clean. But you don’t want to apply bleach directly onto your gutters.

A 50/50 mixture of water and bleach would be a better choice, it’ll be strong enough to get the job done and not too harsh on the surface.

Bleach helps a lot with taking out mildew but you’ll want to add detergent to the mixture as well. 

A simple mixture of water, bleach, and soap would be very effective in taking out tough stains from your gutters and it’s also a preferred choice for most types of gutters, especially vinyl gutters.

Can You Use a Leaf Blower To Clean Gutters?

Definitely, you can use a leaf blower to clean gutters. It is a faster, safer, and more efficient method of getting your gutters cleaned.

You can’t avoid the leaves from getting into your gutters, especially in certain seasons.

This method will help you cut the hassle. But be very careful if you’ll be using a ladder to climb to your gutter.

Alternatively, you can get a specialized extension kit that’ll curve and extend your leaf blower’s reach. This way you can clean up your gutters from the ground.

This could get messy and the dirt may get to you, so you want to protect your eyes and you may also need a change of cloth after the activity.

Ensure you do not blow the leaves and debris into the downspout.

Do Gutter Covers Work?

Yes, gutter covers help to prevent clogging to an extent. They help to reduce the number of times you’ll have to clean up your gutter.

Normally, twigs, dirt, and leaves tend to litter your gutter, especially in Autumn, and prevent water from draining out.

So they could get clogged and this would prevent them from working efficiently.

So gutter covers become very helpful tools for keeping debris away if they are installed correctly and adequately maintained.

But you must keep in mind that they are not complete protection against clogging, and they don’t make your gutters suddenly resistant to dirt.

You’ll still need to clean up your gutters to make them last longer.

Do gutter guards keep out pine needles?

Certain types of gutter guards are very effective in keeping out pine needles.

There are different types of gutter guards. But most types are not effective against pine needles.

The pine needles are long but very thin, this is why they easily fall in through most gutter guards.

Which Gutter Guards Are Best For Pine Needles?

Although no type fully keeps the pine needles out, there’s a certain type that limits the number of pine needles that can get into the gutters.

If pine needles are the most common types of debris you have to deal with, you’ll need to consider micro-screen gutter guards.

They are the best options to deal with pine needles. Water drips through it easily, but solid items such as pine needles only sit on the mesh till it gets washed off by the rain.

You can also consider other options like a broad-spread steel gutter guard or an open mesh guard. However, these options do not get in the way of these pine needles as micro-screen guards would.

Also keep in mind that even if the micro mesh gutter guards are successful in keeping pine needles out, you’ll still need to clean up regularly.

This is because these kinds of screens can accumulate other debris such as mildew and dust on the surface.

How Gutters Are Cleaned?

Getting the gutters cleaned is one task that homeowners are not excited about and so, it’s normal for them to simply avoid it or procrastinate.

So if you hate to get this job done, it’s ok to hire professionals to handle it for you.

However, if you are keen on spending a good number of hours getting this done, then you should know that there are several ways that gutters are cleaned.

You can either use a leaf blower, dry/wet vacuum, or simply make do with a power washer and garden hose.

Homeowners that don’t own any of this equipment can simply get the job done without them, but they’ll need a ladder, really thick work gloves, a gutter scoop, or just a simple hand trowel.

This procedure can be time-consuming, you’ll need to take out the twigs and dirt and pack them in a bucket.

Finally, flush out the downspout with your garden hose and make sure it’s not clogged.

if you’ve not gotten your gutters cleaned in a very long time, it’ll make sense to thoroughly clean them up. In this case, you’ll find the steps below very helpful especially if you have the necessary equipment.

  • First, remove the twigs, specks of dirt, and every other debris from your gutter using an air blower as explained above, or pack them by hand into a bucket
  • Flush out the gutter using a simple garden hose.
  • Now, make sure your downspout is not clogged. If you discover that it is clogged, use a garden hose or power washer to flush it out.

Make sure you are extremely careful when using a ladder. Get the extra help you need to support the ladder so you don’t get injured.

But you can clean out your gutter without a ladder. Simply getting power tools with certain attachments can make all the difference. Let’s list out some of these tools;

  • Leaf blowers with specified attachments
  • Wet/dry vacuum with curved attachments
  • Tongs
  • Gutter flushers
  • Rotary gutter cleaner

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by Brian Moore

Brian is an enthusiastic and experienced gardener, which in time led him to the world of home improvement. He began by learning all about landscaping. Soon he wanted to maximize outdoor spaces in new, exciting ways; for example, by installing gazebos and fire pits. What began as a hobby soon became a side hustle, and eventually, it became his full-time job!