How To Clean Gutters

Updated: Apr. 09, 2024

Gutter cleaning isn't difficult. Here are some tips on how to complete it in an afternoon.

Next Project

A couple of hours




$0 to $10


Is it time for gutter cleaning? Grab your ladder and a hose and follow these steps to accomplish the task in just a few hours.

Tools Required

  • Extension ladder
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Gutter scoop
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tarp

Doing your annual gutter cleaning? Here’s the best way to do it, from prep work to gunk and debris removal.

Rain gutters protect your home’s landscaping and siding from severe runoff while preventing damage to the foundation. But when gutters fill with leaves, sticks and other debris, they can clog, allowing water to creep under the roof and eventually into the foundation.

Winter storms can wreck havoc on your home, especially the roof. Gutters clogged with leaves and debris make it easier for ice dams to form, since clogs prevent melting snow and ice from properly draining. As water builds up behind the ice dam, it seeps under the roofing materials, and causing leaks and other damage that’s expensive to fix.

That’s why it’s important to clean your gutters and keep them clear all year long. You should clean your gutters at least once a year — more often if you have overhanging trees, or after big storms.

Safety considerations

Make sure you have a good, sturdy, extendable ladder. Dress for the job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and gloves.

I generally advise against leaning the ladder directly on the gutters themselves, because it can damage them. There are exceptions to this rule — say, if doing so is the safest option you have, or the most comfortable way to access your gutters.

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Tarp the work area

Spread a tarp underneath your workspace to collect all the gutter gunk and protect your lawn and landscaping.

Tarp the work areaTMB STUDIO

Step 2

Remove debris from gutters

Use a gutter scoop, any other small plastic scoop or old spatula to remove gunk. For large objects like branches, pick them out by hand.

Remove debris from guttersTMB STUDIO

Step 3

Flush out gutters

Once you’ve removed the debris, use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts and clear out any remaining debris. If you have rain chains installed in place of downspouts, make sure no flushed out debris accumulates on top of them.

Flush out gutters by spraying waterTMB STUDIO


What is the fastest way to clean gutters?

With a gutter scoop. It removes leaves, debris and other blockages quickly and efficiently.

How often do you need to clean your gutters?

Once a year is OK, though twice is optimal — typically in the spring and the late fall, the latter to winterize your gutters.  If you have trees near the roof line, you may need to do it more often.

How do you clean gutters from the ground level?

Use a telescopic gutter cleaning tool that attaches to a garden hose. These extend and reach the gutters from the ground level, allowing you to clean them without climbing a ladder. They typically feature a curved or angled nozzle that directs the water flow into the gutters.

When to call a pro

I suggest calling a gutter cleaning professional if you’re not comfortable working from heights or ladders, if you have a tall home with gutters on multiple stories, or if your roof design makes gutter access difficult.