Cleaning out clogged gutters is an important home maintenance task. Debris in gutters can lead to a variety of problems, from water damage to fascia boards rotting. But cleaning gutters the traditional way by climbing up a ladder can be dangerous and risky. A safer alternative is cleaning gutters from the ground using special tools and techniques. In this post, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for effectively cleaning gutters from the ground.
Gather the Right Equipment
The first step is making sure you have the proper equipment. Attempting to clean gutters from the ground without the right tools will be frustrating and likely ineffective. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Gutter cleaning wand – This is a wand attachment on a long pole that allows you to reach and clean gutters from the ground. Look for one with a curved head to fit over the edge and into the gutter trough.
- Soft washing attachment – This spray nozzle attaches to a garden hose and provides a pressurized stream of water to help dislodge debris.
- Garden hose with pressure nozzle – A standard garden hose along with an adjustable nozzle works well. Ensure it’s long enough to reach all areas.
- Ladder – While ladders should be avoided for actual gutter cleaning when working from the ground, a small step ladder may be helpful for accessing high areas.
- Bucket – Have an empty bucket handy to collect any wet debris you remove from the gutters.
Assess the Area
Before starting, walk around the area and get a view of what you’ll be working with. Note where trees, plants, and other foliage may be contributing to the debris issues. Also look for potential trouble spots like drainage issues, leaks, holes, or anything else that needs to be addressed. Planning ahead helps the process go smoothly.
Clean from One End to the Other
When ready to clean, start on one side of the area and work your way methodically to the other side. Trying to jump around makes the process more complicated. Work in small sections:
- Position your ladder to access the targeted gutter area if needed
- Take your gutter cleaning wand and use it to reach across the gutter, putting the curved head inside to fit it properly
- Run the wand back and forth inside the gutter while using your other hand to spray water from the soft wash attachment
- The pressurized spray will help dislodge the debris while you drag it down into the curved head of the wand
- Remove any debris that’s now resting in the curved head
- Dump the debris into your empty bucket
- Continue section by section until you’ve covered the whole gutter system
Pausing periodically to check your progress helps ensure every area gets covered properly before moving on.
Pay Attention to Problem Areas
As you clean each section, be on the lookout for potential trouble spots or issues. Use the opportunity to find and address any of the following:
- Clogs – Completely clogged areas that aren’t draining properly need some extra attention. Really aim the pressure nozzle spray directly at them. For stubborn clogs, you may need to manually dislodge with the gutter cleaning wand.
- Leaks – Signs of small holes, cracking, rust, or other damage causing leaks can often be detected from below if you pay attention. Mark any trouble sections to come back to.
- Sagging or vegetation issues – Improperly sloped gutters or areas with heavy vegetation growth are obvious spots that can continually cause debris build up faster. Make notes so they can be addressed properly later with gutter repairs or landscape trimming.
Taking advantage of having the close up view from ground level allows you to assess and identify any problem areas needing further attention after the overall cleaning is complete.
Flush the Downspouts
Once the gutters themselves are clear, the final step is ensuring the downspouts are clear and free of clogs.
Use the pressure nozzle and soft wash attachment to thoroughly spray down each downspout. The rushing water will help loosen and flush away any debris inside.
Follow that by taking the gutter cleaning wand and run it up and down inside each downspout to dislodge any remaining debris that didn’t flush out with the water spray.
Clean Up the Area
Finish by tidying up the area. Pick up any tools and equipment laying around. Use a broom or leaf blower to remove any scattered debris that may have fallen in the process.
Remove your ladder if it’s still positioned anywhere. And dump out any buckets of water and debris collected so they don’t spill.
Assessing the Results and Follow Up
After completing the cleaning process from start to finish, walk around again just as you did at the beginning. Check if any noticeable problem areas still seem clogged or have issues that still require addressing. Make notes so you remember to come back to these trouble spots.
Also note any sections that already seem to be filling back up quickly with debris. Trees or plants in these areas may need trimming back. Or additions like gutter screens may be worth installing to keep debris out of the gutters in chronically problematic sections.
While inspecting everything, make sure rain water is properly draining through downspouts. Finally, paying attention while cleaning from the ground allows you to spot potential problems needing further attention. Following up accordingly helps ensure your gutters continue functioning properly after doing the hard work to get them clean.
Cleaning gutters from ladders puts you at the mercy of gravity – which is why the ground is the safest place to be. By taking advantage of tools designed to reach and clean from a distance, you can clear out debris without dangerous risks. We hope these step-by-step instructions make what can be an intimidating DIY task much more manageable.