This ultimate guide to gutter cleaning will show you the easiest ways too keep your gutters free from debris and also explain to you about how the right gutter guards can save you from dealing with many of the problems that clogged gutters can cause.
The easiest way to clean gutters will be to prepare yourself with all the necessary tools and assistance before getting up on a ladder. The easiest way to clean gutters does not mean waking up one morning and deciding to start gutter cleaning because someone in your house gave you an ultimatum to do it.
The easiest way to clean gutters may also not mean hiring a professional gutter cleaning company.
Should You Hire a Professional Gutter Cleaning Company?
Hiring a professional gutter cleaning company may seem like the easiest way to clean gutters, but not necessarily.
First of all, you will have to hire them at least twice a year, which can be expensive.
Second, there is also a lot of prep work to complete beforehand, even if you hire a professional cleaning company. Also, they won’t help you with any alternative solutions like gutter guards, as they rely on your repeat business to make money.
The cost of professional cleaning doesn’t stop there, as the workers may also cause damage to your roof when they walk around on it. As well, they may need to bolt a safety harness to your roof to hold them securely while they use a commercial-grade leaf blower to blast out the debris from the gutters.
Hopefully, most of the leaves and gunk will make it to the ground and not wind up splattered on your siding. However, that high-powered blower may also damage your shingles, causing them to lift and tear.
Hiring Affordable and Professional Gutter Cleaning
Beware of false advertising when you are hiring affordable and professional gutter cleaning. The company may advertise a $79 rate, but this is only the base price. Once they get a look at your house, they will tell you that your home doesn’t fit the criteria to get that offer. Suddenly, the price can jump to several hundred dollars, and they’re just getting started.
There are other things to consider as well. There is also liability insurance, in addition to worker’s comp insurance.
Does this company have it, or are they relying on your home owner’s insurance in case someone gets hurt?
These are all questions to ask, along with asking how many people are going to show up to do the job.
You will also have to ask them about the equipment they are using for cleaning your gutters. You will be surprised about how many workers will show up with a couple of extension ladders, buckets, and scrub brushes. Then they will charge you several hundred dollars for something you could have done yourself.
Calling in the professionals eliminates the worry about falls and will also help keep your insurance rates as low as possible and will help prevent you from spending out of pocket money on hospital or doctor visits related to a fall.
If you are tired of paying for professional cleaning and don’t want to do it yourself, micromesh gutter guards from MasterShield are an option that will save you from the worry of hiring affordable and professional gutter cleaning and the damage it can do to your roof.
Home Gutter Cleaning, Step by Step
If you are skeptical about hiring a professional, doing home gutter cleaning yourself will ensure your gutters are kept clean and functioning properly. Here are a few steps to take that will make cleaning your gutter at home much safer and efficient:
Tarps to protect against gutter waste
Sturdy, waterproof gloves
Gutter scoop to help scoop out gunk
Plastic bucket to collect gutter waste
Garden hose to rinse out gutter afterward
Step 1: Set up the ladder properly by placing it on stable, sturdy ground and climb the ladder to see what you are dealing with. (See our section on ladder safety first.) Start at the end with the downspout and work your way to the middle of the gutter. You want to avoid pushing any of the gunk into the downspout and accidentally clogging it.
Step 2: Clean out the larger debris first. Make sure to clean out your downspout strainer at this time as well. Getting all of the large debris is the main thing to help keep your gutters from clogging. Doing this first will also give you a perspective on what kind of gutter problems you are looking at repairing.
Step 3. Next, clean out the smaller debris. A gutter scoop can be helpful but most of the time you’re better off just sticking your hand in. That is why we recommend using sturdy waterproof gloves. Use a gutter brush to stop any algae from spreading.
Step 4: Once all debris is cleared out, take your hose and spray your gutters to flush out any remaining bits of debris. When spraying the hose, be sure to start at the end opposite of the downspout.
Step 5: Check your downspout to make sure it is working fine and is clog-free. If not, you will need to clean this as well.
Tips & Tricks: The Fastest Way to Clean Gutters
Tip #1. You want to make as few trips up and down the ladder as possible. So when you go up the ladder, take everything you need with you before you climb. Make sure you have your bucket, garbage bag, hose, scoop, brush, and waterproof gloves each time.
Tip #2. It pays to pay a helper! They don’t have to get up on the ladder. All they have to do is hand you things or use the power washer to clean up. You will get the gutter cleaning finished in half the time.
Tip #3: Consider attaching your bucket to a rope which you can lower down to the person spotting you when you need the waste bucket cleaned out. Along with a tarp, this will make cleaning up quicker.
Tips & Tricks: The Safest Way to Clean Gutters
The biggest reason people go for professional cleaning is because of the safety issues involved with getting up on a ladder. So here are a few safety tips on the safest way to clean gutters if you use a ladder.
Do not ever put a ladder anywhere there is mud, snow, ice, or grease.
Never put a rock or a piece of wood under a ladder leg to make it stable.
Always climb with dry shoes. If you are using a hose to spray your gutters, this is especially important. Do not put a ladder in a wet pool of water.
Keep both feet on the ladder at all times.
Never stretch to reach another part of your gutter. Always climb down the ladder and reposition it so you are better able to reach a new area.
Wear sturdy shoes and clothes that are meant for working.
Always have a spotter help you to stabilize the ladder when you are climbing.
How to Lean a Ladder against a Gutter
The main thing about how to lean a ladder against a gutter is that you want to lean it against the roof so that it doesn’t touch the gutters. If you rest the ladder against the gutters, it will bend and damage them, especially if they are rolled formed aluminum.
So before you get up on a ladder, you will need to purchase a ladder stand-off. A ladder stand-off is a ladder accessory that attaches to the ladder so that it puts the weight of the ladder against the roof and not against the gutters. This way you will be able to easily reach the gutters to clean them without damaging the roof. The ladder stand-off will also give the ladder more stability when you are standing on it for added safety.
Gutter Cleaning Safety Harness
If you decide to go up on the roof to clean your gutters, always wear a gutter cleaning safety harness, even if you have a spotter for the ladder. It is not worth a trip to the emergency room – when you could spend about $100 on a safety harness that could also save your life.
You may need someone to help you install it, as this kind of harness will need to be anchored to the roof. A safety harness will come with the anchor, but it has to be fastened to the roof with screws.
As well, if you get a professional gutter cleaning, make sure each worker uses a cleaning safety harness to do the job. When they drill the holes for the anchor, though, you will have to make sure they don’t do any damage to your roof.
Cleaning Moss from Gutters
Cleaning moss from gutters may not seem like a priority, but the biggest problem with moss growth is that it retains excess water that can clog your gutters and weigh them down.
You can start cleaning moss from gutters and the roof by using a roof rake and gutter brushes to loosen and remove it, but this is about all you can do by yourself. Do not use toxic solutions like bleach for cleaning moss from gutters. Cleaners like bleach can damage your shingles and erode the metal, causing other problems in the future.
Unfortunately, you will probably have to have the moss cleaned off by professionals. One thing you can do, however, is to give your roof some more sunlight. Moss needs shade to grow, so if you have large trees around your home, you may want to trim them back. This will help keep your gutter cleaning to a minimum as well.
You can also protect your gutters from moss, algae, and other organisms with copper gutter guards from MasterShield. MasterShield’s new copper technology weaves 99.9% pure copper threads into a 316 stainless steel micro mesh filter. This ground-breaking micromesh works to kill moss spores and other organisms that can live in the damp environment of your gutters.
Cleaning Gutters with Covers
Cleaning gutters with covers is a frustrating project. This is mainly because someone told you that you would never have to clean gutters if they had covers on them. Nevertheless, here you are, cleaning the gutters one more time. Only now you have to clean the covers too.
Once you get up on the ladder, you will have to remove the covers, but in order to do this, you will definitely have to have a helper. It will take two of you to remove the gutter covers and then put them back. Then, while you are cleaning the gutters on the ladder, your partner can be cleaning the covers on the ground.
The gutter covers will probably be held on by clips or screws, but some simply just sit down in the gutter along with the debris which you will also have to remove. They will also have to be put back when you are finished cleaning, but there is a better solution – gutter guards.
Gutter guards are gutter covers that go over your gutters to prevent debris from clogging them. MasterShield gutter guards are micro mesh gutter guards that allow water to freely flow through while preventing all other materials from getting inside your gutters.
Cleaning Copper Gutters
Many people buy copper gutters to add an attractive line to the edge of the roof. They may not realize that over time, however, the shiny copper surface changes to a patina color as the copper surface oxidizes. Cleaning copper gutters is a chore, but if you want to restore them to their original state, it is possible to do this by using common household products.
For a homemade and safe cleaning solution, mix 4 cups of salt, 4 cups of flour, and four cups of vinegar in a bucket until it forms a paste. Using a soft-bristled scrub brush, rub the cleaning paste into the copper surface with a circular motion.
When the patina is gone, wipe the surface with a soft cloth. When you have a section completed, move the ladder to the next section and repeat the process. Finish off cleaning copper gutters by spraying them with water to remove any excess paste.
Gutter Helmet Cleaning
Gutter helmet cleaning is much like cleaning gutters with covers. You will have to remove the gutter helmets before cleaning the gutters.
Unlike gutter covers, gutter helmets are more than likely held on by rivets, screws, or clips. You can usually remove the clips by hand, but the screws will have to be removed with a screwdriver. Rivet heads have to be taken out with a drill bit by drilling into the rivet head until it comes off.
Again, this is a two-person job. After your partner helps you get the gutter helmets off, you can clean the gutters while your helper is doing the gutter helmet cleaning.
Cleaning The Outside of Gutters
Cleaning the outside of gutters will improve the look of your home the most dramatically, and yet is actually the easiest of the gutter cleaning projects. In this case, prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The outside of gutters is easy to wash off periodically with a garden hose and a pressure attachment. This will remove loose buildup and other stains like bird droppings. You can also use a bucket of mild, soapy water to scrub off any more stubborn stains with a soft nylon scrub brush. Never use harsh cleaners on your gutters.
Rinsing off your gutters every few months will also give you a chance to inspect them for gutter problems like bird nests, leaves, and other debris. Removing this kind of debris once a month can save you a lot of time when it comes to cleaning your gutter twice a year.
What is Ladderless Gutter Cleaning?
Ladderless gutter cleaning is one of those terms that home improvement centers use to get people to buy devices that will help with cleaning your gutters when someone can’t get up on a ladder to clean the gutters themselves.
If you’re not sure you want to make the investment in ladderless gutter cleaning, but still want clean gutters, then microfiltration gutter guards may be a better option. The state-of-the-art micromesh technology found in MasterShield gutter guards can permanently put an end to clogged gutters, saving you from even having to think about cleaning your gutters ever again.
That may be worth more to you than any ladderless cleaning tools you could possibly buy.
Chapter Two: Gutter Cleaning Tools
How Gutter Cleaning Tools Work
Gutter cleaning tools are mainly for people who can’t get up on ladders, but still want to handle gutter cleaning for themselves. The main problem with gutter cleaning tools, however, is that you can’t see what you are doing when you are standing on the ground below. Some gutter cleaning tools compensate for this with built-in cameras, which also drives up the price.
These gutter cleaning tools are also limited in the fact that they are mainly effective on one-story homes. This is because, in order to use them without a ladder, you have to attach them to an extension pole. You can reach the first floor gutters with it, but using a pole to reach a gutter brush up to the second story is fairly difficult.
Which means the biggest complaint about these gutter cleaning tools that are attached to poles is that people’s arms quickly tire from holding up the poles and using them for gutter cleaning.
These tools are also really only suited for grasping at dry leaves. Trying to move clumped-together wet leaves and fir tree needles out of your gutters is difficult because you can’t get any leverage from down below.
That’s the value of having MasterShield gutter guards. You will never have to clean your gutters again – guaranteed. In the meantime, let’s look at some gutter cleaning tools and see what they are capable of.
Gutter Vacuum Attachment
A gutter vacuum attachment is really just an extended hollow tube that fits onto the end of a Shop-Vac. The end of the gutter vacuum attachment is curved so that it fits over the edge of the gutter to do its work. If you are using a Shop-Vac, it will suck whatever it can into the bucket so that you can then empty it.
A gutter vacuum attachment is a popular option for gutter cleaning from the ground because it is so cheap, although you can’t see if you are getting everything as you do it. You can also buy a self-contained gutter vacuum system which we will talk about later, which can be very expensive.
Gutter Cleaning Brush
A gutter cleaning brush is simply a brush that is shaped to fit into your gutters that can also be attached to any standard extension pole to reach the roof. However, the effectiveness of a gutter cleaning brush relies solely on the effort you are able to put into using it. If you don’t have any upper body strength, the gutter brush simply will not work.
That said, a gutter brush is perfect for brushing pine needles, leaves, and other light debris that you will find sitting on top of any gutter guard.
The truth is that all gutter guards require some kind of maintenance, but the holes in MasterShield micromesh gutter guards are so small that only a single strand of hair can get inside.
Although, that doesn’t mean that things can’t pile up on top of your gutter guard. But a few minutes of brushing off the debris from the top of our micromesh gutter guards with a gutter cleaning brush will have them working like new.
Power Washer Gutter Cleaner
A power washer gutter cleaner is simply a garden hose attachment with a metal tube extender that reaches up to the edge of the roof. The metal tube curves over the edge of the gutter to wash it out.
It does this by intensifying the water pressure from a garden hose so that it becomes a high-powered jet stream that blasts away debris from the inside and outside of your gutters. The power washer gutter cleaner also claims to save you from getting up on a ladder quite a bit.
Leaf Blower Extension for Gutter Cleaning
A leaf blower extension for gutter cleaning is another popular way to clean gutters without a ladder. This is because if you get the leaf blower out to do yard work, it makes sense to clean the gutters at the same time.
The leaf blower extension for cleaning your gutters is also inexpensive, as it is really just an extension of plastic tubes with a curve at the end to reach into your gutters.
When you attach it to a leaf blower, the leaf blower extension for gutter cleaning will simply blow whatever debris is in your gutter back onto the roof or to the ground below, making a big mess. Of course, whatever you blow onto the roof will just go back into your gutters. You will also notice it mainly works on dry debris, not wet leaves and gunk.
Gutter Cleaning Hose Attachment
A gutter cleaning hose attachment is similar to the power washer gutter cleaner, with the exception that it may have less concentrated power. Along with the gutter brush, the hose attachment is the least expensive gutter cleaning tool you can buy.
The hose attachment is an aluminum tube with a wand at the end that “flushes out” the gutters and may well reach up to the second story. Some have a high-pressure nozzle at the end, which may dislodge some debris.
This is usually purchased at the home improvement store as an impulse buy and can be used for cleaning the outside of gutters as well.
The gutter rake is another gutter cleaning tool you can use with or without an extension. It looks like a trowel and is used to scrape gunk out of the gutters. Its main advantage is that it extends your reach when you are gutter cleaning by hand.
The gutter rake is another gutter cleaning tool that is cheap to buy, but labor-intensive to use.
Gutter Cleaning Extension Tool
A gutter cleaning extension tool is another one of the tools that tries to get around using a ladder to clean your gutters manually. This is an invention that uses a set of tongs or paddles at the end of an extension pole that will grip debris by using a rope that you pull on.
If an extension tool sounds like it takes a bit of maneuvering to use, it does. People who purchase these gutter cleaning tools often admit that it takes a while to learn how to use, and then is only partially effective.
As well, a separate tool pouch or belt will have to be purchased to rest the device on your pelvis as your arms will become quickly tired from using it. This is also a hit-and-miss method to find debris and grab ahold of it without being able to see what you are doing.
Chapter Three: Gutter Cleaning Systems
Gutter Cleaning Systems
Gutter cleaning systems is another term used by the “ladderless gutter cleaning” industry to promote do-it-yourself, ladderless cleaning. The main difference between gutter cleaning systems and tools, however, is the price.
Whenever you attach the word “system” to “gutter cleaning” you are looking at a big price jump.
A gutter cleaning vacuum system is for commercial use and larger two-story homes, although anyone can use it. This works like a Shop-Vac and is a self-contained vacuum system designed specifically for gutters.
You can actually get a professional to clean your guttersand they will use the same vacuum system that is also available for retail sale.
This gutter cleaning vacuum system is extremely powerful, has an extension, and reaches to second stories easily. It also comes with a built-in camera so that you can see what you are doing.
There is little or no mess and the vacuum is fairly easy to use. The cost, though, is the main set back. Prices start at around $1,200 and go up from there, for a machine you may use only twice a year.
Automatic Cleaning System
“Automatic gutter cleaning system” is another word for gutter cleaning robot, although there are a few differences. The differences are mainly in the extra features and the price. The misleading term here though is the word “automatic.”
There is no automatic way to manually remove the debris from your gutters because no two homes or gutter systems are exactly alike.
Nonetheless, an automatic cleaning system is a motor-driven device that sits down in your gutter (after you get up on a ladder and put it there) and moves down the length of your gutter, throwing any debris in its path out onto your lawn and gardens.
It is waterproof, controlled by a remote, and runs on a battery. The cleanup of the yard is a separate chore.
A gutter cleaning pole system is extremely elaborate terminology for a gutter cleaning extension tool. Although to its credit, a gutter cleaning pole system will come with several different attachments you can try out.
The “pole system” part refers to the fact that there is a telescoping pole for the attachments that will extend your reach to the gutters if you are on the ground, or further along the gutters if you are on a ladder.
A gutter cleaning pole system will probably come with attachments that will work with your garden hose and Shop-Vac, as well as including a gutter cleaning brush. A gutter pole cleaning system is a little more expensive, but it can be used for cleaning the outside of gutters as well.
Compressed Air Gutter Cleaner Attachment
A compressed air gutter cleaner attachment is a very powerful cleaning tool due to the pressure that comes from an air compressor to operate it. This is sometimes referred to as a blow-gun air compressor attachment because it will literally blow away anything out of your gutters and into your yard or onto your roof.
Make sure to wear safety goggles when you use this attachment and clear the area as you can’t predict where any flying debris will land.
Gutter Cleaning Robot
The cleaning robot is a scaled-down version of the automatic gutter cleaning system. These robots are more readily available if you shop online. It fits in your gutters and moves along them to fling any gutter debris it encounters out onto your lawn. Just like the automatic cleaning system, it is also remote-controlled and runs on a rechargeable battery.
You will have to clean and recharge the robot every time you use it, and you still have to get up on a ladder to place it and then remove it. The robot also tends to be on the light side and may simply roll over clumps of wet leaves instead of flinging them into your yard. This means getting up on a ladder to retrieve what the robot left behind.
Emergency Gutter Cleaning
Emergency gutter cleaning is something you want to avoid at all costs. There are lots of gutter problems you can have, but many of them are a result of poor water drainage due to debris in the gutters.
The weight of wet debris in your gutters can cause them to pull away from the fascia board, when emergency or professional gutter cleaning and repair can cost you a lot of money.
A clogged downspout will also mean that you can have standing water from the gutters leaking right into your house or behind your home’s siding – whichever the path of least resistance is for the water to go.
You may think this happens over time, but gutters can clog very quickly. Even pollen that builds up in the summer months can eventually clog your gutters and downspouts. And you can’t just hose these gutter problems away.
Instead, easily brushing pollen and other debris off of MasterShield micromesh gutter guards would be a much better option than calling professionals for an emergency gutter cleaning in order to save your house from water damage.
Gutter Cleaning Cost vs the Cost of MasterShield Gutter Guards
The cost of gutter cleaning is unpredictable because it never ends. Your time may be free, but the equipment isn’t, and if you get into professional cleaning, the cost will go up each time you use it.
There is one thing for sure though, the average cleaning will cost you around $200 per visit. To avoid water damage to your home, clean your gutters every spring and fall. You can do it yourself, but if you read the reviews online for cleaning tools, they are mixed at best, and you may be throwing your money away for no results whatsoever.
Our microfiltration copper gutter guards work to keep your gutters flowing freely and will save you from wondering what to do about rain gutter cleaning every time you have a heavy downpour.
The secret is in our new copper technology. 99.9% pure copper wire woven into a 316 stainless steel filter that will process 100% of the oils and organisms in the runoff from your roof – while preventing debris of any size from getting in.
And brushing off the tops of micromesh gutter guards is the easiest way to clean gutters there is to date.