The best way to clean the gutters

best way to clean the gutters advice
How to clean the guttersAscentXmedia - Getty Images

Gutters that are clogged with leaves and debris can cause a whole host of problems. By keeping them clear, you’re helping to protect your windows, doors, exterior walls and even the foundations of your house from water damage. If you happen to have a basement, you’ll also be helping prevent flooding down there too.

While calling in the professionals to clean your gutters is an easy option, doing the job yourself – if you're confident you can do so safely – could save you a pretty penny.

If your gutters are in need of a clean, just follow our guide to clear them...

Tell-tale signs

If you see any of the below in or around your gutters, it's time to give them a clean:

  • Water spilling over the sides of your gutters

  • Sagging gutters

  • Staining on exterior walls of house

  • Plant growth

  • Birds nesting in them

best way to clean the gutters advice
Willowpix - Getty Images

How often do gutters need cleaning?

Ideally, you should clean your gutters twice a year, late in spring and again in autumn. But, if you notice any of the above tell-tale signs, you should check your gutters as soon as possible.

Keep an eye on environmental factors too; if it’s particularly windy over a few days, or the leaves on trees drop overnight, that’s a good indicator to check your gutters for debris.

Clear and clean

Firstly, you should only tackle your gutters if you’re confident doing so and have a sturdy ladder. Otherwise, call in the professionals who will make quick and easy work of it and who are insured to do so. Use CheckaTrade or Trust a Trader — both of which have excellent ratings on Trustpilot — to find a professional near you.

If you're doing it yourself, work your way around the gutters, moving the ladder regularly rather than overstretching. Scoop out as much of the debris as possible with either a gloved hand or a narrow garden trowel and place it in a bucket.

Then, wash out the gutters with a hose, working from the end of the guttering towards the outlet – take care as this can be a messy job. Use a stiff brush to remove any stubborn grime.

If water isn’t flowing freely through the drainpipes, there may be an obstruction. To clear, try directing the hose down the pipe to dislodge it. If this doesn’t work, insert a plumber’s auger to clear any blockages.

Once the gutters are clean, it might be worth buying leaf guards for the drain outlets to prevent leaves going down and causing further blockages. Alternatively, gutter hedgehogs can be used to prevent blockages caused by leaves.

Can you clean gutters from the ground?

It is possible to clean gutters from the ground, but it’s by no means an easy task. You need to invest in extendable tools to clear any blockages and others to rinse the gutters through afterwards (the latter are often designed to fit onto a hose or a pressure washer).

However, it’s very difficult to see what you’re doing from the ground, which makes it much more difficult to identify where there might be a blockage and to clear it effectively.

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