Learn This Easy 5-Step Gutter Cleaning Process

Cleaning your gutters might seem like an arduous task, but this simple process makes regular maintenance manageable.

Gutter cleaning is one of those jobs many homeowners put off until it’s too late. The task of climbing a ladder, reaching into a dirty gutter, and removing gunk is hardly appealing. In fact, it can be downright intimidating. But if cleaning the gutters is on your to-do list, this 5 step gutter cleaning process will make this necessary chore much more manageable. 

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  • Ladder
  • Work gloves
  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Hose nozzle
  • Screwdriver
  • Gutter screws
  • Caulking gun


  • Large garbage bags
  • Silicone caulk

Gutter Cleaning Instructions

1. Position the Ladder

The first step in gutter cleaning is setting up the ladder safely. Extend the ladder according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring that the top rung is sufficiently above the gutter to provide a hand-hold and offer stability. It’s best to start on one end of the gutter and then move toward the other side.

You’ll have to reposition the ladder several times throughout the gutter cleaning process. Be sure to adjust the height according to the slope of the ground as you go. Also, be sure to position the ladder according to the manufacturer’s instructions at each stop.

2. Remove the Debris

While you’re on the ground, throw on some work gloves and grab a bucket. Carefully climb the ladder while carrying the bucket, going as slowly as necessary to maintain 3 points of contact at all times. 

Once you’re at a sufficient height, reach into the gutter and begin removing debris. Scoop out the leaves and twigs and place them in the bucket. Be careful not to lean or reach too far to the left or right, or the ladder could become unstable. You’ll have to reposition the ladder anyway, so the risk isn’t worth it.

3. Empty the Debris and Reposition the Ladder

With the gutter’s reachable area clear, carefully start down the ladder. Be careful, as work gloves can lose their grip once wet with gutter sludge. While on the ground, empty the bucket of debris into the large garbage bag. Don’t wait to empty the bucket; it can get heavy quickly.

Reposition the ladder so you’ll be able to reach the next few feet of the gutter. Again, check to ensure you’re setting the ladder up per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Continue climbing the ladder, scooping out the gutters, emptying the bucket, and repositioning the ladder until all the large debris is removed.

4. Flush the Gutters and Check the Downspouts

After the large debris is clear, it’s a good idea to flush the gutters with a garden hose. Flushing has several benefits:

  • It removes the small particles that can go unnoticed and pile up
  • You’ll be able to check for leaks or areas that trap water
  • It allows you to check the flow of the downspouts

Position the ladder so it’s resting on the high end of the gutter (or middle for dual-downspout runs). Using the garden hose nozzle’s jet setting, begin flushing the small debris toward the downspout. While you’re flushing, check for leaks, dents, or areas that trap water. Also, check that the downspout is flowing well.

5. Make Repairs

If you find any issues, it’s better to address them right away than to put them off. Replace any screws that might’ve gone missing. Use the silicone caulk to address any leaks between gutter sections or around the downspouts. This is also a good time to address any dents, which you can often take care of by hand.

For clogged downspouts, try breaking up the clogs by feeding the water hose up as high as it will go and turning the water on. If the downspout is particularly clogged, you might need to take each section apart by removing the screws with a screwdriver and clearing them with a stick, pole, or another rigid object.

With that, your gutters should be clean and free-flowing. Be sure to clean any unsightly black sludge and debris that might’ve fallen during this five-step gutter cleaning process, and rest assured that your gutters are ready to protect your home for another season.