Here’s a homeowner truth: cleaning gutters is one of those tasks that everyone hates. The thing is, your gutters can accumulate as much as 250 pounds of debris a year, so even if it’s not on your “fun list,” it is something you need to check off of your to-do list. Otherwise, you’ll put yourself at risk for leaks, water damage and an expensive gutter replacement.
If you’re dreading this household task more than a kid dreads the first day of school, we can help you out! Here are five ways to make gutter cleaning a little bit easier.
1. Pick the right time. Strategically, the best time to clean your gutters is late spring. That way, you’ll be able to remove all of the pollen and seeds that have fallen during the weeks of heavy blooming, along with any lingering winter debris. Note: The exact time of this gutter cleaning sweet spot will vary based on location, so use your best judgment.
2. Wear gloves and long sleeves. Even if the weather is warm, the contents of your gutters are probably wet and cold. Plastic gloves will make the job more pleasant and keep your hands warm. Plus, if you run into a dead bird or vermin, you won’t accidentally touch it with your bare hand!
3. Buy a kid’s sand scoop. Plastic scoops sold in the kid’s toy aisle are also perfect gutter cleaning scoops. They’ll keep your hands clean and help you shovel more gunk with each arm thrust than bare-handing the chore, plus they’re really light and easy to handle!
4. Lay a plastic tarp. Save yourself the hassle of cleaning your yard after you clean your gutters by putting a piece of tarp under your ladder. The handfuls of leaves and debris you’re grabbing from the gutter will end up on the tarp instead of on your lawn.
5. Use a ladder horn. Unless you live in a one-story house, you’ll need a ladder to clean out your gutters. If you use an extension ladder (which has to be propped up against a building), invest in a stabilizer. Also known as ladder horns, stabilizers hold your ladder back from the gutter and prevent damage.
6. Rent a pressure washer. If it’s been awhile since your last gutter cleaning, your garden hose won’t stand a chance against the dirt on the outside of your gutters. Instead, rent a pressure washer (usually around $50 at your local hardware store). Stand on the ground and aim the pressure washer at the gutters – just make sure the angle isn’t too high, or you’ll blow off roof shingles!