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How to Clean Your Gutter Guards (Step by Step)

How to Clean Your Gutter Guards (Step by Step)

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Gutter guards are very useful overall because they make cleaning the gutters a lot easier. You might have only recently started using them, though.

Many people are still used to just cleaning the gutters the normal way. If you aren’t familiar with gutter guards yet, then you might not be completely sure how to go about cleaning them.

Thankfully, the process is actually really easy. If you know what you’re doing, it’s going to be faster and simpler to clean the gutter guards than it would be to clean gutters that don’t have guards.

Read on to learn how to clean gutter guards safely and reliably.

Cleaning Gutter Guards Is Basically the Same No Matter What Type You Have

The first thing to know is that what type of gutter guard you’re using doesn’t matter all that much. Gutter guards are going to be cleaned pretty much the same way no matter what design style you decided to go with.

There are many variations of gutter guards on the market. Some of the most popular types utilize mesh material to keep debris from getting into the gutters.

You’ll also find gutter guards that are simply foam blocks that allow water to pass through while preventing debris from getting inside. Then there are perforated metal gutter guards that function pretty much the same way as the common mesh guards.

Which gutter guard design is the best really depends on personal preference. All of them have the potential to work well, and cleaning will be just as easy no matter which one you have.

Lay a Cloth Down Under the Gutters

Before you get started with the actual cleaning, it’s going to be wise to lay a cloth down under the gutters. This will be the drop cloth that will catch any debris that you’re throwing on the ground.

You’ll be able to easily grab the debris once you climb down and you can then bag it for disposal. Technically, you don’t have to use a drop cloth if you don’t want to.

It’s useful to use a drop cloth because it keeps the debris from spreading or getting on things that you wouldn’t want to get dirty. For instance, you might not want the gunk that’s on your gutter guards touching your plants or your lawn.

Any type of cloth will be fine to use so long as you don’t mind getting it dirty. Some people even use tarps when they need to protect bushes and shrubs that are underneath the gutters.

Secure Your Ladder Properly

Next, you’re going to want to grab a ladder that will allow you to easily reach the gutters. You don’t want to have to reach too much because this will make it more likely that you’ll lose balance and fall.

After you’ve grabbed a ladder that’s tall enough to help you get the job done, it’ll be time to place it on a secure spot. Find a position where your ladder will be able to stay steady on the ground so that it won’t wobble while you’re climbing and cleaning.

The safest thing to do would be to have someone with you who can hold the ladder while you’re doing what you need to do. It’s always safer to have someone help you out than it is to climb ladders when you’re all alone.

If you’re going to do this while you’re alone, then at least ensure that the ladder is secured well so that you can climb it confidently. Once you’re ready, climb up and start cleaning.

Remember to Wear Gloves

Wearing protective gloves is a good idea when you’re doing this type of work. It’s hard to say what you might be grabbing when you’re cleaning off your gutter guards and it’d be better to err on the side of caution by using gloves.

If you don’t have gloves, then you could poke your hands by grabbing a sharp twig or something such as that. It wouldn’t be good to cut yourself or wind up having painful scrapes on your hands.

You don’t need expensive gloves to protect your hands either. Just a simple pair of gardener’s gloves will suffice for what you’re doing.

Put the gloves on before you climb the ladder to make things easier. You always want to be able to use both hands while climbing so that you can climb safely.

Manually Remove the Debris on the Guards

Gutter guards do a great job of keeping your gutters working as intended. However, you’re going to have debris get on top of the guards sometimes.

You might have some spots get cluttered or stuck after many months of use. This means that you’ll need to climb up there every so often to remove the gunk.

It shouldn’t be necessary to do this too often, and you definitely won’t have to clean your gutter guards as often as you clean gutters that don’t have guards. Even so, many people recommend cleaning your gutter guards at least twice per year.

You might have to clean them a bit more often than that if you have many tall trees in your yard. It really depends on the situation because some people might be fine with only cleaning the gutter guards once per year.

Once you’ve climbed the ladder and you have your gloves on, it’s just going to be necessary to grab any debris that you see. Grab the debris with your hands and then toss it down to the cloth or tarp that you have on the ground below.

You’ll likely need to reposition your ladder a few times so that you can clean the gutter guards completely. It shouldn’t take too much time and the amount of debris that you’ll be dealing with should be less than if you didn’t have gutter guards at all.

You also won’t have to worry so much about certain things that can be a real hassle for those who don’t have gutter guards. Gutter guards keep birds from nesting in the gutters so you shouldn’t have to face any dilemmas when it comes to removing bird nests.

Remove the Guards and Rinse Them Off

Depending on the design of the gutter guards that you’re using, it might be possible to easily remove them. In this situation, it’ll be convenient to snap the gutter guards off and hand them down to your helper.

Your helper can use a hose to rinse the gutter guards off so that they will look nice and clean. Once everything is rinsed, the helper can hand them back up to you so that you can snap them back into place.

If this isn’t possible, then you can have the helper hand you the hose. Try to safely use the hose from the ladder to rinse the gutter guards and get rid of any grime that you see.

It’s probably a good idea to spray water into the gutters to ensure that everything is flowing out properly, too. It’ll help to make it obvious if you missed any debris or if there are issues that you hadn’t noticed before.

Climb Down Safely

With the gutter guards rinsed off, you’ll be able to climb down safely. Hand anything that you’re still holding down to your helper if possible so that you can focus on climbing down.

Use both hands when climbing down and try to take things slowly so that you won’t stumble or lose your balance. Once you’re back on the ground, you’ll be able to take your ladder down and put it back into storage.

Grab any debris that is on the tarp or cloth that you were using to catch things. Put the debris into garbage bags so that you can get rid of it properly.

Some of the debris will likely be able to be placed in a compost bin if you happen to have one of those. After you’ve finished cleaning up on the ground, you’ll be free to wash up and go about enjoying the rest of your day.

Final Thoughts

It isn’t all that hard to clean gutter guards now that you know how to approach the situation. You won’t have to carve out a significant chunk of time to get this job done either.

Many people can clean their gutter guards quite fast, but you don’t want to try to rush things too much. Focus on being safe and don’t try to reach too much when you’re picking debris off of the guards.

It’s better to reposition the ladder than it is to reach too far and fall off of the ladder. So long as you’re being safe and making good choices, cleaning the gutter guards will never seem to be too much of a hassle.

Remember to do this twice per year and everything should work as intended. It’ll be good to do this job when you have a helper around if you want to be as safe as possible, but you can do the job alone so long as you’re being careful.


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