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The gutter system is an indispensable part of your home.

Not only does it prevent your roof from overflowing during the rains, but it also keeps the water from damaging the foundation of your home. And trust us; this will save you hundreds of dollars in repair work.

But all this won’t be possible without keeping the gutter system clean and fully functional at all times. And if you’re faced with a blocked gutter, then let us tell you that cleaning it the DIY way isn’t a herculean task per se.

So, jump in to read all about it!

What Do You Need To Clean A Blocked Gutter?

  • Extension ladder
  • Thick working gloves
  • Leaf scooper or any other similar tool
  • Long garden hose
  • Plastic tarp or drop cloth (optional)
  • Plastic bucket with sturdy handle (optional)
  • Trash bag (optional)
  • Plumber’s snake (optional)

How To Clean The Gutter?

Weeds Growing In Gutter

Step 1

Securely place the extension ladder against the roof so that you can reach the required areas without extending too much. Make sure that all the parts are correctly tightened, and if possible, ask someone to hold the ladder while you’re working. 

Once you have access to the gutter, take a quick look to determine the type of debris accumulated, as it will help you decide on the cleaning method. 

Step 2 (For Damp Debris)

If you see an overload of wet materials, you may have to employ either the “scoop and drop” or the “gutter bucket” method. 

The former is one of the easiest and fastest ways to clean a clogged gutter. Start by placing a long and adequately wide piece of fabric (drop cloth) or plastic tarp on the ground, right underneath where you will be cleaning. 

Then, use the leaf scooper to drag all the debris and let it fall on the cloth or tarp below. Since the leaves will be wet, you don’t have to worry about them blowing away with the wind.

When the tarp or drop cloth gets full, dump the content into the trash or a compost bin (if you have one) and continue with the process until the gutter is free of the wet debris. 

You may have to move the ladder several times to access the different areas of the roof gutter. But it’s still a safer option than stretching too much on the ladder and increasing your risk of tipping over.

Step 3 (Alternative)

If you don’t have a tarp or drop cloth in the vicinity and feel too lazy to buy one, then here’s a DIY hack. 

Take a plastic bucket and cut its handle right in the centre. Slowly bend the halves one by one to transform them into a hook-like shape, which can hang the bucket at the gutter edge. 

This will act as the tarp or drop cloth, and you can easily catch the debris. However, one drawback of this method is that the bucket will fill up faster, so you may have to make multiple rounds up and down the ladder to clean the entire gutter.

Step 4 (For Dry Debris)

Cleaning dry leaves and other dirt from the gutter is a little challenging, as you have to be wary of the weather. After all, the last thing you’d want is for gutter debris to get all over the place!

You can either use the bucket mentioned in the above step or cut out the bottom of the bucket. Take a gutter bag and fasten it to the bucket using duct tape or a velcro strap so that no part of the trash bag sticks out. 

Scoop the debris and direct it towards this container, but ensure that the weight isn’t too much. Otherwise, the bag may come undone, spreading the contents everywhere on the ground.

Step 5 

After the gutter is cleaned, it’s time to move to the downpipes. If they have horizontal extension pipes, remove them and insert the garden hose (from the top) where the gutters connect. Turn on the water flow (or ask someone) to check the water flow in the pipes.

If the water doesn’t come out with full force, then there’s a clog somewhere. In this case, use the full force of the water to break the clog and then test again. Use the plumber’s snake if you feel that the clog hasn’t cleared out. 

Insert it as much as possible and slowly rotate the handle to uncoil the head. The clog will invariably offer some resistance to the snakehead, making it difficult for you to operate the handle. So, take your time with this step.

Keep doing this until you can rotate the handle without any significant obstruction. We’d also suggest employing the water test to confirm that the clog, at least most of it, has broken down and been disposed of with the water flow.

Don’t forget to check the extension pipes for clogs and clean them well. Put everything back and test the water flow one last time. Keep the water running for a few minutes to rinse the interiors thoroughly.

Clearing Your Blocked Gutter

Cleaning that nasty blocked gutter at home doesn’t seem very difficult now.

If you aren’t familiar with a plumber’s snake, practice using it inside a discarded pipe or watch an online tutorial. But if the debris doesn’t come off with a scoop or the clog doesn’t break even after employing the snake, it’s best to seek professional help.

And after the system is clean, try screens or guards to prevent the entry of leaves and other debris into the gutter. We will now leave you to it with our best wishes!

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