Your rain gutters need to be cleaned at least once a year (twice in some areas) and fall is the best time to do it. Heading into wintertime with clean gutters is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of your home. Water that backs up in clogged rain gutters and freezes can cause ice dams that can damage your roof. When water spills over the side of clogged gutters and runs down the side of your house, it can damage flower beds, saturate the foundation, and wear on the side of your home. Here are a few tips to make the job of cleaning your rain gutters a little easier.

Be Prepared

Making sure you have everything ready before you begin cleaning the rain gutters will save you the time and hazard of climbing up and down the ladder unnecessarily.

  • Wear long sleeves and rubber gloves to protect your arms and give you some extra grip.
  • Use a ladder stabilizer or arrange for someone to be around who can hold the ladder steady for you.
  • Spread a tarp under your work area to keep the mess off of the lawn.
  • Hook up a garden hose to your outdoor spigot that is long enough to reach the gutters.

Use the Right Tools

The only tool you really need to clean out the rain gutters properly is a small plastic shovel. A metal one could damage the rain gutters, so pick up a plastic scoop at the hardware store, or borrow a sandbox shovel from your kids. Use the shovel to scoop all of the dirt and debris out of your rain gutters, paying close attention to the areas where the gutters meet the downspouts. When everything is cleared, run water through the gutters using a garden hose. You can check for both clogs and leaks as the water runs through.

Hire a Professional

If cleaning the rain gutters is not a chore that you’re particularly comfortable with, hire a professional to do the job for you. There’s no glory in injuries sustained from falling off a ladder, and professional cleaners can do the job relatively inexpensively. They will also have all the tools and supplies on hand so you won’t have to spend money acquiring the things you don’t have just for this job.