Cleaning Your Gutters – Do’s & Don’ts

Cleaning your gutters is essential for keeping a home healthy.

You know that, I know that, but getting it done is another matter.

One of the biggest challenges to gutter cleaning is the ladder fall risk. So before stepping on the ladder, here’s some Do’s and Don’ts so your ‘cleaning your gutters day’ is a safe and productive one.

The Do’s of Gutter Cleaning

1. Check for Electrical Lines:

Many homes have a secondary above ground electrical lines attached to the home. Unfortunately, these are often only inches away from the gutter.  Check with your utility company to install an insulating rubber blanket or have your power disconnected while working in that area of your home before gutter cleaning.

2. Choose the Right Ladder for Your Home:

Single-Story Houses: A four-legged stepladder should be fine.

Two-Story Or More: You’ll need an extension ladder for two-story homes.

3. Make Your Extension Ladder Safe

You need two pieces of equipment for this:

  1. Leg Levelers – these allow your ladder to adapt to the uneven ground.
  2. Ladder Stabilizers – these are arms that extend out from the ladder and rest on the roof. This adds stability, and keeps you from damaging your gutter by resting the ladder on it.

4. Gear Up

  1. Wear thick work gloves to protect your hands from dirt, animal waste, sharp debris and other hazards. Heavy rubber gloves or latex coated gloves will provide the best protection.
  2. Wear protective eyewear or goggles to prevent eye injuries. Please do not minimize this as a host of animals and insects can be living within the debris.
  3. Use rubber-soled shoes so you don’t slip on the ladder.

5. Have a Helper

The best way to keep the ladder sturdy is to have someone hold the ladder while you’re on it.

6. Three Points of Contact

Keep both legs and one hand on the ladder at all times.

7. Bring a Bucket or Trash Bag

The debris you’re cleaning out of the gutter needs somewhere to go, a trash bag is nice because you can drop it to the ground once it’s full.

8. Have a Garden Hose Ready

Caked on dirt inside the gutter is hard to remove. You’ll need some water to loosen it so it can be scooped out.

9. A Final Check

Once the gutters and downspouts are all clean, it’s a good idea to run water through them to make sure everything is draining properly and that there’s no leaks.

Extension ladder resting on roof ready to clean gutters with ladder stabilizers next to a red step ladder.
Extension ladder with ladder stabilizer attached is preferred for safe gutter cleaning on double story home. This is what the Gutter Cover KC crew uses for installation. This home has just had the Advantage Gutter Guard® installed so they never have to clean their gutters again.

The Don’ts of Gutter Cleaning

1. Don’t Work Near Electrical Lines

We already mentioned this in the Do’s, but make sure your electrical lines are insulated with a rubber blanket or your power is disconnected while you’re working in that area of your home.

2. Don’t Rest the Ladder on Your Gutters

Gutters are not designed to hold up to the weight a ladder exerts – especially not once a person is on it. The additional weight can cause them to scratch, dent or collapse. Invest in ladder stabilizers. We use the Werner 97P ladder stabilizers, these cost between $75-$100 each online.

3. Don’t Reach to the Side

It might be very tempting, this can cause the ladder to shift and fall with you on it.

4. Don’t Forget the Downspouts & Underground Drains

If the downspouts or underground drains are clogged, the water will have no where to go and will overflow. Be sure to clean these too.

Or…Skip Gutter Cleaning Altogether…

As you can tell, gutter cleaning has quite a few risks. However, to keep your home healthy, gutter cleaning has to be done regularly at least 3-4 times a year. Or, you could get Advantage Gutter Guard®. Once installed on your home, you will never have to clean your gutters again – or think about your gutters again. If you consider the time saved, the peace of mind and ladder risk-avoidance, it is more than worth the investment.  Just give Gutter Cover KC a call and set up a free estimate. You won’t regret it!

Finally, gutter cleaning can be one miserable chore forever crossed off your list.


Updated from previous post November 2020

More Guttering Tips

Do Gutter Guards Really Work?

Gutter Guards do work! However, you have to get the right gutter guard. Solid surface gutter guards have been proven to work. Gutter guards with holes in the top, screens, plastic products and micro-mesh leaf filters are problematic. Be sure to research the company and product before purchasing. For more information, check out our blog Do Gutter Guards Really Work in Kansas City?

What Happens If I Have A Problem With My Gutter Guard?

Advantage Gutter Guard ® comes with a lifetime guarantee that your gutters will never clog again. This means if you have a problem with your gutter guard, we’ll be out there to address it.

Some reasons to trust our lifetime guarantee:
  1. 19+ years of business in KC
  3. The quality design of the product itself
  4. The people behind the Advantage Gutter Guard®

For more information, read our blog What Happens If I Have A Problem With My Gutter Guard?


How Do I Winterize My Gutters?

Follow this check-list to prepare your gutters for winter:

  1. Attach and check downspout extensions. As snow and ice melt the ground gets inundated with water. Make sure the large amount of snow melting off your roof and gutters gets directed away from your home’s foundation.
  2. Tighten gutter spikes or brackets. 
  3. Inspect gutters to make sure they are sloped properly. Gutters need to be sloped towards the downspout to insure proper water drainage.
  4. Clean your gutters and your downspouts.

For more winter tips check out our blog Are Your KC Gutters Ready For Winter?