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How To Clean Gutters With Guards How To Clean Gutters With Guards


How To Clean Gutters With Guards

Written by: William Harrison

Discover effective techniques and step-by-step instructions in these informative articles on how to clean gutters with guards.

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Table of Contents


Gutters are an essential component of any home’s drainage system, as they help direct rainwater away from the roof and foundation. However, over time, gutters can become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, which can lead to water overflow, damage to the gutters, and even problems with the foundation.

To prevent such issues, many homeowners choose to install gutter guards. Gutter guards are specially designed covers or screens that fit over the gutters, allowing water to flow in while blocking debris from entering. While gutter guards do a great job of reducing the amount of debris that accumulates in the gutters, they still require regular maintenance to keep them functioning optimally.

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean gutters with guards so that you can keep your gutter system in excellent condition and avoid costly repairs. We will also discuss the tools and materials needed for the job, important safety precautions to follow, and tips for ongoing maintenance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regularly cleaning gutters with guards is crucial to prevent clogs, prolong gutter lifespan, and protect your home from water damage and pest infestation. Invest in gutter guard maintenance for a well-functioning gutter system.
  • Prioritize safety when cleaning gutters with guards by using sturdy ladders, protective gear, and being mindful of surroundings. Implement ongoing maintenance to ensure clean, efficient, and functional gutters.

What are gutter guards?

Gutter guards, also known as gutter covers or gutter screens, are protective devices installed over the gutters to prevent debris from accumulating inside. They are designed to allow water to flow freely through the gutters while keeping out leaves, twigs, pine needles, and other unwanted debris.

Gutter guards come in various types, including mesh screens, solid covers, foam inserts, and brush-style guards. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but all serve the same purpose of reducing the need for regular gutter cleaning and preventing clogs.

Mesh screens are among the most common types of gutter guards. They consist of a fine mesh material that effectively keeps out small debris while allowing water to pass through. Solid covers, on the other hand, completely cover the gutter, preventing any debris from entering. Foam inserts are porous foam pieces that fit inside the gutters, allowing water to flow through while blocking debris. Brush-style guards feature bristles that create a barrier, preventing leaves and debris from entering.

Regardless of the type of gutter guard you choose, they all have the same goal: to minimize the amount of maintenance required to keep your gutters clean and functional. By installing gutter guards, you can significantly reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning, saving you time, effort, and potentially costly repairs in the long run.

It’s important to note that while gutter guards can be highly effective in preventing debris buildup, they are not completely maintenance-free. Over time, some debris may still accumulate on the surface of the guard, and it is necessary to clean and inspect them periodically to ensure their effectiveness.

Why clean gutters with guards?

Cleaning gutters is often a tedious and time-consuming task. However, when combined with the installation of gutter guards, the maintenance process becomes much more efficient and manageable.

Here are some of the key reasons why cleaning gutters with guards is necessary:

  1. Prevent clogs: The primary purpose of gutter guards is to prevent debris from entering the gutters. By keeping out leaves, twigs, and other debris, gutter guards help ensure that water flows freely through the gutters and downspouts without any obstructions.
  2. Reduce gutter maintenance: When gutters are unprotected, they can quickly accumulate debris which must be manually removed. With gutter guards in place, the amount of debris that enters the gutters is significantly reduced, leading to less frequent and less intensive gutter cleaning.
  3. Prolong gutter lifespan: Over time, debris buildup can cause gutters to become clogged, which can lead to water overflow and potential damage to the gutters themselves. By keeping gutters clean and clear of debris, gutter guards help prolong the lifespan of the gutters, preventing costly repairs or replacement.
  4. Prevent water damage: When gutters are clogged or overflowing due to debris, water can seep into the roof, walls, and foundation of your home. This can lead to water damage, mold growth, and structural issues. Gutter guards help prevent water from overflowing, effectively protecting your home from potential water-related problems.
  5. Minimize pest infestation: Clogged gutters can create a suitable environment for pests such as mosquitoes, birds, and rodents. By eliminating the debris that attracts these pests, gutter guards help minimize the risk of infestations and the problems associated with them.

Overall, cleaning gutters with guards is essential for maintaining proper water drainage, prolonging the lifespan of your gutters, protecting your home from water damage, and minimizing the need for frequent and time-consuming gutter cleaning. By investing in gutter guards and performing regular maintenance, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-functioning gutter system and the peace of mind that comes with it.

Tools and materials needed

Before you begin cleaning your gutters with guards, it’s important to gather the necessary tools and materials to ensure a successful and efficient job. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Gloves: Wearing heavy-duty work gloves will protect your hands from sharp debris and prevent any potential cuts or injuries.
  • Ladder: A sturdy ladder is essential for reaching and accessing the gutters. Ensure that the ladder is in good condition and properly set up on a level surface.
  • Tarp or drop cloth: Place a tarp or drop cloth beneath the area where you’ll be working to catch any falling debris and make cleanup easier.
  • Gutter cleaning tool: There are various gutter cleaning tools available, such as gutter scoops, trowels, or specially designed gutter cleaning brushes. Choose a tool that suits your preferences and effectively removes debris from the gutters.
  • Bucket or bag: Have a bucket or bag handy to collect the debris you remove from the gutters. Make sure it’s large enough to hold a significant amount of debris to minimize trips up and down the ladder.
  • Water source: A garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment will be needed for flushing the gutters after removing the debris. Ensure you have easy access to a water source.
  • Safety goggles: Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any debris that may fly out while cleaning the gutters.
  • Cleaning solution (optional): Depending on the level of dirt and grime on your gutters, you may want to use a mild cleaning solution or gutter cleaner to help remove stubborn stains or residue.
  • Screwdriver or drill (if needed): If you need to remove or adjust any screws or brackets on your gutter guards, have a screwdriver or drill on hand.

By gathering these essential tools and materials before you start, you’ll ensure that you have everything you need within reach and can complete the gutter cleaning process with ease and efficiency.

Step 1: Safety precautions

Prioritizing safety is crucial when cleaning gutters, especially when working at heights. Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to follow these safety precautions:

  1. Use a sturdy ladder: Ensure you have a stable and sturdy ladder that is tall enough to reach the gutters. Place the ladder on a flat and level surface, and consider using ladder stabilizers or standoff brackets for additional stability.
  2. Wear protective gear: Put on heavy-duty work gloves to protect your hands from sharp debris, and wear safety goggles to shield your eyes from dust and flying particles.
  3. Have someone assist you: Whenever possible, have someone else present to hold the ladder and provide assistance. They can help stabilize the ladder and pass tools or materials as needed.
  4. Check for power lines: Before setting up your ladder, survey the area for nearby power lines. Ensure that there is a safe distance between the ladder and any power lines to avoid potential electrical hazards.
  5. Be cautious of slippery surfaces: Watch out for wet or slippery surfaces, especially when using a ladder. Clear away any debris or standing water on the ground, and consider using non-slip footwear for better traction.
  6. Stay clear of unstable objects: Avoid leaning the ladder against unstable objects, such as gutters, downspouts, or fences. These objects may not be able to support your weight and could cause accidents.
  7. Monitor weather conditions: Choose a day with clear weather for gutter cleaning. Avoid cleaning gutters during heavy rain, strong winds, or electrical storms, as these conditions can make the task dangerous.
  8. Be mindful of your surroundings: Keep an eye out for obstacles or hazards, such as low-hanging tree branches or uneven ground. Ensure that the area around your ladder is clear before ascending.
  9. Know your limits: If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point during the gutter cleaning process, it’s best to stop and seek professional help. Your safety should always be the top priority.

Following these safety precautions will help minimize the risk of accidents and injuries while cleaning your gutters with guards. Remember to exercise caution and take your time to ensure a safe and successful cleaning experience.

When cleaning gutters with guards, use a leaf blower or a pressure washer to remove debris and dirt from the guards. This will help maintain the effectiveness of the guards and prevent clogs.

Step 2: Remove debris from the gutter guards

Once you have taken the necessary safety precautions, it’s time to start cleaning the gutters with guards. The first step is to remove any debris that has accumulated on the gutter guards. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Position yourself: Stand securely on the ladder, ensuring a stable and comfortable footing. Position yourself close to the area where the gutter guards are located.
  2. Put on gloves: Wear heavy-duty work gloves to protect your hands from sharp debris.
  3. Start at one end: Begin at one end of the gutter system and work your way towards the other end. This systematic approach ensures that you cover the entire gutter length and don’t miss any areas.
  4. Remove large debris: Using your hands or a gutter cleaning tool, gently remove any large debris, such as leaves, twigs, or branches, from the gutter guards. Place the debris into a bucket or bag for easy disposal later on.
  5. Clear small debris: Use a brush or your gloved fingers to clear any smaller debris that may be stuck in the mesh screens or crevices of the gutter guards. Take your time and be thorough in removing all unwanted material.
  6. Be cautious: Pay attention to your footing and be mindful of any debris that may fall from the gutter guards. Watch out for loose screws or brackets and ensure they are securely in place.
  7. Work systematically: Move along the length of the gutter system, repeating the process of removing large and small debris until you have cleared all the gutter guards. Take breaks as needed, but try to maintain a consistent pace to ensure timely completion.

Removing debris from the gutter guards is an essential step in maintaining the functionality of your gutter system. By keeping the guards clear, you allow water to flow freely and prevent clogs that can lead to damage. Once you have finished removing debris from the gutter guards, you can move on to the next step of the cleaning process.

Step 3: Flush the gutters with water

After removing debris from the gutter guards, it’s time to flush the gutters with water to ensure they are thoroughly clean and to test their proper functioning. Follow these steps to effectively flush the gutters:

  1. Prepare the water source: Attach a spray nozzle to your garden hose and position it near the area where you’ll be working. Ensure that the water source is easily accessible.
  2. Start at the downspout: Begin by directing the water spray into the downspout. This will help dislodge any remaining debris and ensure proper water flow through the gutter system.
  3. Work your way along the gutters: Starting from the downspout, move along the gutters towards the other end, continuously spraying water. Use a sweeping motion to cover the entire length of the gutter system.
  4. Focus on problem areas: Pay extra attention to areas where you noticed significant debris buildup or areas that may be prone to clogs. Direct the water spray to these areas to ensure thorough cleaning.
  5. Check for proper water flow: As you flush the gutters, observe the water flow to ensure it is unobstructed and flowing freely through the downspout. If water is pooling or not draining properly, there may be a clog that requires further investigation and cleaning.
  6. Take note of any leaks or damage: While flushing the gutters, keep an eye out for any leaks or damage. If you notice any cracks, gaps, or loose gutter sections, make a note of them for later repair.
  7. Repeat if necessary: If the water flow is not clear or you notice residual debris, repeat the flushing process until the water runs clean and smoothly through the gutter system.

Flushing the gutters with water helps remove any remaining debris and ensures that the gutters are functioning properly. It is an important step in maintaining the integrity of your gutter system. Once you have completed this step, you can move on to inspecting and repairing the gutter guards, which we will discuss in the next step.

Step 4: Inspect and repair the gutter guards

After cleaning and flushing the gutters, it is crucial to inspect the gutter guards for any damage or issues that may affect their performance. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to inspect and repair the gutter guards:

  1. Examine the gutter guards: Carefully inspect the gutter guards for signs of damage, such as cracks, bends, or loose fitting. Check both the surface and edges of the guards for any abnormalities.
  2. Repair loose guards: If you notice any gutter guards that are loose or not securely in place, use a screwdriver or drill to tighten screws or brackets. Ensure that the guards fit snugly and have a secure attachment to the gutters.
  3. Mend minor damages: For minor damages like small cracks or bends, you can often repair them yourself. Use a sealant specifically designed for gutter repairs to seal any cracks, or use pliers to straighten slightly bent sections of the guards.
  4. Replace damaged guards: In cases where the damage is extensive or beyond your repair capabilities, it may be necessary to replace the gutter guards entirely. Remove the damaged guards and install new ones following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Ensure proper alignment: As you inspect and repair the gutter guards, pay attention to their alignment and ensure that they are correctly positioned over the gutters. Proper alignment is important for the guards to effectively keep out debris.
  6. Consider professional assistance: If you are unsure about the extent of the damage or are uncomfortable performing repairs yourself, it is best to seek professional assistance. Gutter repair experts can assess the condition of the guards and provide the necessary repairs or replacements.
  7. Keep a maintenance schedule: To prevent future damage and ensure the longevity of your gutter guards, establish a regular maintenance schedule. Regularly inspect the gutter guards and clean them as needed to prevent debris buildup.

Inspecting and repairing the gutter guards is an essential part of the maintenance process. By promptly addressing any damages or issues, you can ensure that the gutter guards remain effective in keeping debris out of the gutters and maintaining proper water flow.

Step 5: Clean up and maintenance tips

Once you have completed the cleaning and maintenance of your gutter guards, it’s time to wrap up the process and implement some essential maintenance tips to keep your gutter system in excellent condition. Follow these steps for the final clean-up and ongoing maintenance:

  1. Clean up the work area: Remove the tarp or drop cloth used to catch debris and dispose of the collected debris appropriately. Sweep any remaining debris from around the work area and ensure it is clean and tidy.
  2. Inspect the downspouts: Check the downspouts for any residual debris that may have been dislodged during the cleaning process. Use a hose or pipe cleaner to clear any obstructions and ensure proper water flow.
  3. Trim nearby trees and vegetation: Trim any overhanging branches or vegetation that may potentially shed leaves or debris onto the gutters. By keeping trees and vegetation in check, you can minimize the amount of debris that enters the gutter system.
  4. Establish a regular maintenance schedule: Set a schedule for routine gutter maintenance to prevent the build-up of debris. Depending on your location and the surrounding vegetation, you may need to clean your gutters with guards every 3 to 6 months or as needed.
  5. Monitor for signs of clogs or damage: Regularly inspect your gutters and gutter guards for any signs of clogs or damage. Look out for overflowing water, sagging gutters, or water stains on the walls or foundation of your home. Address any issues promptly to avoid costly repairs.
  6. Consider gutter guard maintenance products: There are gutter guard maintenance products available that can help extend the lifespan of your gutter guards and reduce the need for frequent cleaning. These products can help repel debris or make it easier to clean off any accumulated dirt.
  7. Seek professional help when needed: If you’re uncertain about performing gutter maintenance or repairs, or if you notice significant damage, it’s best to consult a professional gutter cleaning or repair service. They have the expertise and tools to handle more complex issues.

By adopting these clean-up and maintenance tips, you can prolong the effectiveness of your gutter guards and maintain a properly functioning gutter system. Regular attention and proactive maintenance will help protect your home from potential water damage and costly repairs in the long run.


Maintaining clean gutters is essential for the overall health and longevity of your home. By installing gutter guards, you can significantly reduce the time and effort required for regular gutter cleaning. However, it’s important to remember that gutter guards still require maintenance to ensure their effectiveness. Regular cleaning and inspection of the gutter guards will help keep your gutter system functioning optimally.

In this comprehensive guide, we have provided step-by-step instructions on how to clean gutters with guards. We discussed the importance of safety precautions, the tools and materials needed for the job, and the necessary steps to remove debris, flush the gutters with water, and inspect and repair the gutter guards.

Additionally, we emphasized the importance of ongoing maintenance to prevent clogs, water damage, and other issues. Establishing a regular maintenance schedule, trimming nearby vegetation, and monitoring for signs of damage or clogs are all integral parts of proper gutter care.

Remember, when it comes to maintaining your gutter system, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive. By investing time in regular maintenance, you can avoid potential damage to your home’s foundation, roof, and walls. It’s always a good idea to seek professional help when needed, especially for complex repairs or extensive damage.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your gutter system with guards remains clean, efficient, and functional. Take the necessary steps to keep your gutters clear and prevent clogs, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained gutter system for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Clean Gutters With Guards

What are the benefits of using gutter guards?

Gutter guards provide several benefits, including preventing debris buildup, reducing the need for frequent gutter cleaning, and minimizing the risk of water damage to your home’s foundation. They also help to keep pests and animals out of your gutters, and can extend the lifespan of your gutters by preventing rust and corrosion.
How often should gutter guards be cleaned?

While gutter guards can significantly reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning, they still need to be cleaned periodically to ensure they function properly. Depending on the amount of trees and debris near your home, it’s recommended to clean gutter guards at least once a year to remove any accumulated dirt, leaves, and other debris.
Can I install gutter guards myself, or should I hire a professional?

Installing gutter guards can be a DIY project for those with some experience in home improvement. However, for those who are not comfortable working on ladders or roofs, or who have complex gutter systems, it’s best to hire a professional to ensure the guards are installed correctly and effectively.
Do gutter guards work in heavy rain and snow?

Yes, gutter guards are designed to handle heavy rain and snow. They prevent clogs and blockages that can occur during heavy precipitation, allowing water to flow freely through the gutters and away from your home. This helps to prevent water damage and ice dams, especially in colder climates.
Are gutter guards compatible with all types of gutters?

Gutter guards are available in various styles and materials to accommodate different types of gutters, including K-style, half-round, and box gutters. It’s important to choose gutter guards that are compatible with your specific gutter system to ensure a proper fit and optimal performance.

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