3 Wacky Tricks for Cleaning Gutters

Homeowners have come up with some pretty unusual ways to avoid having to climb a ladder and clean their gutters. At the end of the day, though, nothing beats the ease of a gutter system that never gets clogged in the first place.

Cleaning the gutters may be the least favorite of all the things that homeowners have to do to take care of their homes. But whether you like it or not, you have to clean your gutters often.

When working right, gutters do something that most people don’t see but is very important: they keep rainwater, which is a home’s natural enemy, away from the foundation, siding, and trim. If you don’t keep up with your gutters, they will eventually get full and overflow, letting water go where it doesn’t belong.

When there isn’t enough storm drainage, leaks, flooding, mold growth, and pest infestations can happen, which can cause a lot of expensive damage.

No matter where you live, you should clean your gutters twice a year, at the end of fall and the beginning of spring. If your house is on a lot with a lot of trees, you might want to do this even more often. So, what should you do? So, there are many ways to get the job done.

A simple extension ladder, a thick pair of work gloves, and a bucket may be the most common way to do it. But over time, some creative DIYers have come up with their ways to do things. Here are some of our favorite unusual ways that people are fighting the never-ending battle against leaves.

1. Sent Flying

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You probably already know that a leaf blower makes it easy to pick up leaves on the ground. What you might not have thought of is that a leaf blower can also be used to clean out your gutters. The trick is to make the blower’s reach much longer than it usually is.

Attachment kits for this purpose can be found at your local home center. If you’d rather not spend the money, you can always make something work with plumbing supplies. Not a leaf blower owner? Try using a shop vacuum. It turns out that you can turn a shop vacuum from a suction tool into a blower by switching where the hoses are attached.

The problem with either method is that blowing air can move dry leaves and twigs, but it can’t move things that are stuck in the dirt or are breaking down.

Also, keep in mind that most homes with more than one story require a ladder to get to the gutters. No matter who you are or what’s going on, climbing an extension ladder is always a risky thing to do. But climbing up a ladder with a leaf blower in your hand? That’s a sure way to make things go wrong, so don’t do it!

2. Work by Hand

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Cultivators are tools that every serious gardener or landscaper needs. They have a long wooden handle and strong steel tines. Most of the time, these tools are used to break up weeds and till the soil.

They can be as long as five or six feet. And because they are big, you can work over a large area without having to bend or stretch uncomfortably.

What makes the cultivator useful in the yard also makes it useful for cleaning gutters, at least on a single-story house. When you use a cultivator to clear out your gutter, the gunk has nowhere to go but around your house.

So, depending on how you feel about how things look, you might have to clean out the gutters not once, but twice. Another problem is that the cultivator can’t get rid of clogs in the downspouts.

In the end, a cultivator can be used in a pinch, even though it’s messy and only gets some of the job done. However, it can only be used on single-story homes.

3. Water Wise

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Strangely, concentrated, carefully controlled streams of water can be used to clean gutters, especially when there is a lot of heavy, rotting debris. You’re already halfway there if you have a garden hose connected to an outdoor faucet.

The other thing you need is a long, telescoping hose wand with a spray nozzle that points down and is angled. You can buy or make an extender if your hose attachment isn’t quite long enough or doesn’t have the right kind of nozzle.

Attention: Even though this method can work, especially for cleaning out downspouts, you will almost certainly get wet in the process, so put on your rain gear before you start.

Also, you can expect to have to rinse or scrub the mud off your roof, exterior walls, and parts of your lawn, hardscape (like walkways and driveways), and planting areas. You’re right if you’re thinking, “Well, that sounds like a lot of trouble to go through!”