While there are many home improvement tasks that aren’t the funniest thing to do in the world, and to be completely frank I dread mowing the lawn every Saturday. But there is another “chore” that frustrates me to no end. Cleaning clogged gutters
Let’s face it: Cleaning clogged gutters is probably one of the most aggravating parts of home maintenance.
For most people, it involves climbing up high on a rickety ladder, hoping you do not fall and risking possible injury or worse (depending on how high your gutters are), and getting your hands dirty while digging a sludge-y pile of who knows what out the gutters.
Not only is it gross and time-consuming, but it can be a safety hazard if you are not too careful.
After my first fall off the ladder, I was always hesitant to climb back up ladders to clean the gutters.
Granted it is still easy as I’m still “young”, but for older people, seniors and people with disabilities, it can be especially dangerous, potentially maybe even impossible, or simply just as easy to hire someone else to clean your gutters for you (but if you are like me, I like saving my money).
Fortunately, there are easier ways (and safer ways) to clean and clogged and gunked up your gutters, and they do not involve touching a single pile of smelly and gross sludge.
The best part is they do not even require a ladder.
- Use the leaf blower.
If your clogged gutters are just filled with dry twigs, leaves, and not decaying plant matter, simply using a powerful leaf blower to get them out should do the trick. You won’t have to touch a thing (yay for clean hands!).
If your leaf blower does not reach the clog or gutters at all, avoid trying to climb a ladder while holding the device — that’s dangerous — by shopping for an extension kit at your local hardware store.
Alternatively, you can try attaching some basic lightweight tubing or PVC pipes to your blower with duct tape to create your extension.
Try a shop vac.
For wet and rotting material, skip the leaf blower and use your shop vac instead. If you cannot suction it out, try turning your shop vac into a blower.
You can do this by taking the hose out of the vacuum port and placing it into the exhaust port.
It can even be used this way to blow off your sidewalks, driveways, and garage floors if you do not have a leaf blower, as well as to dust outdoor equipment.
Make your garden tools do double duty.
If you have a hoe or long-handled cultivator lying around for gardening and yard work, you might find that it’s just as useful for removing gutter debris and clogs.
You’ll need one with a long handle — never try to climb a ladder holding such a tool.
It won’t work in your downspouts, but it can remove basic debris from the actual gutter.
A cultivator works best for extra-tough clogs because its sharp steel tines can stab and remove even wet and rotting debris.
Just don’t look up while you’re doing it, or you may end up with a face full of gunk.
Buy some gutter tongs.
You know those tongs you use to serve a salad? They make a similar — and much longer — product just for cleaning gutters.
They typically extend many feet so that you can even use them on two story homes, and they can dig and scoop even the most stubborn clogs out of your gutters. Best of all, you never have to step foot on a ladder.
Rely on water.
Full disclosure here, this is probably my favorite hack in this list. It may be rain and other watery elements that clog your gutters, but as it turns out, the same substance can help remove that debris, too.
The first thing you need is a spigot, water hose, and powerful sprayer. While you may be able to do it with just your hose and sprayer, adding a telescoping wand with a bent, curving, or oscillating head will make it much more manageable.
No ladder, no touching debris, and when you are done it is easy to clean up the mess you leave behind (that is if there is even any!)
Tips to keep in mind:
- Never climb a ladder while using a tool like a leaf blower or cultivator. The cumbersome nature of that is out of the question and safety should always be your top priority.
- Cleaning your gutters is the best way to prevent clogs from happening in the first place. While it may not be the funniest thing in the world, it is much easier to perform regular and routine cleanings than it is to remove a major clog.
- Consider having guards added to your gutters to keep leaves, twigs, and other materials from getting inside and creating clogs in the first place.