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Tips on How to Clean Gutters

Clear leaves and debris without damaging the gutters—or yourself.

Gutter full of leaves. iStock

Fall foliage is glorious on trees, but in your roof gutters, not so much. Tackle debris buildup with these tips. If climbing a ladder, be sure to use a stabilizer bar for safety and to prevent damaging the gutters.

Tips for Cleaning Gutters

Start in the corners

Use rubber gloves to clear debris from tight spots, such as corners and downspouts. Toss debris in a bucket instead of onto the ground, where it can become a slipping hazard. The LadderLimb ($20; slides into any hollow rung, keeping your bucket in place.

Clear straight runs

A DIY plastic scoop is an easy, inexpensive tool for removing leaves. Peel the label off a quart-size plastic milk jug or a 20-ounce soda bottle. Use a utility knife to slice off the bottom at an angle to make the scoop.

Free connections

Usually, two elbows join the gutter to the downspout—a perfect place for clogs. A blast of water from a garden hose is often enough to clear clogged gutters. For stubborn blockages, try a hand-crank plumber's snake, then use the hose to flush out the downspout.

Consider a guard

Fine-weave mesh covers like the Gutterglove Pro (about $9 per linear foot; let water pass through while keeping debris out.