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Tackle Gutter Gunk With These Cleaning Tips

Clear the mess without damaging the gutters—or yourself

woman cleaning leaves out of gutters while standing on a ladder wearing rubber gloves and holding a bucket
Photo by Oscar Knott/Alamy
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Fall foliage is glorious on trees, but in your 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.

Start in the corners
Use a gloved hand 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; ladderlimbus.com) 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 them. 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; gutterglove.com) let water pass through while keeping debris out.

woman cleaning leaves out of gutters while standing on a ladder wearing rubber gloves and holding a bucket
Photo by Oscar Knott/Alamy

Fall foliage is glorious on trees, but in your 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.

Start in the corners
Use a gloved hand 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; ladderlimbus.com) 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 them. 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; gutterglove.com) let water pass through while keeping debris out.

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