Can I Clean My Gutters from the Ground? What You Need to Know First

Learn how to safely and effectively clean gutters from the ground to protect your home’s foundation.

leaves in a gutter

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As cool autumn weather arrives, so do falling leaves. While a beautiful sign of the season, they can also damage your home’s foundation. As leaves and other debris fill gutters, rainwater is diverted toward your home, which can lead to serious structural damage if not promptly addressed. For this reason, homeowners should clean their gutters a minimum of once per year. 

However, cleaning gutters can be a dangerous task. In fact, thousands of people are injured annually from ladder falls. Therefore, many homeowners are opting to clean their gutters from the safety of the ground. 

Methods for Cleaning Gutters from the Ground

While DIYers have come up with many creative ways to clean gutters from the ground, there are a few popular methods that can be performed using store-bought attachments for tools you likely already own. Each method consists of the same basic principle: Using an extension attachment to clean the gutters while standing safely on the ground. 

1. Leaf Blower Method

Several companies sell leaf blower attachments for cleaning gutters from the ground. The attachments consist of a long pipe with a curved end. This allows the user to place the end into the gutter and blow the debris out of the gutter and onto the yard. This method is preferred for gutters with heavy debris such as twigs, packed leaves, and dirt, though you’ll be left with quite a mess on the ground once the gutters are cleared. 

2. Wet/Dry Vacuum Method

A wet/dry vacuum extension, much like the leaf blower extension, allows the user to vacuum the gutters from the ground. Additionally, this tool can be used to blow out the gutters, as many wet/dry vacs are reversible. This method is great for mild debris like dry leaves and minimal dirt, but twigs and heavy debris can easily clog the vacuum hose and attachment. 

3. Hose Method

Like the leaf blower and vacuum attachments, water hose attachments are also widely available. These extensions allow the user to spray out the gutters using a standard water hose. The hose method is effective for cleaning out dirt and mild debris but is better utilized as a secondary form of cleaning the gutters once the bulk of the debris has been removed.

4. Pressure Washer Method

For more heavy-duty gutter cleaning needs, a pressure washer attachment is available. The extension wand allows the user to blast debris from the gutter without leaving the ground. This method is best for heavy debris with packed dirt and leaves as well as for clearing clogged downspouts. Just remember to wear work clothes and safety goggles, as you’re sure to get messy in the process. 

DIY Gutter-Cleaning Attachments 

Many of the attachments above have been recreated in a DIY capacity with great success. However, most DIY options utilize pipes and fittings to recreate the extension attachments. This makes most DIY attachments excessively cumbersome and heavy, which can make them difficult to maneuver. 

When to Call a Professional Gutter Cleaner

If there’s any doubt about your ability to clean your gutters safely and effectively, consider calling a professional gutter cleaning service. Just like your safety, improperly cleaning your gutters isn’t worth the risk, as it can lead to costly home repairs down the road. 

Should I Clean My Gutters from the Ground?

Traditional gutter cleaning methods might be dangerous, but they’re highly effective. While cleaning gutters from the ground is a much safer alternative, there are a few tips and tricks for maximizing the effectiveness of the various methods.

If it has been more than one year since your gutters have been cleaned, the above methods might not be enough to clean out significant debris in your gutters, especially if your home is positioned beneath several large trees. To ensure debris is fully removed, a preliminary cleaning by hand might be necessary before using any attachments to maintain the clean gutters.  

Additionally, if you opt for one of the ground gutter-cleaning methods, inspect the results of the cleaning if you’re able to safely do so. If you’re unable to safely inspect the gutters, make several passes with your cleaning method of choice until debris no longer comes out of the gutter. Once finished, always check the downspouts to ensure they’re free of debris.  

No matter your preferred method for cleaning gutters from the ground, it's recommended to clean your gutters more than once per year to avoid significant buildup and increase the effectiveness of your efforts. 

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal injuries from ladders down in 2020; nonfatal ladder injuries were essentially unchanged (visited April 25, 2022).

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