“Oh good, it’s time to clean the gutters!” said no one ever. No one puts it on the top of their list of Fun Ways to Spend a Weekend Afternoon.
But you can’t skip it. Your home’s gutters do more than just collect water. Gutters protect the roof, walls, foundation, and landscaping when they properly channel rainwater. Avoiding or delaying gutter cleaning can have costly consequences, from sagging gutters that need replacement or repair to water damage, a leaky roof, or even rodent or pest infestation. (Also not on anyone’s Fun Ways to Spend a Weekend Afternoon list: de-mousing the house.)
So, you’ve accepted it. Gutters need cleaning. Not only this but they should be cleaned at least twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. If you have pine trees on your property, you’re probably looking at every three months, as needles can clog your gutters and downspouts.
Now that you know why and when you need to clean your gutters, let’s look at how.
Gutter cleaning from the ground
Many of us are hardcore DIYers, especially when it comes to working around the house (and even more so when significant others tell us we need to do fewer dumb things). Climbing a ladder to clean the gutters is just asking for trouble, though. Every year, thousands of homeowners are injured in ladder accidents, making gutter cleaning one of the most dangerous household tasks.
In addition to safety, there are other advantages to cleaning gutters from the ground. You can work faster without having to move a ladder every few feet. It’s also easier to handle interruptions without having to climb down a ladder, so you’re less likely to fly off the handle when the kids need help finding their show on Disney+.
Of course, there are disadvantages, too. It can be difficult to actually get the gutters clean from the ground unless you are using the right tool. And because you’re not in the business of doing this more than absolutely necessary, let’s make sure you choose the right tool.
Best tool for cleaning gutters from the ground
There are five basic tools that can be used to clean gutters from the ground:
- Vacuums with attachments
- Garden hose flusher attachment
- Powerwasher with attachment
- Leaf blower attachment
- Gutter cleaning tools
Which of these actually work? Let’s break it down.
A wet-dry vacuum (like a Shop-Vac) is an option because it makes cleanup easier—no messy leaves or gunk to clean up.
Cons: It’s difficult to get the attachment to the height of your gutters without using a ladder. There are extensions but they can be unwieldy to use or may not fit your vacuum model. Access to a power outlet can be a problem, too.
Hose with attachment
Every homeowner has a hose (and if you don’t, you might have bigger problems than which gutter tool to use). Attachments of a variety of sizes are available on the market.
Cons: How successful you’ll be really depends on your water pressure, reach, and the type of debris in your gutters. It’s also really easy to get soaked and make a mess with this tool.
If you have a powerwasher, there are flusher attachments and extensions you can use to reach your gutters.
Cons: High water pressure makes cleaning more effective—but prepared to be soaked and to have a big cleanup job on your hands after. Power access can be a problem as with a vacuum.
This is another common piece of equipment many homeowners have, and some come with gutter-cleaning attachments.
Cons: Depending on the type of attachment, you may still need to climb a ladder (which we’ve established is dangerous). Leaf blowers can blow the mess all over also, which just means a bigger cleanup now—and maybe later, too.
Best gutter cleaning tool
So, what’s the best option for cleaning gutters from the ground? We think it’s Gutter Sense, a lightweight, easy-to-use tool that attaches to any standard 12- to 20-foot extension pole. Why is it better?
- It eliminates ladders, so it’s safer.
- It’s highly effective on first- and second-story gutters, removing pine needles, leaves, and muck with its 14-inch grasp.
- It cleans under supports.
- It’s lightweight and easy to use, with angled tongs for easy access to the gutters.
- It eliminates mess—no more soaked clothes and messy gutter gunk.
- It fits on an ordinary extension pole.
- It grabs the mess for you—no more painful scratches and cuts.
- And, at under $30, it’s a low-cost, easy-to-store tool that you know will get the job done.