It’s looming there on your to-do list: gutter cleaning. It might not be a fun task, but gutter cleaning is essential to good home maintenance. Clogged gutters and downspouts are problems, but they can lead to even bigger ones, like costly roof or foundation repairs. Regular gutter cleaning helps keep your gutters in good shape so they can carry water away from your home. Spring and summer bring heavy rains. To prepare, clean the gutters out in early spring after roof and gutter ice have thawed but before the trees bloom. (Pro tip: you should also clean the gutters in the fall to clear out leaves. You can find more tips on when to clean your gutters here). Dreading the task? Here are six tips for easy gutter cleaning:

GET ON A REGULAR SCHEDULE

It may seem obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: regular gutter cleaning makes gutter cleaning easier. Less stuff to get out means a job that takes less time. Twice-yearly gutter cleaning will likely do the trick for most homeowners. The exception is if there are pine trees near your roofline or gutters. These are evergreen trees, not deciduous—which means that they’re constantly dropping a low volume of needles. These needles can build up, and because they’re fine, they’re more likely to clog your gutters and downspouts. Homeowners with pine trees near their homes should plan to clean the gutters every three months in spring, summer, and fall. Yes, you can take the winter off.

TRIM BRANCHES AND TREES NEAR THE ROOFLINE

This brings us to the second of our tips for easy gutter cleaning: regular tree trimming. Because leaves and pine needles are common clogging culprits, regular trimming can cut down on the volume of debris in your gutters. There’s also a safety angle – as trees and branches too close to your home can be a hazard, inflicting damage on your roof and gutters during storms. Allowing six to ten feet of distance between the tips of branches and your gutters is ideal. 

The best time to prune or trim trees is during their dormant period in the fall and winter; contact a local tree service for more information.

WATCH THE WEATHER

If you don’t love cleaning gutters, you’ll love it even less in bad weather. Inclement weather and cold temperatures pose their own challenges. So do hot days and electrical storms. If you choose a day in which it’s delightful to be outside, it will be so much easier to channel your gutter-cleaning zen.

WAIT FOR DEBRIS TO DRY

Did it rain recently? Give it a few days, if possible, before cleaning the gutters. This will allow the debris up there to dry out a bit, making gutter cleaning much easier (and cutting down on the mess). 

ENLIST HELP

Remember the saying, “Many hands make light work?” It’s true for gutter cleaning, too. A helper, especially the allowance-persuadable teenage type, can help the job go faster. Even simple assistance like pulling along a tarp for gathering debris can help. 

INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOL

This brings us to the most important tip of all: invest in the right tool. Gutter cleaning is a dangerous, time-consuming, and messy task unless you’re using Gutter Sense. This lightweight, easy-to-use tool attaches to a 12- to 20-foot standard extension pole, giving you the ability to clean even second-story gutters from the ground, without climbing a ladder.

With powerful tongs, Gutter Sense grabs debris like pine needles, leaves, and muck. Simply find the gutter supports, lower the tool, and grab the gunk—then release it on a tarp. Best of all, at under $30, Gutter Sense is also a low-cost solution for easy gutter cleaning. Gutter Sense makes safe gutter cleaning easier, so you can get the job done and get back to what you really want to be doing.