Gutter cleaning at home: tips, tricks and expert advice

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Man scooping out a gutter

Cleaning and repairing your home’s gutters is something you could tackle yourself, but you can also have it done professionally.

If you’re feeling confident in your handyman abilities, take a look at our easy four step guide, or check out how much a gutter cleaning service may cost you.

Why should I clean my gutters?

Cleaning your gutters is a daunting task but neglecting them for long periods of time can cause a lot of issues. 

If your gutters are blocked by debris during a rainy period, the water that should flow along the guttering and then through downpipe may overflow. When this happens, the water can flow onto the roof, causing water damage to your home. 

Water damage can be very expensive to repair, especially if it leads to the growth of mould or mildew. 

Avoiding cleaning your gutters can also lead to the growth of mould and mildew within the gutters themselves. Pests can even live in your gutters if left unattended for long periods of time. 

Eventually, these nasty additions to your guttering could make their way into your home through small cracks or openings in the roof. 

Pests and mould can be very expensive to remove, so it’s best to attack this problem at the source by cleaning your gutters. 

1. Be ready for heights

Man in high vis holding ladder

The most important tool you’ll need to have ready for this task is a ladder – even if you’re working with a single storey house or bungalow, you’re going to be working with heights. 

You’ll need a sturdy ladder, preferably one that can extend, to let you work all the way up and down the length of the gutter.

Do not attempt to clean your gutters by leaning out of a window, as you could fall. 

Where you set the ladder is very important too. You want a stable and level base with no slope or give. Ideally, someone will be stood at the bottom holding the ladder for you.

Working at heights can be dangerous, so if you’re unsure don’t hesitate to contact a professional who’ll be more comfortable with the task. 

If your house is on an incline, it’s safer to contact a professional so you’re not having to use a ladder on an angle.

2. Prepare your tools

Series of garden tools


Beyond a ladder, there are a few essential extras you’ll want ready for a successful gutter cleaning:

  • a bucket or strong plastic bag – the debris you’ll find in the gutter is often wet and messy so it’s easier to clean it up as you go
  • thick outdoor gloves – wear good rubber gloves to protect against the sharp edges on tiles and slates
  • trowel or gutter scoop – to help lever out all the leaves and shovel them into your bucket or bag

3. Scoop the debris  

Scooping a gutter

Once you’ve got your tools and you’re standing safely on your ladder, it’s time to scoop. Use your trowel to scoop up the debris and then lift it into your bucket with your (gloved) hands. 

Be careful not to strike the gutter too hard with your trowel – some of the older ones might be more prone to cracking if hit too hard.

Be careful not to lean over the guttering. Once you’ve cleaned everything you can reach without leaning, climb back down your ladder, re-position, and climb again. 

Don’t risk reaching beyond yourself to save time – you risk tipping the ladder and injuring yourself.

4. Rinse the guttering off

A cleaner gutter

Now you’ve cleared the bigger blockages, it’s time for a final wash down of the gutters. A decent flow of water will clear out all the remaining gunk and debris that’s been unsettled by your cleaning. 

There are two ways to get water down your drain:

  • Using a hose: If your hose is long enough, it’s perfect for the task. Carry it up the ladder with you, put it on a medium pressure stream and point it down the gutter – making sure it washes away any remaining gunk.
  • Using a bucket: Although not perfect, sometimes a bucket is what you’re left with. It may take several trips, but a decent bucketful of water will do the same job in washing away any leftover dirt from your gutter.

Using warm (not boiling) water can help to remove extra little bits of dirt from your gutters, but this isn’t a necessity. 

How often should I clean my gutters?

You should try and clean your gutters at least once a year, either at the start of spring or just after autumn ends. 

It’s most common for leaves, sticks and other debris to collect in your gutters during the autumn and winter months, when wind and rain is most common. This is why it’s wise to clean them at these points of the year. 

Once a year is just a rule of thumb here. If you live in a very windy location, or you’re surrounded by a lot of trees, you may need to clean your gutters more often to avoid them overflowing or getting blocked. 

If you live in a windy or wooded area, you could consider cleaning your gutters at the start of spring and just after autumn ends, or even more frequently if debris blockage is a common issue for you. 

Check out our guide on preparing your home for winter so you’re ready for the colder months. We’ve also got a handy home maintenance guide for every season

Are gutter guards a good idea? Should I use gutter guards?

Gutter guards can help in a number of ways. Adding guards to your gutters can help reduce debris blockage, protecting your home from any damage that may come from blockages (like water overflowing onto the roof). 

Gutter guards can also minimise the growth of mould and mildew, as well as the entry of pests. 

However, sediment can gather on gutter guards, which can result in you having to clean them. 

Some gutter cleaning experts advise against using gutter guards, because they can take longer to clean out than gutters alone. 

Why are my gutters overflowing?

There are several reasons why your gutters may be overflowing, including: 

  • they were poorly installed 
  • the downpipes are clogged 
  • they are tilted incorrectly
  • the underground drain is clogged
  • there are overhanging tree branches
  • the fascia board is damaged (causing sagging)

What sort of price should I be paying for gutter cleaning?

According to Checkatrade, gutter cleaning tends to cost between £90 and £250 depending on what’s being done. 

A small, terraced house with just five metres of guttering can cost around £90 to clean, but a three-storey townhouse with 15 metres of gutter can cost £250 to clean. 

Anything larger than this would likely require a quote from the gutter cleaning company being used, as extra workers or equipment may be needed (such as a cherry picker for tall buildings). 

Make sure you’ve done a little research around the company you choose to clean your guttering so that you know you’re getting a good service and a fair price. 

Sites like Trustpilot are great resources for checking if a company’s customers have been happy with its service in the past. 

Do I need to clean my own gutters if I'm renting?

If you’re renting a property, you may or may not be responsible for cleaning the guttering based on the nature of your tenancy agreement. 

Talk to your landlord about getting your gutters cleaned if you think they’re due some maintenance and check your tenancy contract to see if this kind of maintenance is something your landlord has agreed to take care of. 

Check out our guide of what you’ll be responsible for as a tenant compared to your landlord. 

Flexible home insurance from Admiral