How to Clean Gutters That Have Gutter Guards on Them

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Gutter guards often fail at blocking small items.
Gutter guards often fail at blocking small items. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Leaves, twigs and other debris in rain gutters clogs them up and prevents water from draining out. If excessive water sits in the gutters, it can cause damage. For this reason, you should regularly clean out your gutters. Special guards installed over the gutters have mesh screening or slits that allow water to flow through while blocking leaves and branches. While this cuts down on the necessity of cleaning gutters, the guards are not foolproof: many are unable to block smaller objects such as needles, flower buds, insects and seed pods. To ensure a clean, clear gutter, you should occasionally remove the guards and clean out the debris.

Things You'll Need

  • Extension ladder
  • Rope
  • Assistant
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Heavy gloves
  • Drop cloth
  • Bucket
  • Gardening shovel
  • Garden hose with pistol-grip nozzle
  • Rivet gun

Set up an extension ladder so it extends three rungs higher than the edge of the roof. Tie the top or base of the ladder to a secure support to prevent it from tipping. Have an assistant hold the ladder as you climb up.

Remove the gutter guards, which are typically secured by clips, screws or rivets. Remove clips by hand and remove screws with a screwdriver. Remove rivets by drilling into the rivet head with a drill bit slightly larger than the hole in the rivet head. Set the gutter guards aside while you clean out the gutters.

Put on heavy work gloves to protect your hands from whatever might be in the gutters.

Lay a drop cloth under the gutter to catch debris.

Secure a bucket to your ladder opposite the side you are climbing on.

Using a gardening shovel or your gloved hand, scoop out gutter debris and deposit it in your bucket. Work straight across the gutter, starting at the drain end.

Clean out the cleared gutter with a hose, moving in the direction of the drain. If water doesn’t flow freely down the drain, blast water directly down the drain to force out any blockages.

Hose down your gutter guards and replace them. You can use a rivet gun to replace the rivets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never climb on the roof or step on the top two rungs of your ladder.

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