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Effortless Gutter Maintenance: How to Clean Gutters Without Removing Guards | Ultimate Guide

July 2, 2024

Table of Contents

Introduction to Gutter Maintenance

Keeping your gutters clean is an essential part of home maintenance that can prevent many unwanted problems. Gutter guards are a fantastic addition to any gutter system, as they help to block debris from entering the gutters. However, even with these guards, gutters will still need to be maintained. This article will guide you through the process of cleaning your gutters without having to remove those handy gutter guards.

The Importance of Regular Gutter Cleaning

Before diving into the cleaning process, let’s discuss why regular gutter cleaning is so important. Over time, gutters can accumulate leaves, dirt, and other debris, even with gutter guards in place. This can lead to water backup, which in turn, can cause damage to your roof, fascia, siding, and even your home’s foundation. Ensuring that your gutters are clean is crucial to avoid costly repairs and maintain the efficiency of your gutter system.

Steps for Cleaning Gutters With Guards

Materials Needed

  • Extendable ladder
  • Garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle
  • Gutter scoop or small plastic scoop
  • Gloves
  • Bucket or plastic tarp
  • Gutter cleaning brush or soft scrub brush

Ensuring Safety First

Safety should be your primary concern when cleaning gutters. Make sure your ladder is firmly planted on stable ground and that you’re wearing non-slip shoes. It’s often a good idea to have a partner with you to stabilize the ladder and hand you tools as needed. Always keep your body within the confines of the ladder to prevent falls.

Remove Larger Debris by Hand

Begin by manually removing any large pieces of debris that are visible at the gutter’s opening. Wearing gloves, carefully lift out leaves, twigs, and sediment. It’s important to clear as much of these materials as possible before proceeding, as they can cause blockages when you start to flush the gutters with water.

Flush the Gutters with Water

After removing the larger debris, the next step is to flush the gutters with water. Use a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle to start rinsing the gutters, working from one end to the other. The force of the water will help to dislodge smaller particles and will rinse them through the gutter system. For some gutter guards, you can do this step without their removal; others may require you to lift them up or detach them partially.

Clean the Gutter Guards

While the guards are designed to keep debris out, they can still collect dirt and need regular cleaning. Briefly lift or detach each guard, if necessary, to brush off any accumulated debris using a gutter cleaning brush or a soft scrub brush. Carefully place the guards back once they are cleaned. Regularly cleaning the guards will maintain their functionality and prolong their life.

Inspect for Any Remaining Blockages

Finally, check for any signs of remaining blockages, especially near the downspouts. If water doesn’t flow freely, you may need to use a high-pressure spray or a plumber’s snake to clear the way. Remember to check all elbow joints and bends within the downspouts, as these are the common areas where clogs form.


Cleaning your gutters with gutter guards installed does not have to be a complicated process. The key is to do it safely and regularly. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your gutter system is in good working order and able to protect your home from water damage. Always keep in mind that regular maintenance is much more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of neglect. So, roll up your sleeves and make gutter cleaning a part of your regular home care routine.

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