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Gutter Cleaning Safety
General Information
There’s no question about the beauty of fall! Mother Nature gives us one last blast of color in the leaves and ready-to-harvest fields before the whites, blues and grays of winter set in. But once the leaves start to brown and fall from the trees they can clog rain gutters and could lead to other home damage.

Safety Tips (a partial list)
West Virginia Extension Service and SafetyRisk.com offer up these safety and cleaning tips:

Before You Begin Cleaning
  • Never clean the gutters during any kind of storm or weather in which there is lightening.
  • Always wear a pair of heavy work gloves to protect your hands from debris and sharp metal objects.
  • Always wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
  • Place a drop cloth on the ground below the gutter to catch excess debris.
  • Collect the rest of the necessary cleaning supplies:
    • a sturdy ladder (see our “Ladder Safety” page for tips on using ladders safely)
    • a bucket and a rope to pull up your tools when on the ladder
    • gardening shovel or gutter scraper
    • a garden hose that is long enough to reach all edges of the roof safely (or move the hose as needed)
    • a pistol-grip nozzle for the hose (to control the amount of water pressure and act as an on/off switch for the water)
    • a partner in crime to help ensure your safety by passing tools or other supplies to you or holding the ladder in place

  • Start at the low end of the gutter, near the drain outlet, and work away from the drain.
  • After climbing the ladder, secure the bucket on the opposite side of the ladder.
    Use the gardening shovel or gutter scraper to loosen the debris and place it in the bucket.
  • Continue clearing away the loose and/or damp debris and any encrusted fragments.

After Debris Removal
  • Using the hose and pistol-grip, spray the remaining debris out of the gutter, working back toward the drain. (Remember to spray the water away from your body.)
  • As you continue to spray out the gutter, keep checking the drain spout to ensure it is not blocked. If a blockage occurs, spray directly down the spout at full pressure. If this does remove the obstruction, use a plumber’s snake.

Health and Safety Risk Management
West Virginia University Extension Services

10416 Watterson Trail   |   Jeffersontown, KY 40299   |   Ph: (502) 267-8333   |   Fx: (502) 267-0547
10416 Watterson Trail   |   Jeffersontown, KY 40299   |   Ph: (502) 267-8333   |   Fx: (502) 267-0547