How to Clean House Gutters

How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

Cleaning the gutters and downspouts of your house just comes with the territory of owning a home, but it doesn’t have to be a big chore. Although it’s not the most fun task, it isn’t that difficult, doesn’t take that long, and will help prevent damage to your roof and the eaves themselves. Plus, it helps make your house look nicer.

Why You Should Clean Your Gutters

If you don’t clean your gutters, major damage will eventually plague your house when rainwater cannot go down a blocked drain. That blocked water builds up and gets under your shingles or rooftop material, and

How to Clean House Gutters
How to Clean House Gutters

rots the wood of your roof, trim and siding, and water can even get into your house, which we all know is not good.

Downspouts that are clogged in fall and not cleaned before the snow falls can become a problem. During warm winter days or the spring when the snow melts, if the melt water cannot go down the drain, tis can cause a big ice lip to build up at the edge or your roof that not only prevents snow from sliding off your roof, but it also puts a massive amount of weight on your roof. This can lead to a damaged roof or even a collapsed roof.

Even if the roof eaves of your house don’t get clogged or overflow each season, it’s just not a good idea to leave decaying debris in your gutters, as it’s an invitation to mosquitoes and carpenter ants.

So no matter how busy or lazy you feel, the little effort it takes to clean your gutters can save you lots of headache and damage costs. It’s definitely worth the effort, and not worth the consequences if you don’t do it. So let’s get to it.

Get the Right Tools

  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Trowel or Hand Scoop
  • Trash bag or Bucket
  • Rope (if you do this alone)
  • Garden Hose

Be Safe

If your home is more than one story, you may need an extension ladder. But even if your house is only one story, you could get seriously hurt if you fall. So no matter how many stories you have, make sure your ladder is stable. Either use a stabilizer, or make sure you’re on level ground, or both.

Figure out how you’re going to get your trash bag or bucket down before you start. It will be heavy and awkward, but if you can hand it to someone, or lower it with a rope if you’re doing this job solo, you’ll want to have this planned out before you start. Don’t wait until you’re umpteen feet above the ground, on the roof, balancing a heavy bag, wondering what to do with it.

Gloves don’t just help keep your hands and nails clean, but they can protect your hand from sharp objects. Leather ones will protect your hands better than cloth, as well as keep them cleaner. Make sure they’re the right size so you can do this job safely and properly.

Where to Start

After you have all your tools in place, it’s best to start where the downspouts are, which is typically at the corners, but not always.

Start at the downspouts so you can avoid pushing debris down the downspout and further clogging it, by simply pushing debris away from the drain hole as you clean the gutters.

Do it Right

  1. Simply scoop the debris into your bag or bucket. Use your trowel for the big stuff, and you may need to use your hands for the small stuff and gunk stuck to the bottom. If the debris is wet, I recommend a
    How To Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily
    How To Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily

    bucket rather than a bag, unless you use an extra sturdy bag. Wet stuff is heavier than dry stuff, so you may not want to fill the bag all the way up.

  2. After all the larger debris is removed, rinse the gutter with your garden hose, spraying toward the direction of the nearest downspout.
  3. You will need to clear any downspouts that may be clogged. If you start by spraying water down the spout from the top, you may just compact the clog so it gets lodged in tighter and becomes harder to budge. The best way is to start at the bottom of the drain spout and shoot some water up so it hits the bottom of the clog by using the spray nozzle of your hose at the highest pressure setting. Then get on the roof and shoot water down the pipe from the top. If it’s a loose clog, this should clear it up. If this still doesn’t clear it up, you can use a plumber’s snake, or if the clog is near the top, any type of long pole, like the end of a rake, will do. Collect the clog at the bottom of the spout after it comes out and put it in your debris receptacle.

Follow all the above procedures for all your gutters and downspouts of your home, garage, or any outbuildings you have that have gutters.

And finally, dispose of all the debris you’ve collected by putting it in the trash, or more preferably, a compost pile. You may already have your own compost pile, or can start one, or often your local city offices can tell you where a free community compost trash receiving site is located.

And that’s How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily!

And now you can sit back and relax as you pat yourself on the back for taking care of business and keeping your property well taken care of. It’s okay to admire your own work, because not only do you now have clean gutters, but also peace of mind.

Prevent Future Problems

Use a stand-off or stabilizer, which not only keeps your ladder stable, but it also keeps your ladder from resting on, and thus possibly damaging or denting your gutters.

Inspect the gutters and downspouts now for any signs of damage. Look for holes, dents, or cracks. If you discover any signs of damage, repair them as soon as possible.

It’s best to clean the eaves and gutter spouts of in late spring or after nearby trees have finished shedding their leaves in the fall. If there copious amounts of trees or rain in your area, you should probably check your gutters more often.

Other Tips

Install leaf strainers inside the eave near the drain hole to prevent leaves from going down, and possibly clogging, your downspout.

You may want to consider installing guards that prevent the debris from sliding off your roof into your gutter in the first place. They won’t stop all falling leaves and branches from landing in your gutter, but can make your biannual gutter cleaning much more easy in the future.

Your local city yard refuse disposal site is also a great place to get free compost for your garden in the spring.

5 Quick Tips for Spring Cleaning

With warmer months just around the corner, spring-cleaning isn’t far away. Whether you want to clear some of the winter clutter or just feel like a change in scenery, spring-cleaning can make it happen. Now is the perfect time to clean out the garage, basement and/or attic. If there are any items that you don’t plan to use, this article will tell you how to get rid of them while making money doing it. As we all know, this can take a lot of work but a few simple tips can make your spring-cleaning experience a breeze.

Tip 1:

If you are storing away your winter clothes, consider using large plastic storage containers that feature snap-on lids. These can be found in the house wares department at most stores and are very inexpensive. Storage containers are very important to keeping your clothes dust and discoloration free, which may otherwise be a problem if they are left hanging in the closet from one season to the next.

Tip 2:

When packing your clothes, roll them instead of folding. This not only eliminates creases and wrinkles, but also saves a lot of space. You will be able to pack a lot more clothes with this technique.

Tip 3:

Label your clothing containers as “Spring”, “Fall” and “Winter”. This will help you to easily locate your wardrobe inside the closet.

If you have any clothing that you don’t plan to wear or simply have outgrown, consider donating them to a local goodwill or other nonprofit organization. Rather than tossing them out, your clothes can provide revenue for a worthy cause and help the less fortunate to be able to afford clothing that would otherwise be unattainable.

Tip 4:

If you are looking to clear out some knick-knacks or perhaps even some Holiday decorations in order to make room for new ones, consider a trip to the local flea market. Everyone is looking for a bargain and they just may be looking for something that you no longer wish to own. A setup fee is usually required which, depending on the location, can be $10.00 to 20.00 per day. Otherwise, you can always sell items at internet auction sites, including Yahoo and eBay.

Tip 5:

Break down your chore list so that the overall task will be easier.  For the bigger outside jobs like pressure washing driveways and decks etc. hire a company to make the over job of spring cleaning easy.  Then break down the inside room by room and break it down over time to make it easier.

Spring cleaning ideas

When spring cleaning or cleaning in general break down your tasks into small pieces.  Start with one room or even a small section of one room.  This way you can can see the progress and are not discouraged if distracted from the task.  Start with cleaning just the washroom or one part of the washroom, like the mirror and sink.  Seeing one part completely clean will encourage you to get back to the task of finishing if motivation is an issue.  A quick tip for cleaning the washroom is to clean all the bright work first, mirrors, faucets, handles, shower heads etc.  then tackle the heavy cleaning like sink, toilets, tub etc. finish with the floors.

Storing Winter Clothes

Winter Clothes

Most people have clothing for summer and winter, except for those lucky individuals that live in tropical climates, where a sweater is a term for individuals that perspire too much and a parka is a place to leave your car.

Then there are those poor souls from England, and Vancouver (myself included) where we too, only have one season. It is called “Wet”, but for everyone else, there is good reason to store your unneeded clothing during the off season.

Wool sweaters and down jackets are some of the most prone to being damaged by moths, mildew and mold. Wash and dry very thoroughly before storing, and never store in a plastic bag, or air proof container. The best storage container is likely a rattan trunk, which permits free circulation of air through the clothing. Here are some tips for other types of materials:


If the garment is small, store at home in a cold dry place. Cover with cloth or washed muslin. Otherwise, use professional cold storage.

Leather and Suede

Store in a cool, well-ventilated closet. Cover with cloth or washed muslin. For soft leather, pad with white tissue paper and fold flat.


Roll if possible.  If you must,  re-fold periodically to avoid creases. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.


Roll with white tissue paper or washed muslin to separate each layer.  If  you must fold, place white tissue paper between each layer and re-fold periodically to avoid creases. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.


Fold and store flat. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.


Store flat. if you must hang the garment, pad it well with white tissue paper. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.


For sheer or knitted silks, store flat. If you must hang the garment, pad it well with white tissue paper. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.


Pad with white tissue paper and hang on a padded hanger, supporting skirt area from loops attached at waist. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.


Clean thoroughly, pad with paper, fold, then wrap in white tissue paper. Add mothballs to storage area.

Fighting Mildew:

Ventilate storage areas when the weather is dry and cool. Pack storage areas loosely so that air can circulate around clothes. Don’t use starch or fabric finish on items to be stored.

When storing clothes, use a chemical desiccant such as silica gel or calcium chloride, but don’t let it touch the garments. Place Para dichlorobenzene mothballs or crystals inside closets and drawers; they prevent mildew and absorb moisture.

To reduce dampness in closets, wrap some chalk together and hang them up.

To protect garments from snags, and possibly acid damage from wood, line your dresser drawers with quilted fabric or good quality shelf paper that is ungummed. (Gummed paper attracts insects and is hard to remove).

For sweet-smelling clothes, put unwrapped bars of scented soap, empty perfume bottles, or fabric softener sheets into drawers.

Consider professional cold storage if you have any of the following:

  • furs or fur-trimmed clothes
  • a climate that is very hot or humid;
  • inadequate storage space
  • chronic problems with carpet beetles, silverfish, moths, or mildew

Before you put clothes in storage, make sure they’ve been cleaned thoroughly; insects are attracted by dirt, especially from perspiration, food, and beverages.  Storage areas should be clean, dry, free of insects and away from light, which can fade some colors (especially blues and greens) and promote hatching of insect eggs.

To wrap folded garment and to line dresser drawers, use white tissue paper or washed muslin.  At least once a year, replace the tissue paper and wash the muslin.

Store clothing in places that have moderate temperature or humidity; avoid extremes, such as a hot attic or a damp basement.  Garments made of natural fibers (cotton, wool, silk, and linen) need to breathe, store them in a well-ventilated area in containers with ventilation holes.

When you take your clothes out of storage, put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes on the air-only cycle (no heat).  This will help get rid of wrinkles.

Mothballs and crystals won’t kill those moth eggs that are already present in clothing when it’s stored. Clean clothing thoroughly before you put it away.

Because mothballs and crystals emit a vapor which is heavier than air, suspend them in containers above clothing. Keep them away from children and pets (they are poisonous if eaten).  Old stockings or socks make good bags for mothballs.

If you’re using moth crystals, sprinkle them on the adhesive side of masking tape and hang them up.

To dispel mothball odor, add a pomander or an herbal potpourri to the storage area.  Either suspend it or pack it in a small sack. A very simple herbal is five or six bay leaves strung together.

To protect sorted clothing from moths, a cedar chest must be made of cedar heartwood at least 3/4 inch thick. It should also have felt gaskets to make it airtight. Although cedar will kill newly, hatched or young worms, it won’t kill eggs, half-grown worms, the pupae or chrysalises, or moths.

Handbags and Purses

To maintain the shape of your leather bags, stuff them with tissue or plastic bags.  Then, to keep them from sticking together when you store them, place each in a flannel bag or a pillowcase.

To brighten a patent-leather bag, spray on a little glass cleaner, then wipe with a paper towel.

Keep the metal trim on your bag from tarnishing – apply a coat of clean nail polish over it.

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to clean and condition your leather purses.  Wipe them them with a damp cloth and mild soap, or apply a colorless leather conditioner with a dry cloth.

Beds, Mattresses, Box Springs, Futons

Would you crawl into bed with a bunch of bugs? No? Well you do. Every single night. They are called dust mites, and they are everywhere. They thrive on dead skin, your dead skin. Yum. Yum. If you aren’t completely disgusted by now, check out our article on Dust Mites, to find out why they contribute to allergy problems.

In addition to these dust mites, their feces, and all that dead skin they are waiting to munch on, your bed also collects dust, lint, hairs, and other assorted debris that is floating around our homes.

Regular cleaning of your mattress, and the bed linen keeps these potential allergens in check. It also will increase the life span of your sleeping habitat.

The mattress should be flipped over a couple times per year. It is a great idea to co-ordinate it with changing your clocks to and from day light savings time, or on Independence Day and New Years Eve, if you don’t have much of a life outside your home.

The first time flip it over side for side, and the next time flip it over end for end (A note left between the mattress can remind you which way it is suppose to be flipped). This equalizes the wear of the mattress, and minimizes peaks and valleys. It is also a good plan on “flipping day” to vacuum the entire mattress and box spring. If you use a plastic mattress cover, wipe it down after vacuuming with a disinfectant.

Plastic covers are a must for young children who might have a periodic bed wetting accident. If you don’t have a cover when one of these accidents happens, check out the tip in our data base on cleaning urine from a mattress.


Although thought to be owned only by starving college students, there are those of us who have grown to love our futons. Like mattresses there are dozens of different firmness levels, and methods of construction depending on the manufacturer.

Typically there is a foam core, wrapped with cotton, in a heavy cotton fabric envelope. When cleaning, you should avoid getting a futon too wet, as it takes forever, or possibly longer, to dry completely. A moist futon is a bad thing, as warm, moist, dark areas tend to grown things (like fungus and mildew) that we don’t normally want to sleep with. Stains should be removed with as little water as possible, and usually blotting with a damp rag will remove most surface stains.

Futons should be rolled up every couple of months, and allowed to stay rolled up tight for an entire day, if possible. Turning them frequently will also lengthen their useful life significantly.

Sweet dreams


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