How to clean gutters quickly & effectively

For most, cleaning the gutters is probably one of the more unpleasant chores. However, if gutters and downpipes are clogged and rainwater cannot drain properly, then you’re left with no choice but to clean the gutters and remove fallen leaves and dirt. The gutter could otherwise overflow during the next rainfall, which could damage the roof, facades, or patio. But what is the best way to clean a gutter quickly, effectively and above all safely? Here are practical roof gutter and pipes cleaning tips.

A man stands in the garden cleaning the gutter of his house with a Kärcher device

What to consider when cleaning the gutter

Before you begin cleaning the gutter, consider the following: When and how often is gutter cleaning recommended? What gutter cleaning tools are best suited for this purpose? What gutter cleaning costs should I expect and what else is there to consider? Here we answer the most important questions.

When and how often to clean gutters?

It is recommended to clean the gutter at least once a year. If there are trees or even a wooded area nearby, it might be more than once a year. An optimal time to clean the gutters is in late autumn, after all the leaves have fallen, but before the first frost and snowfall.

Removing leaves from a downpipe with a broom

What is the expected cost of gutter cleaning?

This depends on whether you, as a homeowner, want to clean your gutters yourself or hire a gutter cleaning company. The latter is, of course, much more expensive and in most cases not even necessary. With the right gutter cleaning tools, you can clean the gutters yourself. The cost can be seen as a long-term investment if you are the homeowner. If you rent the property, it is more likely that the landlord must carry the costs for cleaning the gutters. As a rule, gutter cleaning is the responsibility of the landlord, but the costs incurred in the process can be part of the operating costs. However, if this is the case it must be mentioned in the contract.

Clean the gutters with or without a ladder?

To clean gutters professionally and safely, it is recommended to work with professional gutter cleaning tools instead of relying on a ladder, bucket and brush. Cleaning the gutters with a broom or brush is a task that is as labour intensive as it is unpleasant. You need to climb the ladder, then clean a section of the gutter, go back down from the ladder, move it, then repeat the whole process. A very ineffective method and at the same time dangerous, as the ladder may not always have a secure footing. The better alternative is to choose a solution that allows you to clean gutters and downpipes from the ground.

Man cleaning his gutter with a Kärcher pressure washer

What safety precautions should be taken beforehand?

When cleaning gutters, always make sure you have adequate protective clothing. Non-slip footwear, gloves and eye protection are part of the basic equipment. If you use a ladder, you should always make sure that it has a secure footing. The ladder should be held by a second person. First remove coarse dirt and debris such as broken pieces of brick, firework remains, and branches by hand. Special screens help to prevent the dirt from falling into the downpipe. If you use a pressure washer to clean the gutter, you should never stand on a ladder. Instead, it is recommended to use a specially designed gutter cleaning set in combination with a pressure washer that can be operated from the ground.

A man cleans gutters with a Kärcher gutter cleaning set

Cleaning gutters yourself?

Whether it’s cleaning the gutters on a bungalow or tall house, you can do it yourself with a gutter and pipe cleaning set. Gutters and drains can be cleaned effortlessly and effectively. While it makes perfect sense to test different tools first, safety should always take priority.

With a well-thought-out solution, you can clean gutters in a professional way, without putting yourself in danger or having to hire an external company to do it and spend a lot of money. At the heart of the system is a cleaning sled that is placed in the gutter and connected to the gun of a pressure washer with the accompanying 20 m high-pressure hose. Two high-pressure nozzles are attached to the underside of the sled, which eject the water backwards. The pressure causes the sled to move forward and simultaneously flushes all dirt to the rear. You only need to climb the ladder once to place the sled into position and attach the hose guide to the gutter. After that, the pressure washer gun is operated from the ground.

Step-by-step instructions

Gutter cleaning set assembly

1. First, attach the high-pressure nozzles to the pressure washer. If the factory pre-mounted nozzles are not the right ones for your own pressure washer, you need to loosen the locking clamps and insert the correct nozzles. Then secure them again. The appropriate nozzles for the pressure washer can be found in the instruction manual.

2. Mount the adapter on the pressure washer hose according to the instruction manual, then pull it through the hose guide and connect it to the cleaning carriage and clamp .

3. After removing the coarse debris, insert the screen included in the delivery at the top of the downpipe.

Roof gutter cleaning 4

4. Mount the clamp unit with the hose guide on the side of the gutter, insert the sled into the gutter, and align the hose with the red mark.

5. Then connect the system to the gun coupling of the pressure washer and turn it on. Guide the high-pressure hose manually. As soon as the gun of the pressure washer is activated, the cleaning sled pulls itself through the gutter and cleans it thanks to the two water jet nozzles directed to the rear.

6. For a better rinsing effect, the sled can be pulled back a little from time to time via the high-pressure hose. Repeat the cleaning process several times if necessary to remove stubborn dirt.

7. After cleaning, switch off the pressure washer and remove the collected dirt that has accumulated over the screen by the downpipe. Finally, remove the clamp and device.

How to clean the downpipe and drains at the same time

With the practical gutter and pipe cleaning set, downpipes and house drains can be cleaned effectively as well. Gutters and downpipes should be cleaned at least once a year, so that the gutter can perform as efficiently as possible. Therefore, it is a good idea to clean both in succession.

To free pipe systems from internal dirt, the pipe cleaning hose is connected to the pressure washer and then pushed into the pipe bit by bit. For this, instead of the sled, use the supplied pipe cleaning nozzle. The high-pressure nozzle is screwed onto the high-pressure hose. The pressure hose has a red safety marking and must be pushed into the pipe at least up to this marking. Only then should you turn the pressure washer on. The cleaning process must be stopped as soon as the red marking can be seen again when the hose is pulled out. This step is very important to protect against water splashing back and to stop the hose from whirling around uncontrollably. After the pressure washer has been switched on, feed the hose manually into the pipe. The pressure dissolves even stubborn blockages. To do this, press and release the lever several times in succession as required. To protect facades and your patio from dirt, it is recommended to place a bucket at the end of the downpipe.

In addition, drains and light wells can also be effectively cleaned with a pressure washer or medium pressure cleaner. Sensitive surfaces such as plastic grids on light wells can be cleaned effectively and gently with a medium pressure cleaner. If the cellar shaft is made of solid stone, it can be cleaned with the pressure washer.

Kärcher: Roof gutter cleaning hose is inserted into downpipe

Suitable products for gutters and pipes

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