How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters? (Timeline For Best Results)

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Last updated on February 29th, 2024 at 05:02 pm

Wondering how often you should clean your gutters to protect your home? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

For most homes, gutters should be cleaned twice a year. For homes that have numerous trees with large leaves or pine needles and see rain or snow frequently, gutters should be cleaned out three to four times a year. For homes without trees surrounding them, gutters can be cleaned out one to two times a year.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s go over everything you need to know about taking care of your gutters (and your home) with the least amount of effort possible.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: How Often To Clean Gutters

  1. How Often Should I Clean My Gutters?
  2. What Time Of Year Should I Clean My Gutters?
  3. What Equipment/Tools Do I Need To Clean My Gutters?
  4. How Do I Clean My Gutters?
  5. What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Gutters Regularly?
  6. Final Thoughts

How often should I clean my gutters?

Ideally, you should clean your gutters whenever they get full and begin to clog. When that happens will vary greatly on the following factors:

  • Number of trees
  • Size of leaves
  • Frequency of rain/snow

Factor One: Number Of Trees

The first factor that affects how often you should clean your gutters is the number of trees you have surrounding your house.

If you have several trees that hang over your gutters they will need cleaning more often. If you don’t have any you will be able to get away with cleaning less often.

This is because the most common gutter debris is leaves, sticks, and tree seeds.

All of that debris is large and tends to clog gutter downspouts, preventing them from easily directing water away from the home.

If there are numerous trees overhanging your gutters, they will deposit more leaves, seeds, and branches into the gutter requiring them to be more frequently cleaned to protect your home from water damage.

We have numerous huge trees that overhang our home, so our gutters need cleaned frequently.

Factor Two: Size Of Leaves

The next factor that affects how often you should clean your gutters is the size of leaves on the trees surrounding your home.

Big leaves will fill your gutters sooner than small leaves, but don’t think the small leaves won’t. Often, trees with small leaves have a lot more of them ready to dump in your gutters. 

Pine trees will also cause problems with their needles. They can easily get stuck in your downspout and begin forming a blockage.

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These leaves will need to be cleared more frequently to prevent water from pooling and causing a variety of damages to the interior and exterior of the home.

Gutter guards can help minimize the majority of this blockage, but not all.

how long can you go without cleaning your gutters
If we didn’t clean this debris out of our gutters before winter, water could pool and freeze and crack our gutters or cause damage to our roofline.

Factor Three: Frequency Of Rain/Snow

The first factor that affects how often you should clean your gutters is how often your home sees rain and/or snow.

You will also have to clean more often if you get a lot of heavy rain or snow. In both cases, you will want your gutters as clear as possible so that the water can drain away from the roof, soffit, and foundation of the home.

It is always good to check your gutters from time to time.

A good baseline would be to check your gutters twice a year, at least once in the spring and once in the fall. Of course, checking more won’t hurt.

Oftentimes, you can see the debris piling up in your gutters from the ground as you’re walking by, so peek up occasionally to gauge how full they are.

What time of year should I clean My Gutters?

For most homes, the average number of times the gutters need to be cleaned out is twice a year. So when are the two best times to clean?

It is most important to clean your gutters in the fall. This time of year—while beautiful—is the worst for gutter management. Between leaves falling, rainstorms, and possible snow in some areas, your gutters will be filled.

If your gutters don’t get too full during fall because there aren’t any trees around, you can be safe to clean them once just before winter.

November is often a great month for gutter cleaning. Most of the leaves will have dropped from the trees and the weather won’t be miserably cold quite yet.

Cleaning as needed throughout fall is a good idea, however.

Another important time to clean your gutters is in the spring. Even if you clean before winter, your gutters will likely be full of debris afterward. 

Springtime comes with a lot of rain and the occasional snow. Clean gutters will ensure that the water does not damage your roof or cause any other problems that come with clogged gutters and downspouts.

May is also a great time for gutter cleaning. The spring rains will mostly be over, and the trees will be close to being done dropping their seeds.

what month should you clean gutters
We cleaned our gutters in November once the leaves finally stopped dropping.

Outside of these two seasons, you should be alright.

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However, it is a good idea to check your gutters after you have a severe storm. They can be filled with debris from the storm and cause a major blockage.

Additionally, they can be damaged. Be sure to check for holes and cracks to ensure the water can flow properly away from your home.

What Equipment/Tools Do I Need To Clean My Gutters?

Now that we know how often and when to clean our gutters, let’s discuss what tools and equipment you need to make the gutter cleaning easier.

At a minimum, you will need:

  • Ladder
  • Work gloves
  • Hose

You should use a ladder to access your gutters. Even if you have easy access to your roof without a ladder it is safer to use a ladder. Have another person steady the ladder.

Work gloves aren’t needed if you are using a hose to flush out your gutters. However, they are helpful if you intend to clear your gutters with your hands.

The following may be helpful, but aren’t necessary:

  • Trowel
  • Bucket
  • Tarp
  • Trash bag
  • Goggles
  • Leaf blower
  • Pressure washer

A trowel can help remove debris, but your hands will work just as well. The bucket, tarp, and trash bag are all useful for catching the debris you remove.

Any of these methods will do well. If you don’t mind a bit of a mess on the ground, you can skip them.

The goggles or some other form of eye protection will help to keep water or debris out of your eyes but isn’t necessary if you’re careful.

If you want to complete the job faster, though, a leaf blower will come in handy. You can quickly blast the debris out of the gutters and sweep it up much easier on the ground.

what is the best way to clean your gutters
Using a leaf blower makes this job so easy.

Lastly, if you think you have any big clogs in your downspout, pressure washers can be useful for flushing any stubborn debris.

How Do I Clean My Gutters?

Now that you have all the necessary equipment you can get started on the actual cleaning. 

First, check your ladder and find a stable spot to set it up, typically at one end of the house. If you don’t have anyone to steady the ladder, be especially careful.

Once on the ladder, use your hands to scoop out as much of the debris out of the gutters as possible.

To make clean-up quicker, you can bring a bucket or trash bag up the ladder. Additionally, you can place a tarp below the ladder. Make sure you do not place the ladder on top of the tarp. As you remove debris, throw it in whatever collection item you chose.

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If you need to unclog your downspout, use the hose at full pressure or a pressure washer. Alternatively, if your downspout has removable sections you can clear them that way.

For those with a leaf blower and pressure washer, you can tackle this job MUCH QUICKER than doing it by hand. To see how to clean your gutters this way, check out my article here.

how do you know your gutters need cleaning
The last thing we like to do is pressure wash the inside and outside of our gutters to help them last for decades.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Gutters Regularly?

Cleaning your gutters can certainly be a hassle. However, it is important to do. If you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself you can hire professionals. It should be done one way or another.

If you never clean your gutters there are a few problems that can come up. Some possible problems include water damage, foundation damage, mold, and pest infestations. All of these can be expensive to fix.

To understand the full ramifications of not cleaning your gutters, check out my article here.

Final Thoughts On Gutter Cleaning Frequency

There you have it! If you clean your gutters out at least once in the spring and once in the fall, you shouldn’t have any issues with protecting your home from water damage.

And if you have a more steep roof, you can easily hire a professional to take care of this cleaning task for you.

Hopefully, this helps you maintain a beautiful and problem-free home for years to come!

Catch you in my next post!

how often to clean gutters
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By Christine

Christine is a blogger and DIYer who tackles home renovation and decorating projects alongside her husband, Adam, for their personal residence and rental properties. Although she successfully tackles large renovation projects to avoid expensive contractor fees and bring her vision to life now, her path to success was not easy.

Go here to read her story,  From a Clueless First-Time Homebuyer To A Confident DIYer Creating Her Dream Home One Project At A Time.

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