Guide to Removing Leaves From Gutters

Guide to Removing Leaves From Gutters
crawfordmech October 9, 2023

The orange and yellow autumn leaves are a welcomed sight for many in Ohio. And while you’re enjoying the fall colors and leaf-covered ground, it’s essential to think about your gutters. Yes, your gutters! Because fall is not only the best season for beautiful sights and warm clothing. It is also one of the best times to maintain your gutters to avoid blockages, roof leaks and other damage. 

In fall, leaves build up in gutters and downspouts. If you don’t remove leaves, they can block your gutters. Clogged drains can prevent roof runoff from filtering through your downspouts. When water has nowhere to go, it can dam and overflow, causing roof leaks. Water can leak into your windows, basement, walls and other home areas, leading to rot, mold and structural damage. 

More than that, water can freeze on your roof and melt in your gutters during freeze cycles. Ice-filled gutters can become heavy and collapse, causing costly repairs or replacements. 

Knowing how to remove gutter leaves is one of the best solutions for diagnosing and fixing leaks and preventing structural damage. Here are different methods for eliminating gutter leaves and helping you enjoy your fall leak-free. 


When you remove leaves from your gutters, you must ensure you are ready for the task. While it might seem harmless, cleaning leave gutters can have safety hazards. The following preparations are necessary to remove leaves from your gutters safely:

  • Use an extension ladder: Unlike a step ladder, an extension ladder has stabilizers to keep you firm on the ground and is the safer option for accessing your roof. Always have a spotter to hold the ladder steady while you work.
  • Gloves and goggles: Beyond leaves, gutters accumulate sticks and other debris. They can also be home to various insects and spiders. Wear thick gloves to protect your hands and arms from harm. Goggles help prevent any debris from falling or flying into your eyes. 
  • Walk your roof cautiously: While walking on the roof can be extremely dangerous and is best done by a professional, if climbing the roof is necessary for your leave removal strategy, ensure you do this safely. Avoid walking downhill from your roof to the gutter, as you can risk falling off. Wearing a harness is also a great way to stay secure while up there. 
  • Ensure your roof is dry: Morning dew can cause a wet roof, increasing your chances of slipping off. Waiting till midday when your roof is dry is best for preventing falls and slips. 
  • Clear roof debris first: Remember to clear roof debris before cleaning your gutters. It’ll prevent leaves and dirt from falling into your drain while cleaning them. 

By Hand

Removing gutter leaves by hand is one of the oldest and most trusted methods. This method provides a better view of your gutters and helps effectively remove all your leaves and dirt. You can start by standing on an extension ladder and scooping and depositing leaves into a bag with a gutter scoop. 

You can clean one section at a time or use a harness to help you move from one corner to the next more efficiently. After scooping your leaves:

  1. Flush the downspout to ensure they are free from blockages.
  2. Use a hose to remove the remaining debris in your downspouts.
  3. If water doesn’t do the trick, use a plumber snake to break through and push the remains down. 

Removing leaves by hand can be messy and may not always be the best option. 

Using a Leafblower

A leafblower is an effective method for removing gutter leaves and debris, but it does require some effort and caution. You’ll need to climb and walk the edge of your roof to blow the leaves out of the gutter so that they fall on the ground. A leafblower extension kit can help you reach your gutters from the ground. The extender curves help you get into various gutter areas. 

Removing leaves with a leafblower can get dusty, as you’ll have leaves and dirt flying around, so you may need to wear goggles and a face mask. However, it is a versatile option and you can do it from the ground. 

While this option is safer, it’s not entirely mess-free. Cover your downspouts with a rag or other cloth to prevent leaves from blowing in and creating clogs. 

Using a Hose or Pressure Washer

A hose or pressure washer is excellent for removing leaves quickly and peeling off sticky or wet leaves. The water pressure helps clear out leaves and debris, leaving little to remain behind. This method is excellent for removing leaves and deep cleaning your gutters. It is also safer as you can hose your gutters and downspouts from the ground. 

Before using your water solution, remove any large roof debris by hand. Washing down leaves or dirt will be more seamless and prevent water from pushing leaves into your downspouts and creating blockages. 

Once you’ve removed the large debris by hand, attach a telescope pole to your hose or pressure washer. The curved pole extension will help you reach gutters and downspouts. You can spray or hose down one downspout channel at a time, forcing down any leaves, twigs and other debris. Observe your gutters for leaks when hosing them down. Fixing leaky or overflown gutters is essential for preventing extensive damage. 

You’ll need to practice some caution using a pressure washer or hose. Setting it to maximum pressure can damage your gutters, walls and roof shingles. Water and debris can backsplash and fall on you, so prepare for a mucky task. Remember to move patio furniture or any outdoor items out of the way to avoid wetting or damaging them. 

Trust Crawford Mechanical Services, Inc. for Residential Plumbing Services 

Your gutters, downspouts and drainage pipes are essential components in moving water away from your home. Without proper maintenance, like leaf removal, these components can become blocked. These blockages can lead to overflown gutters and roof leaks, and foundation leaks. 

Leaks can cause extensive interior and exterior damage to your home. But how do you know if you have a leak? Removing your leaves is one of the best ways to identify leaks quickly and prevent costly home repairs. It can also prevent mold build-up and other structural damage. 

Crawford Mechanical Services, Inc. offers comprehensive and expert residential plumbing services. With over 25 years of industry experience, we understand the importance of catching leaks in time. We can help diagnose your downspout or drainage pipe overflow and provide suitable solutions. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you detect and stop damage associated with gutters, downspouts and drainage pipes.

Trust Crawford Mechanical Services, Inc. for Residential Plumbing Services 

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