homeowner on ladder working on gutter

Gutter Cleaning Safety Tips

Gutter cleaning and maintenance can be messy and fraught with hazards. While this job is a necessary evil to protect your home, it’s one that must be approached with caution. In fact, falling from a ladder is one of the most common home-related injuries. Add to that slippery wet leaves filled with mold spores, and you have created a situation which can be downright dangerous. Gutter cleaning safety is a top priority when you’re setting out to accomplish this task.

Keeping up with your home's seasonal needs is challenging. Dividing out tasks in a monthly manner can help you organize and prevent some costly repairs. Our friends at Porch.com put together the following article: “A Year of Essential Home Maintenance Projects.” It’s an easy read packed with year-round maintenance projects to do around the house.  Another helpful resource to check out is from Mr. Handyman discussing Gutter Maintenance & Cleaning Tips.

Smart Gutter Cleaning Safety Tips

Prep the Work Space:

Before you even think of climbing up that ladder to start on this dreaded honey-do-list item, prep your work space.

  • Place all the tools you need on your toolbelt to remain hands-free.
  • Gather your tools and equipment so you don’t need to climb any more times than already necessary.
  • Rake up wet or loose leaves along the foundation so the ladder doesn’t slide.

Enlist a “Buddy”

In an ideal world, this is a two-person job. First, you can drop cleared-out debris down for that person to bag so that you don’t create a messy pile of slippery leaves. Second, they can watch the ladder and steady it as you climb up and down.

Gear Up!

Protective/safety gear is needed for this messy job.

  • Wear protective goggles or eyewear. As you remove debris, things will get messy. Covering your eyes is an important precaution.
  • Protect your hands with gloves. There are two reasons for this. First, mold and mildew spores are commonly present in gutters due to the moist environment. Second, birds and rodents defecate in and on your gutters, so they are filled with bacteria.
  • Proper footwear is a must. Wear rubber-soled, closed-toe shoes any time you climb a ladder! They always give the most secure foothold.

Ladder Safety

  • Anytime you leave the safety of two feet planted on the ground, you run the risk of an accident. Climbing a ladder should be done with caution.
  • Check over your ladder every time you use it. Make sure all screws are tight and rungs feel secure.
  • Make sure the ladder locks into place properly. Give it a good shake to make sure it’s locked in before you start to climb.
  • Use the rule of three. This rule states that both feet and one hand should remain securely on the ladder at all times while you are working. Following this rule will ensure the most stability as you clean your gutters.
  • Move the ladder frequently so that you don’t try to reach too far. If you overextend your reach, you can cause the ladder to tip and send yourself hurtling to the ground. We know that it’s a giant pain to have to move the ladder all those times. Simply put, though, it’s safer to move the ladder to where you can reach comfortably rather than cause it to tip.
Environmental Encounters

Your gutters are a favorite nesting place for mice, birds, and wasps. These are causes of clogs and must be removed. However, be wary when removing these nests, especially wasp nests. While timid mice and birds will fly away from you, wasps will attack when threatened. If you find an especially large-looking wasp or bee nest, or you are allergic to stings. you should consider calling a pest control specialist before you complete the gutter cleaning chore.

An Ounce of Prevention

You know the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You can reduce the number of times that you need to clean your gutters to mitigate the danger of this job. Install the GutterBrush so you don’t need to climb up that ladder as often.



Without a doubt, cleaning your gutters is a necessary job. Any time you need to climb a ladder, whether to clean the gutters or any other reason, you should do it with a respect for the inherent danger. By following these gutter cleaning safety tips, and installing a GutterBrush, you will reduce the danger to yourself.


Author Bio: Deborah Tayloe is a DIY blogger and content writer for GutterBrush. She loves to write about DIY ideas and is a particular fan of furniture restoration. When she’s not writing about DIY topics, she’s putting her knowledge to use renovating her 50-year-old home one room at a time.

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