How to Clean a Gutter Downspout [Guide for Homeowners]

February 2, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking how to clean a gutter downspout? This is an excellent question, as downspouts help direct rainwater and melt the snow away from a house. They protect your home’s foundation from water damage, including cracks and leaks. Additionally, redirecting water as needed can ensure healthy landscaping around the property!

However, cleaning gutters and roofs isn’t always as easy as running a hose through them. If you’ve neglected this chore for several years, it might become even more challenging to clean downspouts! Leaves, mud, and other debris often mean clogs and tough buildup. To make cleaning downspouts easier, check out some simple tips any homeowner can apply.

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How to Clean a Gutter Downspout, Step by Step

Check out how to clean a gutter downspout step by step. However, before starting, remember to take all the needed precautions! Have someone help keep your ladder steady and wear safety goggles. It’s also vital to keep kids and pets away from work areas when cleaning around a home’s downspouts.

  1. Check the Downspout Opening and Gutters

    It’s important to first make sure the gutters are free of debris, so water can flow down the spout unimpeded. Clogged gutters are a surefire way to clogged downspouts. If needed, use a small hand rake or garden trowel to scoop out leaves and dirt from the gutters. A leafblower might also be used if there are dry leaves and debris in the gutters. Then attention can be turned to the downspout. Take a look at the downspout opening and check for any clogs that may be blocking water from flowing through. If you don’t feel comfortable performing this task, consider hiring a professional to take care of it.

  2. Remove External Debris

    First, you’ll need to clean the gutters and especially where they connect to the downspout opening. Second, use a garden trowel and remove any debris you see clinging to the gutter’s top and bottom openings.

  3. Try Using Your Garden Hose

    Then, insert a garden hose into the top of the downspout and turn it on high. Note if the water runs freely out the bottom. If so, let the water run until it’s clear and there’s no debris coming from the downspout. You can also use a high stream setting on your garden hose if you have an attachment.

  4. Determine if There are Any Downspout Clogs

    If the water only trickles out or backs up to the top of the downspout opening, you have a clog! Use a gutter or downspout extension that fits the end of the hose to clear it. These extensions allow you to run the hose up the downspout or down its top opening. Work slowly, so you can feel for the clog as you move the hose through.

  5. Tap and Knock on the Downspout to Dislodge Clogs

    Also, you can tap lightly on the downspout as you work the hose along. Slight taps can help dislodge any debris. Once you’ve worked the hose as far as possible, pull it back out and let water sit in the downspout for several minutes. This can help dissolve mud and other residues clogging the downspout.

  6. Dissolve the Remaining Debris

    Lastly, use vinegar and baking soda in the downspout’s top opening. This mixture can help dissolve mud and other debris as well. Rinse the downspout thoroughly once the mixture stops bubbling.


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How Do You Clean a Downspout Opening Without a Ladder?

If you don’t have a ladder or don’t want to risk its use, you can still clear a downspout quickly and easily. First, try using a garden hose along its bottom opening and open the water spigot as far as possible. This high-pressure burst can often clean lots of debris and clogs in the downspout!

Also, you can use a plumbing snake from the downspout bottom, to help clear tough clogs. Work the snake through the downspout slowly so you don’t risk damage and don’t push clogged materials further into it.

Additionally, homeowners can find telescoping gutter cleaning tools at any hardware store. These tools allow you to extend your reach to the gutters and top of the downspouts even from the ground. Use these as directed and allow you to clean those downspouts without using a ladder.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to call a pressure washing contractor for expert cleaning. They can inspect a roof, gutters, and downspouts and then choose the best gutter cleaning method for your property. For instance, soft wash systems dissolve thick mud and grime and then rinse them away without messy splatter. Using their services keeps you safely off a ladder and on the ground!

How Often Should Downspouts Be Cleaned?

Most homeowners should consider cleaning their homes gutters and downspouts twice a year. This ensures they stay clean and clear and clog-free. However, you might increase this schedule as needed! For example, mature trees near the home often mean lots of debris on the roofs and downspouts.

Also, some trees drop messy, stick sap that might end up in a home’s gutters. When this happens, that sap can trap even more debris in the downspouts. If you notice messy sap around your property, consider cleaning the gutters and downspouts monthly.

Prevent a Clogged Downspout

Additionally, undersized gutters can sometimes trap leaves, twigs, and other debris rather easily. In turn, that debris can then build up in the downspouts. If your home often has clogged or filled gutters, clean them and the downspouts as often as needed. You might also ask a roofer about installing larger gutters or gutter screens, to help keep them clean.


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What Happens If You Don’t Opt for Gutter Cleaning

It might be an unpleasant task, but homeowners should never put off cleaning gutters and downspouts. Gutters trap rain, melting snow and ice, and morning dew as these roll off the roof. Those gutters then direct that water to connected downspouts.

As water empties out the bottom of those downspouts, it runs away from the home. This process keeps that water from pooling around the structure’s foundation. Concrete absorbs water around it, so it’s vital that you keep a home’s foundation dry!

When you don’t clean gutters and downspouts, clogs often form. Those clogs allow water to run over the gutter sides so that it ends up collecting near the foundation. In turn, you might soon notice foundation cracks and leaks. This can risk costly damage!

Also, that pooling water can damage landscaping features and your property’s lawn. On the other hand, you can avoid these risks with regular gutter and downspout cleaning. Consistent cleaning removes “gunk” and debris that risk clogs, keeping gutters and downspouts working effectively.

Garden City Power Washing Experts is happy to clean out your gutter system. If you need expert exterior cleaning, call our Garden City power washing contractors. We start every project with a FREE inspection and cleaning price quote. Additionally, we guarantee satisfaction with every project we take on. For more information, use our callback form or contact our crew today.

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