Essentially, cleaning your gutter means removing the debris that collects there over the course of time, so should you use a gutter scoop to make the job easier? A lot of people choose to wear gloves and use their hands to do the job. But, there are tools available to help if you do not want to get your hands dirty or worry about puncturing gloves.
Gutter scoops are just what they sounds like. It is a short, but relatively deep shovel or spade, usually made of plastic that you use to lift debris out of your gutter. Because it needs to fit in the gutter the utensil must not be wider than your gutter. Gutters range anywhere from two and a half inches to five and a half inches in width so the scoop needs to be slightly smaller than your gutter width to function properly. Make sure you measure before you purchase. These tools will usually start with just a flat plastic bottom and then the sides will get gradually taller as you move towards the handle. Make sure that your gutter scoop can hold a good amount of debris. You do not want to be slowed down by having to scoop very small amounts over and over. You can accomplish your task much fast if you can take larger scoops out each time. Another way to save time is to find a gutter scoop with a very long handle so that you can reach further down the gutter without having to move your ladder. The most time consuming part of cleaning the gutters is going up and down the ladder to move it. A long handled gutter scoop will allow you to reach a larger area of the gutter without moving.
You can purchase these tools from a variety of places. The most likely place to find one would be a large home improvement chain store like Home Depot or Lowes. You can also find them at many online retailers or general purpose stores like Target or Wal-mart. You shouldn’t have to pay more than five or six dollars for a serviceable product.
Alternatives to buying include using your hands or a garden trowel or making your own. Your hand is the cheapest alternative, but it is slower than using a scoop. Most scoops will be able to hold several handfuls of debris and will make the chore go faster. Garden trowels have the same problem. They are small enough to fit in the gutter, but they do not hold a large volume of debris. Another downside to using a trowel is that they do not have the steep sides to hold the debris in place. Even if you manage to get a large scoop of debris, it will fall off the sides before you can get it to the bucket or garbage bag. Making your own is probably your best alternative. Fabric softeners bottles area good choice because they are thin. You should leave the cap on and turn the bottle on its side. Then cut the bottom off at an angle to make the sloping sides of the scoop.
Whatever tool you decide to use, make sure that you make the choice. Cleaning your gutters is extremely important and cannot be avoided. I would recommend using a gutter scoop to make the job go faster.