Restoring a hoarder's house to original conditions is a complicated, and often dangerous job, which is why we don't recommend you go it alone (see previous article ). However, if you've considered the dangers and are still determined to tackle this endeavor solo, you're going to want to follow our expert tips to avoid the worst hangups, protect your health, and ultimately, get the job done right.
How to Clean a Hoarder's House—Part 1: Preparation
Tip 1: Rent a dumpster
Every home has a dumpster. However, a hoarder's home will contain more garbage than you've ever had to dispose of. This is why renting a large dumpster from your city's sanitation service, and having it hauled off for an extra fee, will make your life a whole lot easier.
Tip 2: Prepare all necessary supplies
The supplies under your kitchen sink simply aren't enough to handle a hoarding clean-up. You'll need ample storage space for sorted items, safety equipment against biohazards, cleaning tools, and solvents.
So if you're planning to handle the job from start to finish, use the following list to make sure you don't forget anything :
- large trash bags
- cleaning gloves
- cleaning mask
- surface cleaner
- step ladder
- vacuum cleaner
- shop vac
Tip 3: Safety first!
Exposure to dangerous biohazards, toxins, pests, and mold is common in hoarding spaces. In order to protect your health while embarking on this epic clean up job, please use the following protective equipment:
Workwear—Good quality shoes and a hard hat will protect you from unseen sharp or falling objects.
PPE—Disposable gloves, face masks, and goggles should be worn at all times to protect you from airborne particulates such as mold and excessive dust.
Fire extinguisher—Piles of hoarded items can create a fire hazard, so it's a great idea to have a readily accessible fire extinguisher.
Pest repellent—Pests are common in hoarders' homes. If you disturb a population, you'll want something to fend them off!
First-aid-kit—Due to the randomness and chaotic nature of hoards, you may get cuts or other injuries while clearing out the hoarder's house. Have disinfectant on hand. And if you're an allergy sufferer, bring your meds to the sight of the hoard.
Prepare an escape route—Doors and other exits may be blocked by piled debris. Be sure to clear an escape as soon as possible so that in the event of a fire, you can exit the building safely.
Tip 4: Create a staging area
Unless you're planning to take everything to the landfill, you'll need a staging area in which to sort out salvageable items. We recommend using an outdoor area such as a backyard, a front lawn, or another open area (if weather permits).
How to Clean A Hoarder's House—Part 2: Cleaning and restoration
Now that you have a plan of action, crucial supplies, and are aware of potential hazards, it's time to clean.
You should begin and end with specific tasks in order to save time and prevent distractions. The process of turning your overflowing hoarder's house into remodeled living space will look something like this:
Step 1—Clear out each room of all debris
Step 2—Sort out salvageable items in your staging area and prepare them to be hauled to a donation site, or be picked up. Throw the rest in your dumpster.
Step 3—Deep clean and repair the home. This is a great opportunity to walk through the building and write down any necessary repairs, such as cracked drywall or warped floors.
Now, in order to make your hoarder house clean up as painless as possible, take advantage of the following pro tips.
Tip 1: Begin with the smallest room
In a hoarder's home, there's so much garbage, so much cleaning to do, you may just feel overwhelmed.
This is why you should start with the smallest room of the house if possible, and preferably the bathroom. This way, you'll have access to running water and a sanitation area should you need it.
Tip 2: Clean every room top-to-bottom
Clean ceiling fans and shelves first so you won't ruin your handy work later on with falling dust. It's also safer to clear books and other debris off shelves so they can't fall down while you clean.
Tip 3: Make a list of serious repairs before you deep clean
Once you've cleared the house of debris, you'll be eager to begin the final stage of restoration—a deep clean.
However, by emptying the house, you're almost guaranteed to unearth other problems you couldn't see before—mold, water damage, cracked drywall, ruined carpet, etc.
All of these can lead to even worse damage, or health risks, down the line. So we recommend making these repairs before deep cleaning.
Make a list of all these repairs, and move on to Tip #4.
Tip 4: Hire professionals for serious repairs and deep cleaning
A long period of hoarding breeds biohazards, mold, and pest problems. So, even after a thorough cleaning, a hoarder's home is often so deteriorated it's unsafe to live in.
This is why it's crucial to get professional help. Only an experienced restoration team has the expertise and equipment needed to properly handle a biohazard, mold, water damage, or pest control situation.
However, in the rare case that you cannot identify any structural, mold, or water damage, take the following steps to ensure a proper deep clean of the cleared-out hoarder space:
- Repaint the walls and ceiling
- Re-polish floors or steam-clean the carpeting
- Disinfect the space thoroughly, including fan blades, cabinets, closets, window sills, baseboards, toilets, bathtubs, showers, etc.
- Scrub floors
- Wash or replace curtains
Taking the next step
Cleaning a hoarder's house is complicated and, without proper equipment and know-how, hazardous to your health. After reading this article, you may realize you don't have the capacity to fully restore a hoarder's home.
At Clean Earth Restorations, we pride ourselves on our fast, compassionate, and discreet hoarding clean-up service. We also bring 26 years of experience to:
- Carpet cleaning
- Water damage
- Mold damage
- And many other hoarding-related restoration needs
Allow our qualified team to guide you through the restoration process. So you can have a home that is safe, inviting, and healthy.
Call us today for a free consultation at 619-284-4239. We are here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
- For a full explanation of what we offer, see our Hoarding Clean Up page here.
- How to Clean a Hoarder's House - Hoarding Cleaning Checklist, Rent a dumpster (really, do it.), https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/tips-on-cleaning-hoarders-home/
- Cleaning a Hoarder's House: Everything You Need to Know - Expert Home Report, Come Prepared With Cleaning and Storage Supplies, https://experthomereport.com/cleaning-a-hoarders-house/
- How to Clean a Hoarder's House - Hoarding Cleaning Checklist, Protect Yourself, https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/tips-on-cleaning-hoarders-home/
- How to Clean a Hoarder's House - Hoarding Cleaning Checklist, Prepare a Suitable Staging Area and Secure the Exits, https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/tips-on-cleaning-hoarders-home/
- How to Clean a Hoarder's House - Hoarding Cleaning Checklist, Choose a Small Room to Begin With (the bathroom), https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/tips-on-cleaning-hoarders-home/
- How to Clean a Hoarder's House - Hoarding Cleaning Checklist, Repair and Deep Clean the Property, https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/tips-on-cleaning-hoarders-home/