If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you know someone who is a hoarder. Maybe you even are one yourself. 2-6% of the population have a hoarding disorder. It is a serious problem that affects millions of people all around the world. It can cause physical and emotional damage to both the hoarder and their loved ones.
In this blog post, we will discuss what hoarding is, why it is dangerous, and the importance of cleaning up after a hoarder. We will then provide a step-by-step guide on how to safely and effectively clean up a hoarders home.
What is hoarding?
Hoarding is a disorder that is characterized by the compulsive need to acquire and save items, even if those items are of no real value. Hoarders often live in homes that are cluttered and crammed full of stuff, making it difficult to move around or even use basic amenities like the kitchen or bathroom.
While most people have some level of hoarder tendencies, true hoarding is a serious problem that can cause physical and emotional damage to both the hoarder and their loved ones. If you suspect that someone you know may be a hoarder, it is important to get them help from a professional. 70% of hoarders that get therapy see positive results.
Cleaning up after a hoarder can be a daunting task, but it is important to do so for the health and safety of you and your loved one. Keep reading to learn how to clean a hoarder’s house based on our years of experience doing it as a service for clients.
Is hoarding dangerous?
Yes, hoarding can be dangerous. Hoarders often live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Their homes are usually cluttered with clothes, papers, and other items, making it difficult to move around or even use basic amenities like the kitchen or bathroom. This can lead to falls, fires, and other accidents.
Hoarding can also cause emotional distress to both the hoarder and their loved ones. Hoarders often feel a lot of shame and embarrassment about their disorder, which can lead to social isolation. Their loved ones may also feel overwhelmed by the situation and unsure of how to help.
If you suspect that someone you know is a hoarder, it is important to get them help from a professional and hire experts like Contractors Niagara to clean up their property if you don’t wish to do it yourself.
How long does it take to clean a hoarders house?
The amount of time it takes to clean a hoarders house depends on the size of the house and the severity of the hoarding. A small home with a mild hoarding problem may only take a few days to clean, while a large home with severe hoarding could take weeks or even months.
It is also important to note that cleaning up after a hoarder is not a one-time event. The hoarder will need continuous support to prevent them from relapse. This means that their loved ones will need to be involved in their treatment and recovery, even after the initial cleanup is complete.
If you are considering hiring someone to help you clean up after a hoarder, you can contact us today for a free quote and more information.
How to start cleaning a hoarder’s home
Without further delay, these are the steps our team takes when doing hoarding cleanups, and you can perform them yourself if you wish.
Make a plan for tackling the cleaning
The first step is to make a plan. This may seem daunting, but it is important to take the time to figure out what needs to be done and how you are going to do it.
Start by making a list of all the areas that need to be cleaned. Then, prioritize those areas based on health and safety concerns. For example, the kitchen and bathroom should be given priority over other areas of the house.
Once you have a prioritized list of areas that need to be cleaned, you can start making a plan for tackling each one. You will need to decide what cleaning supplies you will need, how many people you will need to help, any associated costs, and how much time you realistically have to devote to the project.
Get boxes and cleaning equipment
Next, you need the right equipment to make the process easier. Boxes will be your best friend during this process. You can use them to sort items as you go and to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
You will also need a variety of cleaning supplies, including trash bags, gloves, rags, and disinfectant. If you have any allergies, be sure to get non-toxic cleaning supplies to avoid triggering them.
Finally, make sure you have access to a vacuum cleaner and a steamer. These will come in handy for getting rid of dust, dirt, and other debris that has accumulated over time.
Start clearing out the trash and easy things
We recommend starting by clearing out junk, trash, and debris because it creates more space and gives you a quick win to boost your confidence.
You will likely find a lot of trash in a hoarder’s home, so it is important to have plenty of garbage bags on hand. Be sure to wear gloves while you are doing this to protect yourself from sharp objects and bacteria.
Once you have cleared out the trash, you can start sorting through the remaining items. You may want to create three piles: one for things that can be donated, one for things that need to be thrown away, and one for things that can be kept.
If possible, try to get the hoarder’s input on what should be kept and what should be thrown away. This will help them feel more comfortable with the process and less likely to relapse later on.
Be careful with glass and dangerous or sharp items
One of the scariest parts of cleaning after a hoarder is dangerous items like glass or sharp objects. You, of course, don’t want to hurt yourself in the process.
The best way to deal with these items is to have a designated spot for them that is out of the way. That could be a box in the corner or even outside if you have easy access.
Then, when you have time, you can properly dispose of them. For example, you can take glass bottles to a recycling center and sharp objects to a local hardware store.
If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with these items yourself, there are companies like ours that specialize in hoarder cleanups and will do it for you.
Clean and sanitize floors as you go
As you are sorting through items and clearing out trash, be sure to clean and sanitize the floors as you go. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria and dirt throughout the rest of the house.
We recommend using a steamer for this because it is more effective than a traditional mop and bucket. You can also use disinfectant wipes to clean up any spills or messes.
Once you have finished cleaning and sanitizing the floors, you can move on to other areas of the house. Just be sure to keep your floors clean as you go to avoid having to start all over again.
Disinfect surfaces and items
Another important step in cleaning after a hoarder is to disinfect all surfaces and items. This includes countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and anything else that might be touched on a regular basis.
You can use disinfectant wipes or spray for this. Just be sure to read the labels carefully to ensure you are using them correctly.
After you have disinfected all of the surfaces in the house, you can move on to washing clothes, linens, and curtains. These items may harbour bacteria and dirt, so it is important to clean them thoroughly.
If possible, wash these items in hot water with bleach or another powerful disinfectant. This will help kill any germs that might be hiding.
Deep clean carpets (if there are any)
Another area that will likely need some attention is the carpet. Carpets can be a breeding ground for bacteria and dirt, so it is important to clean them thoroughly.
If possible, rent a steam cleaner or hire a professional to do it for you. This will ensure that all of the dirt and bacteria are removed from the carpets.
If you don’t have access to a steam cleaner, you can try shampooing the carpets with a powerful disinfectant. Just be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully, so you don’t damage your carpets.
Scrub and clean the bathroom
After the previous steps, it’s time to tackle the bathroom. This is one of the most important rooms to clean, as it is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Start by scrubbing the tub, shower, and sink with a powerful disinfectant. Be sure to pay attention to any areas that might be harbouring mould or mildew.
Next, clean the toilet bowl and seat with a disinfectant cleaner. Be sure to use a brush to get under the rim of the bowl.
Finally, mop the floor with a disinfectant solution. This will help kill any germs that might be hiding.
Deodorize each room
Last but not least, you must deodorize each room before you’re finished. Even though it might look clean, it often will not smell like it.
You can buy deodorizers at most stores, or you can make your own using essential oils and a diffuser. Just be sure to choose a scent that is not too overpowering.
Once you have deodorized each room, you can open the windows to let in some fresh air. This will help get rid of any lingering odours.
And that’s it! You have now successfully cleaned a hoarder’s home. Just be sure to keep up with the cleaning on a regular basis to prevent it from happening again. T
Wrapping up how to clean a hoarder’s home
Cleaning the home of a hoarder can be stressful and dangerous. This is amplified when it’s a friend, family, or loved one. Thankfully, Contractors Niagara has years of experience doing hoarding cleanouts, and the process we shared in this article has worked perfectly for our team across hundreds of projects.
You can reach out to us at any time if you need professionals in the Niagara region to take care of hoarding cleanups for you.