If you have been tasked with cleaning a house or apartment where a hoarder once lived, it is important that you properly prepare yourself for the task ahead. Cleaning up a property which has been home to a hoarder presents challenges you will not face when cleaning a standard home. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Wear the correct protective equipment
Before you enter the property, you should make sure you are wearing the correct protective equipment. When a hoarder stacks items from the floor to the ceiling of a room, it can severely reduce the level of ventilation. This means that allergens and mould spores can hang in the atmosphere. Wearing a facemask will help to filter out these particles and will prevent them from entering your lungs and airways.
Because hoarders will often stack heavy objects, it is also important that you wear suitable boots which will protect your feet if objects fall onto them. Ideally, you should wear steel toe–capped boots for extra protection. Thick coveralls and gloves will also help to protect your body and hands if they come into contact with pieces of broken glass, pests or other hazardous things.
Carefully consider how you will tackle each room
When cleaning a hoarder's house, make a clear plan for how you will tackle the mess in each room. It is always best to start by removing items from the top of each pile. If you attempt to remove objects which are lower down, you run the risk of causing the pile of items to collapse. Even relatively light items such as newspapers can weigh a great deal when a lot of them are stacked together, so you need to proceed with caution. Once you have removed all of the objects from a room, then you can get to work cleaning the floors, walls and ceilings. It is a good idea to focus on one room at a time and methodically work through the different rooms in the house.
Think about access
If a hoarder has piled objects up against the doors, you may not be able to access the house using the usual entrances. For example, you may have to gain entry via a second-story window or a fire escape. If you need to climb a ladder to enter a property, you should follow health and safety advice for working at height.
If you want to find out more, contact a hoarder cleaning contractor who specialises in this type of cleaning job.