How To Clean an Attic the Proper Way

Peter Chambers

Jan 24, 2024

attic with storage boxes

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Maintaining an attic often takes a backseat amid the hustle of daily chores and exterior home car. It’s easy to put off this task because it entails a lot of junk, dirt and heavy lifting.  However, cleaning this room is crucial.

Before you call the professionals, consider working it yourself with the help of your family members. Here are simple tips on how to clean an attic effectively.

Gear Up

Your attic is a breeding ground for unwanted matters, including molds, bacteria, viruses, dust and pests — all of which can render you unwell. Ensure to wear protective gear to keep yourself safe, such as long sleeves, pants, a hat, goggles and a dust mask.

You’ll need your broom, vacuum cleaner, dustpan, hand broom and cleaning cloths. If you don’t have an outlet in the attic, ensure your extension cords are appropriately placed below so you don’t trip. Bring a headlamp or work light to illuminate the space if you need light.

Empty the Attic

an empty attic

Before getting started, it’s advisable to empty the whole room. It’s an elaborate undertaking, but it’ll make cleaning and moving around much more manageable. You’ll require helping hands to carry out stuff and you can accomplish much more quickly.

Take inventory of the items. You might feel surprised to see how much has accumulated over the years. As you compile your list, organize your items into three categories — always used, occasionally used and rarely used. This would help you decide where and how to sort your stuff. When you come across old and worn-out items, dispose of them or donate them.

While sorting through items, you might catch yourself looking at sentimental items before you realize you’ve already lost hours of cleaning time. Try to set aside photo albums, books and other memorabilia and revisit them once you’re done tidying up your attic.

Remove Dust

A musty and dusty room can cause allergic reactions — if left unaddressed, it may affect other parts of your home. Check the ceiling, corners, window frames and walls for dust and cobwebs. Use your broom to dust these areas and your hand broom or vacuum crevice tool to reach the crevices and corners of the floor. If thick dust has accumulated, manually dust it with a damp cloth.

Sweep the floor and collect as many of the piles of debris as possible in your dustpan. After dusting the room, use a microfiber cloth and glass cleaner to wipe the window frames. Remove and replace window screens and curtains. 

Inspect the Attic

If you rarely visit and clean your attic, there’s a great chance that problems may have happened over the years. Issues include poor insulation, ventilation, cracked walls and damaged floors are commonly found. The insulation in the attic should have no gaps showing. 

Next, spot mold, mildew and excess moisture. These can negatively affect your health, causing sore throat, stuffy nose, burning eyes or skin rash. Molds look like spots that smell musty — remove them immediately using common cleaning products. 

Check for leaks — rain and snow can damage your roof after heavy storms. Faulty and weak infrastructure are more likely to leak, which can cause mold and mildew formation. Ensure to seal any cracks before moving forward.

Lastly, take note of any evidence of pest infestation — gnawed boxes, faulty electric cables or excrement — and look for slivers or gaps that may be an entrance point. Rats love warm spaces and are common during colder months. Squirrels, while adorably cute, can chew through your walls, wood and electrical wires.

If you find signs of pest habitation, don’t run the risk of electrical hazards, diseases and foul odors. If you’re on the fence about using pest control chemicals, consider installing an electronic pest repellant. This technology uses soundwaves to bother and annoy rodents, keeping them away from your home.

Sort Your Items

woman putting label on a box

Whether transforming your attic into a guest room, a home office or simply wanting to spruce it up, an organization system is essential. Here are some organizational strategies you can implement as you transform your space.

  • Use Clear Bins: Collect plastic bins and label them. They are transparent and airtight, which is perfect for keeping pests out. 
  • Add Shelves: A shelf is a great way to utilize small spaces in your attic. Add shelving where you can put your storage bins or old decor to add an aesthetic touch.
  • Maximize Beams: Attach wall or ceiling hooks on your wooden beams to hang lightweight items, like seasonal decorations.
  • Install a Pegboard: See if you have an unused wall to place tools and other utility items.
  • Add Clothing Racks: If you place seasonal clothing items in your attic, consider adding portable clothing racks. You can also use shower curtain hooks to hang your winter and summer clothes to free up some room in your closet.

Reorganize Your Attic

Now that you have a dirt-free attic and newly organized items, it’s time to put everything back in place. Keep those storage bins containing items you use frequently in the most accessible areas of the room, which may include documents, clothing and utility tools.

Ensure seasonal items, like Christmas decorations, are sealed and organized before placing them in their respective spots. Old furniture and other things you never use but intend to keep can be stored at the back of the room.

Take your time or ask for helping hands when organizing your attic. Asking family members to help you out is a way to bond. They’ll know where things are located the next time they need something in the attic.

Clean the Attic More Often

a clean, organized attic

Now that you know how to clean an attic, consider tidying up the space at least twice or thrice yearly to maintain a clean, healthier indoor environment. If you do this more often, you will save yourself from the long hours of decluttering, dusting and reorganizing. Committing to this will protect your home from pest infestation and moisture formation.

Achieve a Clean, Organized Attic Today

Just as you maintain other parts of your home, a well-kept attic protects you against costly repairs and poor indoor air quality. Start your cleaning journey today to enjoy a more organized indoor environment.


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