How To Clean Out A Hoarder House

If you want to know how to clean out a hoarder house, this post will teach you everything and more.  Here, you’ll learn 6 easy steps that will take you through cleaning out a hoarder house and creating a sanitized, clutter-free space.

Convincing a hoarder to clear out their life-long accumulation of junk is already a hard enough process as it is. And the reality is that this declutter project will require more than just a basic house cleaning.

What many don’t consider when striving toward the goal of cleaning out their loved one’s home is that if the hoarder is convinced, then comes the actual task of cleaning out their home-sized garbage pile.  You will likely need to do some heavy duty cleaning to accomplish the project.

6 Steps For Cleaning A Hoarder House

STEP 1: Clear out the Trash

The first and most laborious task for the hoarder home cleaner is to attend to the piles of accumulated junk. For efficient junk removal, you are going to need:


  • Two or three strong people who can carry heavy objects


Often times hoarding long-term can damage furniture to the point of needing to throw it away. 


  • A large box of heavy-duty trash bags


Your white kitchen trash can liners are too small to effectively pack up an entire house’s worth of trash. Make sure the plastic is thick as well so they won’t rip.


  • Gloves


You are likely going to come across some incredibly gross substances while cleaning the hoarder’s house, so you might want to get some dependable gloves.


  • Access to a pickup truck (or spacious SUV if you don’t mind the smell)


You’re going to have to get the junk off of the property somehow. Contact a friend or maybe even consider renting a truck to get the space cleared in as little trips as possible.


  • A dumping location


Remember to already have a location decided on for dumping the trash. Call the city dump or a waste disposal company ahead of time and inform them what you’re doing. They may not be able to handle such a large job at the time you bring it, so make sure they can be prepared.


STEP 2: Clean the floors

After many years of hoarding, it’s unlikely the hoarder has ever pushed their piles of stuff aside to tend to the floors. You might need to hire a professional for floor waxing and carpet cleaning to make things look like new again.

Here are 3 things to think about doing while tending to the floor’s of the house being cleaned:


  • Mop the tile/floorboards


Buy some heavy duty tile cleaning liquid or some floorboard cleaner and mop all of the hard flooring in the home. There is likely years of buildup on the floor so you will definitely need to do this at least twice but maybe even three or four times.


  • Steam the Carpets


The hoarder’s home is known for high piles of junk but few consider the carpeting that pile is sitting on. Any small pieces or liquids that have worked their way down the pile to the floor have likely matted themselves into the carpet. Steam the carpeting with a professional-grade steamer or…


  • Consider replacing flooring


Sometimes even a generous amount of steaming and mopping just isn’t enough to rectify the damage. Floorboards can become warped and bent with years of moisture and neglect. Carpeting can become dense with filth and mold. In which case you’re going to want to tear out the carpet or remove the floorboards. Tile is far less likely to become irreconcilable, so just keep mopping and it’ll likely return to its former glory.

STEP 3: Disinfect everything

Germs can build up on even relatively clean looking surfaces. The hoarder’s home is likely a hotbed for microscopic organisms. You’re going to want to make sure you’ve covered the entirety of the home in disinfectant to ensure the ecosystem of bacteria living in the home is no longer an issue. Here are a few steps to get the home disinfected:

  • Get a Heavy Duty disinfectant

Lysol or Clorox spray will likely be good enough to disinfect the hard surfaces in the home, but if the situation is very bad, there are some industrial-strength disinfectants on the market.


  • Wipe down every counter space


Cultures of bacteria can form on surfaces that have not been touched in quite some time. Even if the surface looks clean be sure to spray it down and wipe away the germs. You never know what could be on a surface so untended to.


  • Any remaining furniture should be heavily disinfected


Odds are there will be a few pieces of furniture that aren’t hopeless and can be kept in the home. Make sure to disinfect those as well. There is a high probability that they have been accumulating germs for just as long as the hoarder has been neglecting.

STEP 4: Scrub down the bathroom

The bathroom is the most disgusting room in the home. There is likely so much biological waste in the bathroom of a hoarder’s home that it might be safe to take special precautions when cleaning it. Put on a face mask to consider protecting yourself from the fumes and make sure to follow these steps:

scrub down the bathroom

bathroom cleaning


  • Throw away toiletries


The hoarder has probably accumulated many bottles of various toiletries. You might not be sure which ones to throw away and which ones might still be usable. But you also don’t know how old they are and whether or not they’re filled with mold. It’s a much better tactic to throw them all away and purchase new ones for the inhabitants


  • Clean the toilets


People typically don’t hoard stuff in their toilet bowl, (at least I hope not) but still, hoarders are not actively cleaning the majority of their household, so it’s probably best to give the porcelain throne a bit of a scrub down.


  • Clean the shower


Same as the toilet, long-term accumulation of filth trapped under shampoo bottles or in tile grout needs to be dealt with in order for the house to truly be cleaned.  Scrub tiles and invest in good tile cleaning products from your local supermarket or Home Depot.

STEP 5: Deodorize

Not too complicated of a step here. This house is going to smell. Bad. Get some Febreze or Glade and just generously spray it around all of the potentially smelly areas. Remember to bring a few bottles before you start because you’ll certainly be upset with yourself if you forget. 


STEP 6: Don’t forget the small stuff

With so much to do with a hoarder cleanup project, it’s easy to forget about all of the little things. Here’s a quick list of things not to forget while cleaning out the hoarder’s house:


  • Spider Webs


Be sure to check all the corners of the ceiling. Most of your attention will be focused on the floor, but there’s probably a lot of cobwebs up out of reach.


  • Ceiling Fans


Dust is going to be all over the place. Don’t forget to clean off the tops of ceiling fans because it is incredible how much dust can accumulate up there.


  • Under Furniture


All kinds of little trinkets and dust bunnies have likely found their home underneath furniture. If you do end up keeping any of the couches or tables, be sure to inspect underneath and clean out any leftovers

In Summary

Cleaning out a hoarder house is a large task that will take a lot of time and even more willpower. It’s a gross long difficult job, but someone’s gotta do it. You could also try to call a professional about it who will handle everything for a fee. If you live in New Jersey call cleaning services NJ business Cleaning World, Inc. They can be reached at 201-487-1313 and they can take care of the whole operation at a reasonable rate.

We hope this post has been informative and helpful.  As with any cleaning project, a hoarder cleanup of your home is essential in order to maintain your homes overall health and the health of those who live there.  Now that you know how to clean out a hoarder house, we hope you go and do it!