The attic is the part of the house that no one thinks twice about attic cleaning until they hear little feet scampering across the ceiling at night, or when searching for the source of an unpleasant odor. Then the attic becomes ALL they can think about, pondering the ways to seal their homes from the invasion of pesky critters and bad smells.
Attic cleaning should become more of a priority, considering that rats, mice, and other rodents can cause incredible damage to a home, resulting in ruined insulation, walls, and belongings. These pests have been known to cause house fires by chewing through electrical wires, as well as create hazardous living conditions for families by infecting homes with diseased fecal matter.
It’s understandable why attics tend to go unnoticed. They’re often inconvenient to reach, dusty, dirty, and usually dangerous to explore. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 steps you can take to make the attic cleaning manageable, and a lot more rewarding.
Have you ever wondered why there’s so much dust in the attic? Horribly enough, the small particles that you often find floating around up there are usually made up of insect parts—commonly roaches— and vermin dander made of saliva, urine, and stool. Disgusting, right? These “dust mites” can impose a risk to your health, and are just one of the dangers you face when crawling through the attic, so it’s important to gear up first!
- A mask is one of the number one essentials you’ll need before tackling the job. Make sure you find one that meets the standards of the National Institute of Occupational Safety Health and Environment (NIOSHE), and you’ll be good to go. Masks are extremely affordable and will protect you from any airborne particles.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and maybe even a hat to prevent harmful particles from irritating your skin. The more your body is covered, the more comfortable you’ll be during and after the job.
- Knee pads are ideal for when you’re crawling on attic joists. They prevent bone injury, as well as protect your knees from splintered wood and rusty nails.
- Lastly, always watch your step! Footing in the attic can be tricky, and one wrong step could result in injury or damage to your home. Use the ceiling joists as your floor and move about that way.
- Just like with painting, you need to prepare the canvas first. Removing your storage items before cleaning will set yourself up for better success, as you’ll be able to see and reach all the nooks and crevices with greater ease. This will make your patchwork simpler in the end too, and give you an opportunity to rearrange and organize your belongings the next time you put them away.
- This part may require a helper so you can just hand the items and boxes down without having to bring them out yourself and climb back up again. This will save you time, energy, and the risk of injury. If you’re using your attic to store items such as furnishings, then just stack them in the corner of the attic rather than try to bring them down.
- You’ll probably need a flashlight, considering that attics generally have poor lighting as they’re meant to be enclosed for insulation purposes, to prevent moisture and other weather-related issues, as well as keep animals from easily accessing your home.
3. Dust Away
- Once you’ve removed your belongings, it’s time to get rid of all those nasty dust mites. A vacuum will become your best friend here. Suck up all the dirt, dander, dead insects, and fecal matter with a breeze, using the vacuum attachments to reach difficult spots like corners and ceilings.
- You can use a synthetic duster for the windows, baseboards, fans, and whatever else would be otherwise difficult to reach with a vacuum.
4. Dispose of Any Dead Animals
- You’re more likely to discover a dead animal during the dusting and vacuuming process if you didn’t find one already when you were removing your items. If you happen upon one, handle it with great caution! Make sure you’re wearing disposable gloves when you collect the animal. Place it in a plastic bag as well as a trash bag, just to be sure the carcass is secured. Call animal control to make sure it is alright for you to dispose of it in your own trash bin, or if the law requires you to discard the animal differently.
- Always wash your hands after handling a dead animal and avoid any part of the corpse coming into contact with your skin, face, or eyes. Remember that if you are unsure about handling a dead animal on your own, enlist the help of the professionals.
5. Inspect Insulation
- If you’ve had a rodent infestation in the past, chances are your insulation has been gnawed through and used for shelter and nesting grounds. If this is the case, you’ll need to have the insulation removed and redone. On the other hand, if the product is covering the joists and no damage is apparently present, then you may not need to replace a thing, so be sure to give it a thorough investigation. Usually, if pests are present in your attic, insulation is the first thing they destroy, so rodent droppings and holes in the insulation are tell-tale signs of an infestation.
6. Check for Mold
- Not many homeowners consider checking for mold, but this is one crucial step that shouldn’t be avoided when attic cleaning! Mold can be incredibly dangerous to you and your family’s health and should be eliminated as soon as possible. This silent hazard is a direct result of moisture and usually takes on a dark gray or black form. It’s generally recognized by its common circle pattern and carries a musty smell, so if moisture has gotten into your attic in the past, you’ll definitely want to investigate for this toxic fungus. It spreads very quickly and can be a challenge for most homeowners to kill on their own. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you seek out a professional, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
Cleaning your attic is only half the battle. Sealing off your home from rodents, insects and other dangers like mold, is what yields the highest reward in the end.
- Disinfect all your belongings before returning them back to the attic. This means, washing curtains, linens, and any other clothing materials that may have been exposed to rodent dander, dust mites, or fecal matter.
- Replace any insulation that may have been damaged by pests.
- Seal up all cracks and crevices that you find and re-screen windows if necessary. This will prevent rodents and insects from finding their way into your attic in the future.
- Prevent moisture from getting into your attic by checking for signs of prior leaks and having them repaired. Sometimes shingles blow off the roof during a storm and will need to be replaced.
If you happen to stumble upon live pests or the fresh signs of an infestation while cleaning, contact pest control immediately to have them removed. Green Rat Controlwill not only remove the rodents from your home, but will also disinfect the attic, restore your insulation, and prevent the nasty critters from ever coming back.
Homeowners can accomplish a lot on their own, but we understand when enough is enough!
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