How to Clean a Hoarder House

How to Clean a Hoarder House

If you or someone you know is faced with the daunting task of cleaning a hoarder house, it’s important to approach the process with care, patience, and understanding. Hoarding disorder is a complex mental health issue, and cleaning a hoarder house requires a sensitive and systematic approach. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to clean a hoarder house efficiently and compassionately.

Understanding Hoarding Disorder

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to understand hoarding disorder. Hoarding is a psychological condition characterized by the excessive accumulation of items, regardless of their value. People with hoarding disorder find it challenging to part with possessions, leading to clutter and often unsanitary living conditions. It’s essential to recognize that individuals with hoarding disorder may feel distressed or anxious about discarding items, making the cleaning process more complex.

Developing a Plan

When tackling the cleanup of a hoarder house, having a well-structured plan is key to ensuring a safe and efficient process. Start by assessing the scope of the cleanup and identifying any potential hazards, such as mold, pests, or structural damage. Develop a timeline for the cleanup, considering the size of the property and the level of hoarding. It’s also important to assemble a team of trusted individuals who can provide support and assistance throughout the cleaning process.

Ensuring Safety

Prioritizing safety is paramount when cleaning a hoarder house. Before entering the property, ensure that you have the necessary protective gear, including gloves, masks, and, if needed, hazmat suits. If there are biohazards or severe filth present, it’s advisable to consult with professional cleaning services experienced in handling hoarding cleanup. Additionally, be mindful of potential structural issues within the property that may pose safety risks.

Decluttering and Organizing

The process of cleaning a hoarder house typically begins with decluttering and organizing the space. Approach the task with empathy and understanding, recognizing that individuals with hoarding disorder may have emotional attachments to their possessions. Create designated areas for sorting items into categories such as keep, donate, recycle, and discard. Utilize storage containers and label them clearly to facilitate the organization of items.

Deep Cleaning and Sanitizing

Once the clutter has been cleared, the next step involves deep cleaning and sanitizing the entire property. This may include scrubbing surfaces, removing mold and mildew, disinfecting areas, and addressing any odors. It’s essential to use cleaning products that are effective yet gentle, particularly if there are individuals with sensitivities or respiratory issues involved. Consider enlisting the help of professional cleaners for thorough sanitation.

Addressing Emotional Needs

Throughout the cleaning process, it’s important to acknowledge the emotional toll that it may take on the individual affected by hoarding disorder. Offer support, reassurance, and understanding, and be mindful of the individual’s emotional well-being. It may be beneficial to involve mental health professionals or support groups to provide additional assistance and guidance during this challenging time.

How to Clean a Hoarder House


Maintaining a Supportive Environment

After the initial cleanup, maintaining a supportive and organized environment is essential for preventing a relapse into hoarding behaviors. Work with the individual to establish a system for managing possessions and preventing clutter from accumulating again. Encourage regular cleaning routines and provide ongoing support to ensure a healthy living environment moving forward.

Seeking Professional Help

While tackling the cleanup of a hoarder house, it’s crucial to recognize when professional assistance is necessary. If the hoarding situation poses significant health or safety risks, or if the individual is struggling to part with possessions, seeking the expertise of mental health professionals and hoarding cleanup specialists is highly recommended. These professionals can offer tailored support and strategies for addressing hoarding disorder effectively.

How to Clean a Hoarder House



Cleaning a hoarder house is a complex and emotionally charged process that requires empathy, patience, and careful planning. By understanding the nature of hoarding disorder, prioritizing safety, and approaching the cleanup with compassion, it’s possible to transform a hoarder house into a safe and supportive living environment. Remember that seeking professional help and support is a crucial component of the cleanup process, and that maintaining ongoing assistance is vital for long-term success in managing hoarding disorder.