So, you’re looking to move, but you have one thing standing in your way: the attic. We know how easy it is for attics to accumulate unwanted items, but the truth is, the faster you declutter those items and clean out your attic, the faster you can get this move on the road.
Today, we’re going to break down how to clean out an attic. By the end of this article, we hope you feel more confident in tackling this project and can start moving in no time. (Of course, if you need a reliable junk removal company to help move things along, we know just the place! More on this below.)

An empty attic with a hardwood floor

How to clean out an attic

Below is how to clean out an attic to prepare for your big move: 

Tip #1: Get the right equipment and supplies

If you’re going to clean out your attic, a shopping trip is in order. Don’t have all of these items listed below? Be sure to stop by the store. You’ll need ‘em! 

This list includes a vacuum, broom, dustpan, light, safety goggles, rubber or plastic gloves, paper towels, garbage bags, rags, a mask, and cleaning supplies (i.e., bleach, water, disinfectant, and Windex). 

Tip #2: Wear your safety goggles, gloves, and a face mask

Once you have your equipment and supplies, it’s time to bring everything upstairs into the attic. That way, it’s easier to access everything when you need it. 

Just be sure to wear your goggles, gloves, and face mask when you go up there. That way, if there’s mold or a rodent infestation, you can be protected. 

Tip #3: Move everything to a different room – for now

It’s difficult to clean when an attic is filled to the brim with boxes. Try to bring everything outside of the attic before cleaning starts so that you can inspect the area and make sure you don’t miss anything. 

One of the best parts about relocating the items is that you can inventory what you have. Does that old piano not bring you joy anymore? It’s time to get rid of it, whether you choose to donate it or sell it. Haven’t touched those old appliances in years? It’s time for them to go, too. 

It’s true that attics can accumulate a lot of junk over time. After all, you rarely go inside your attic unless you need something particular. So, cleaning your attic in preparation for your move is the perfect time to get rid of those items that have just been taking up space. 

A junk removal company can help you a ton with this process by taking the items out of the room for you. All you have to do is let them know what you’d like to declutter, and they’ll take care of everything else. 

If there are some items you want to keep, simply inspect the boxes to make sure they’re in good enough condition for the big move and won’t break. Otherwise, you might want to invest in some new moving boxes. 

Tip #4: Start deep-cleaning

One of the first things you’ll want to do is tackle the inevitable dust and dirt that has built up. A ladder may come in handy for this part. Dust off everything from ceiling fans to the baseboards, and be sure to switch out your rags as needed so that you don’t just move dust around. 

Done with dusting? It’s time to sweep the attic. Also, don’t forget the value of a good vacuum! Sweeping can catch large amounts of dirt before you take a swing at the leftovers with a vacuum. Once the space is debris-free, move onto the windows. Windex can do wonders for you!

Tip #5: Check for mold, rodents, and other issues

After your space is clean, it will be easier to find signs of rodents, mildew, mold, and water damage. If you do notice droppings, read on to learn about the decontamination process below. 

As for mold and mildew, talk to an expert to help clean that up for you. It’s possible to DIY it, but it’s easier to work with a professional!

How long does it take to clean out an attic?

Many things affect the timeline of how long it takes to deep-clean an attic (e.g., your attic’s square footage and the total amount of storage). 

Generally, you only need a day or so to clean most attics. However, if your attic is bigger than average or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it may take longer than a day.

How do I decontaminate my attic after rats?

If you have signs of rodents in your attic, you might be tempted to sweep or vacuum the area, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest otherwise, noting, “These actions can cause tiny droplets containing viruses to get into the air.” 

Here are the steps to decontaminate your attic if you notice rat droppings or nests:

  • Collect your supplies. To clean your attic, you’ll need plastic or rubber gloves, a mop, paper towels, as well as disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water. The CDC recommends a 1:9 ratio of bleach and water, made right before you start cleaning. That means, don’t let it sit for hours or days ahead of your attic cleanout. Otherwise, it could lose its effectiveness. 
  • Get rid of any urine and fecal matter. First thing’s first, slap on your gloves. Next, use a heavy hand when applying the cleaning solution or disinfectant mentioned above to the affected area. Wait five minutes. Then, dry everything up with a paper towel. Toss the paper towels in a garbage can with a lid (an outside garbage can is best). Finally, mop up the space covered with urine or droppings using the disinfectant once again. Wash your hands with the gloves on, and wash them again after you have removed the gloves to prevent contamination. 

How often should you clean your attic?

As a general rule, it’s good to clean your attic once annually. That means removing unwanted items, getting rid of dust and debris, and sanitizing the space. 

It’s also not a bad idea to go through your attic each season. That way, you can keep it clutter-free and ultimately save yourself time when you do your annual cleaning. 

How do you clean soot out of an attic? 

If there’s soot in your attic from a fire, start by moving everything out of the attic, which you’ve likely done already if you’re cleaning your attic. The exact steps may vary based on the extent of the fire. However, as a general rule, it’s recommended to get rid of the insulation. 

Then, you can use a gentle hand and a sponge to take off thick layers of soot. If you can, contact a professional to help remove soot from an attic so that nothing is missed.  

Best of luck with your attic cleanout

We realize how challenging it can be to move when an attic is full of junk. That’s why it’s so helpful to know how to clean out an attic and get rid of things you no longer want. 

If you need a hand with this process, reach out to us today. We work with a quality junk removal partner who would love to help. 

Tyler Brown
Latest posts by Tyler Brown (see all)