How To Clean A Hoarder House In 5 Easy Steps

Feeling overwhelmed by a hoarder house? This guide offers a 5-step approach to cleaning and restoring a safe and healthy environment.

How To Clean A Hoarder House In 5 Easy Steps

Cleaning a hoarder's house can feel like an overwhelming challenge. The sheer volume of stuff, the emotional weight, and the potential hazards can leave anyone feeling stuck before even starting. 

But you’re here because you want change. You’re ready to reclaim space, restore order, and make the home safe again. 

We will walk you through five simple steps to transform chaos into cleanliness. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Establish a Plan of Action

It's important to tackle the task with empathy and understanding. Encourage open communication with those involved and include them in decision-making in the planning stages.

Set Clear Goals and Schedules

Determine the extent of the cleaning project and set realistic goals along with a feasible timeline. Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. The quicker you get done, the better.

Assess the Area 

Before starting the cleanup, assess the level of the clutter and identify any potential hazards. Pay attention to areas that may require extra care, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or areas prone to significant mold growth or pest infestations. 

Step 2: Prepare for Cleaning

Safety should be a top priority when cleaning a hoarder's house. 

Equip yourself with protective gear like gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask, to avoid contact with allergens and potential hazards. Consider using disposable coveralls and closed-toe shoes to reduce contact with dirt and debris.

Gather Cleaning Supplies

Collect all necessary cleaning supplies before starting the cleaning process. This includes trash bags, cleaning products, disinfectants, and tools for removing heavy items. 

Having everything you need on hand will speed up the cleaning process and prevent interruptions.

Consider Professional Help

If the hoarding situation is overwhelming or involves biohazards such as mold or animal waste, consider hiring a professional cleaning company. These professionals are equipped to handle extensive hoarding cleanups and can guarantee both safety and thoroughness in the cleanup effort.

Step 3: Organize and Categorize Items

Begin by focusing on one room at a time. Starting small allows for better focus and concentration. Take breaks as needed to prevent burnout and fatigue.

Sort Items into Categories

As you declutter, sort items into separate piles: keep, donate, sell, and throw away. Use labeled bins or bags to keep track of items in each category.

Remove Trash and Hazardous Items

Focus on removing trash and hazardous materials, such as expired food, broken goods, or items infested with pests. Properly dispose of these materials following local rules and standards. 

Renting a dumpster might be necessary if dealing with large amounts of debris. Here are the typical dumpster sizes suitable for hoarder house cleanups:

  • 3-Yard Dumpster: Best for smaller cleanouts, this dumpster can handle a limited volume of debris, approximately equivalent to 200-300 trash bags.
  • 10-Yard Dumpster: Ideal for medium-sized projects, this dumpster can accommodate bigger objects and moderate trash volumes, capable of holding about 700-1,000 trash bags.
  • 16-Yard Dumpster: Suitable for extensive cleanups, this size can manage significant debris, approximately 1,300 trash bags in volume.

Consider the scale of the cleanup and the amount of waste that needs to be removed when choosing the appropriate dumpster size.

Step 4: Deep Clean and Organize

After cleaning the clutter, thoroughly clean each room from top to bottom. This includes dusting, vacuuming carpets, mopping floors, and disinfecting high-touch areas.

Clean the toilets

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

Clean the shower

Like the toilet, the long-term accumulation of filth trapped under shampoo bottles or in tile grout needs to be dealt with for the house to be truly cleaned.  Invest in good tile cleaning products for a comprehensive clean.

Check for Valuables

During the cleanup, take the opportunity to carefully check for any valuable items that might have been overlooked.

Look for important documents, family heirlooms, or items with sentimental value.

Organize and Store Items

After cleaning, organize belongings into designated storage areas. Use storage containers, shelves, and cabinets to keep items organized and easily accessible - label containers to make it easier to find items in the future.

Step 5: Maintain Progress and Support

Implement a regular cleaning routine to prevent the re-accumulation of clutter. Set aside time each week to maintain the cleanliness and organization of the home.

Remember that hoarding disorder is a complex mental health issue that may require ongoing support and treatment. Continue to consult with mental health professionals to address the underlying issues of hoarding disorder and provide support for recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you clean a hoarder's house alone or do you need professional help?

While it's possible to clean a hoarder's house alone, professional help may be necessary if the situation is overwhelming, involves biohazards, or requires specialized equipment.

How do you prioritize tasks when cleaning a hoarder's house?

Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. Before organizing and decluttering, focus on removing hazardous materials, clearing pathways, and creating a safe living space.


Cleaning a hoarder's house can be challenging and emotional, but with patience, compassion, and a clear plan of action, it is possible to restore a safe and healthy environment. 

By following these five steps and seeking appropriate support, you can help reclaim space in the hoarder house.