How to Clean the Basement

I’m really happy to publish our first guest blogger on Angela Says, Ben Sawyer. Today he has some great tips for us on how to clean the basement. Living in Texas has never really provided the opportunity to clean a basement, so Ben’s expertise is very much appreciated. Enjoy, and as always, leave some of your tips in the comment section below!


Even the cleanest, tidiest of people have a few items that they simply do not know what to do with. One of the most common places for these items is the basement. It becomes a storage place for the stuff people accumulate over the years that they cannot find another place for in their homes. Now is the time to perform a thorough cleaning to get your basement looking good.

Things That Need to be Done When You Decide to Clean the Basement

There is a way to clean your basement that makes the process simpler and much less stressful. The first step is to remove the clutter. The best way to go about doing this is to place four boxes in the center of the room and mark the boxes trash, donate, keep, and recycle. While you sort through the clutter you need to make instant decisions as to which items belong in which box. If it isn’t important to you and you forgot you even owned it, it’s time to get rid of it.

Next you need to vacuum the basement. Basements attract a lot of dust and cobwebs. Grab a broom and a duster to clean up. Remove light fixtures and clean them as well. Following this job it is time to check the crawl spaces for signs of unwanted surprises. Animal droppings and mold are common in basements. Knowing there is a problem will help you to fix it.

How to Clean the Basement Floor Most Effectively

Chances are that your basement is unfinished, which means it has concrete floors. Vacuuming the concrete with a shop vac is the best way to remove loose dirt and debris so that you can effectively clean the floors. Mix detergent and ammonia with water and scrub the floors with a stiff nylon brush. When you finish you can rinse the floors with water and vacuum up the excess water with the shop vac. Should you find mold in your basement you need to get rid of it – and the musty odor it causes – by mixing two ounces of bleach with a quart of water and spraying the mold. Scrub with a nylon brush and rinse with water to finish.

Cleaning the Basement After a Flood

If your basement is flooded with water due to a broken pipe or a natural disaster you need to clean it immediately to prevent further damage. Make sure the electricity is off. If there is water in the basement it is important you do not step in the water to turn off the electricity. If you cannot reach it from the stairs with a broom handle you need to call a professional. Before entering the basement you need to dress accordingly in long pants, waterproof boots, gloves, long sleeves and a facemask in case of mold. Use a shop vac to slowly remove the water from the basement and then open doors and windows and place plenty of fans in the room to dry it. If you have any carpeting in the room you need to remove it. If it is not covered in mold you may be able to clean it and save it. Otherwise, throw it away. The same goes for your personal items. Items you choose to keep should be washed with hot water and bleach and placed outside to dry thoroughly.

Preventing Mold After a Flood

If your basement floods it is very likely to accumulate mold. The best way to prevent mold is to clean the basement out immediately. Remove all wet items, clean them thoroughly and allow them to dry completely. Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry the basement. Remove all carpet and padding. If there is drywall in the basement that was damaged by the water it will need to be removed. Replace nothing in the basement until the room is completely dry.



Ben is a DIY enthusiast, always trying to fix the problem on his own or to come up with new solutions. He has seen a number of moldy basements, often as a result of poor plumbing work. The houses for sale in New York could be in danger of such problems if large scale plumbing work is left to the amateurs. All DIY junkies should know when to stop!

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