A crawl space is room under your home if it isn’t built with a basement or on a slab. Often as low as one foot in height, and sometimes offering as much as four feet overhead, these spaces typically allow homeowners access to the home’s pipes and substructure. If your home has one, it’s important to know how to clean a one. While certainly not an everyday—or even every month—chore, it is part of housecleaning, albeit a rather unpopular job.
Crawl Space Debris Removal
If you’ve never cleaned this space, you likely have no idea what you might find under there. Some homeowners have actually found people—there are news reports to back this up—or animal nests underneath their homes.
Most of what’s there, however, should be removed. You should call your local animal rescue league or shelter if you find a nest under your home. And call the local police if you find a person living there. That—in most areas—is not only a serious wakeup call, but illegal.
When taking on this kind of housecleaning project, homeowners often find construction debris in the space from when the home was built.
You can store some things in your under your home, but don’t leave them there without periodic removal. Removing items regularly will cut down on the likelihood that they will become vessels for mold or mildew.
Never store cardboard in a crawl space. This is like asking mold and mildew to take up residence underneath your home.
Take Proper Precautions
If your crawl space doesn’t allow for adequate ventilation, you should consider renting a respirator when performing this kind of housecleaning task. A dust mask should be worn even under the best of ventilation situations.
Wear pants with reinforced knees and heavy-duty work gloves. It is likely there are nails and other sharp objects in the this space.
Mold, Mildew, and Efflorescence
Before setting out to clean under your house, it’s important to see if mold, mildew, or efflorescence is present. The removal of mold and mildew from your crawl space requires professional help. Contact someone with experience in this kind of mold and mildew removal.
Efflorescence is caused when moisture leaches minerals out of the concrete underneath your home. You can hire professionals to do this, too, but will save a lot of money if you do it yourself. You will need a sturdy wire brush, a paint brush and some anti-fungicide. Use the brush to remove evidence of the efflorescence from your crawl space. Then paint the anti-fungicide onto the area with a paintbrush.
It’s a nasty job, but someone has to do it. You can learn how to clean a crawl space and take on the job yourself—or pay someone else to do it instead. When you think about all the fun or more meaningful things that cash could be spent on, it makes much more sense to clean this space yourself.