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Can You Clean the Attic by Yourself?


Updated: Dec 29, 2022

A dirty attic can be a serious health hazard, so keeping it clean is very important!

Dust can cause allergy flare-ups, mold can cause respiratory issues, and rodent infestations carry their own range of diseases. But the attic can be an intimidating space, especially if it’s not finished. It makes sense to wonder if you can clean your attic by yourself safely.

The answer is largely based on your personal situation. In this post, we’ll explain what you need to consider before cleaning your attic. It’ll help you figure out if you can clean the attic by yourself without putting your health at risk. Then, we include a few tips and suggestions for actually cleaning your attic safely.

Should you clean your attic by yourself?

Whether you can clean the attic by yourself heavily depends on the actual condition of your attic. Here’s how to decide.

Is your attic finished or unfinished?

It’s usually quite easy to clean a finished attic all by yourself.

An unfinished attic presents more challenges. Does it have flooring, or will you have to walk on the joists? Is any of the insulation exposed?

If there is flooring and the insulation is well-covered, you might be able to clean it even if it’s unfinished. On the other hand, exposed insulation or no flooring both require an added level of protection and care. Touching the insulation with bare skin, breathing in too much dust, or just standing on one joist for too long can be dangerous.

If your attic is unfinished to such an extent and you don’t have much home renovation experience, you will be better off having a professional clean your attic

Is there serious damage?

Cleaning a dusty attic is one thing. We’d still recommend you wear a face mask and full-coverage work clothes, including gloves. However, if there’s serious damage, it may be downright dangerous.

What do we mean by serious damage? Here’s a quick list:

  • Leaks or dampness
  • Mold on the walls
  • Damp or moldy insulation
  • Rodent or insect infestation

Additionally, if you have old insulation, it might be made with asbestos, which is a dangerous carcinogen. In that case, you may want to replace the insulation altogether, which is better done by a professional.

Tips for cleaning the attic

If you’re confident that you can clean the attic by yourself, we do have a few suggestions to help keep you safe when you do it.

  • Protect yourself! Make sure your body is covered up completely with work clothes since both dust and insulation material can be irritating. Wear gloves, as well.
  • Wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling dust as well as other possible contaminants in the air.
  • Pay attention to the weather before going up into the attic. Thanks to the insulation, attics are meant to shield the house from extreme temperatures, but the space itself is unprotected. Choose a mild day, so the attic won’t be too hot or too cold.
  • If your attic is unfinished, be very careful stepping on the joists (the beams placed along the bottom of the attic where there is no flooring). Don’t spend too much time putting your wait on a single joist, since they’re rarely able to support human weight for long.
  • If you go into the attic and feel that the dirt or damage is above what you can handle, please call a professional – especially if you see signs of mold, dampness, or rodents.

What to do if you can’t clean your attic by yourself?

Just because you could clean up your attic by yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to. Consider this your permission from the universe to outsource this time-consuming and difficult task.

In some cases, cleaning out your attic will require buying some expensive equipment. If that’s the case, hiring a professional who already has all the tools necessary can actually save you money. This is especially true in cases where the attic has fundamental issues that go beyond being a little dirty, like leaks, rodents, or mold.

But, even if your attic just needs basic cleaning, opting for professional attic cleaning never hurts. They’ll be able to identify potential weak points in your attic like entry points for pests or areas where ventilation or insulation are in poor shape.

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