What happens when you clean a hoarder’s house?

Hoarding is a mental disorder that can be very difficult to treat. Excessive hoarding can lead to unsafe living conditions. Extreme filth, reduced air quality, mold, and pests are just some of the things a hoarder may face. Before you clean a hoarder’s house, there are certain things you should know. If you’re not careful, you could make the situation worse.

What is hoarding?

Hoarding is a mental health disorder characterized by the excessive collection of items and an inability to discard them. The symptoms of hoarding can vary from person to person. In general, hoarders tend to have more than they need or use. This can cause clutter throughout their home and make it difficult for them to use rooms for their intended purpose.

Hoarding is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Although, it’s important to note that not all people who suffer from OCD also hoard. Hoarding may also be related to other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety disorders. But these conditions do not necessarily cause hoarding behavior on their own.

How to be prepared for what happens when you clean a hoarder's house.

  • Do not be surprised by what you see.
  • Do not judge the hoarder.
  • Do not take anything away from the house.
  • Prepare for negative reactions from the hoarder.

How to approach the issue.

The first step in approaching a hoarder is to talk to them. It is critical to be sensitive and respectful of their feelings, but also to be prepared for them being defensive. If they are defensive, give them time and try again when they’re in a better mood. If they are receptive to help cleaning up the mess, continue on with your plan!

Cleaning up after a hoarder.

When you clean a hoarder’s house, it can be challenging to know where to start. You might have to deal with items that have been sitting for a long time that are covered in dust and mold.
You may also find yourself working around piles of items that are stacked high enough that you can’t see over them. The smell of musty air hangs heavy as you walk through each room. Pests such as bed bugs and cockroaches could be living within the clutter as well.

Before starting any project like this, it helps to prepare yourself mentally by knowing what kind of situation you’re going into and how best to handle it emotionally. In addition, make sure there isn’t anything dangerous lying around (like broken glass). Try not to get too attached or upset about any particular object.


Hoarding can have devastating effects on the hoarder and those close to them. Cleaning once may not be enough, as they could be compelled to hoard again. Cleaning with the hoarder is only one way to help your friend or loved one. Be sure to have ways to get rid of pests without pesticides so they aren’t forced to leave their living space. Above all, seek professional help for more long-lasting solutions to this problem.