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8 Easy Steps to Clean Your Crawl Space

A crawl space showing severe signs of damage from humidity.

Keeping your crawl space clean is an easy way to enjoy long-term peace of mind and avoid costly repairs from bigger problems. Here are some easy solutions to consider when dealing with a damp or dirty crawl space.

Why Clean Your Crawl Space?

Regular maintenance and cleaning in your crawl space goes a long way towards preventing bigger problems from developing further down the line.

Ignoring your crawl space for too long can lead to a variety of concerns, including:

  • Leaks can develop, causing water damage and potentially warping walls and floors
  • Wet crawl space air creates an unpleasant odor that can spread through the home
  • Rodents, insects and other pests can infest your crawl space
  • Mold and mildew thrives in wet crawl space air, creating an unhealthy atmosphere
  • An improperly sealed crawl space can affect your heating bill

How to Clean Your Crawl Space

Overwhelmed by a dirty crawl space? Don’t worry, this step-by-step approach to crawl space maintenance makes the process easier than ever.

1. Declutter

Debris can stack up quick in crawl spaces if you leave them unattended. Clutter can make it harder to access the space for more routine cleaning or repairs. Be sure to clear it out before you begin by removing any junk or debris from the crawl space, including hanging insulation, old construction materials like rusty nails or broken pipes, rotten or damaged wood, or soggy cardboard.

2. Address Mold and Pest Issues

Dirty crawl space in need of repair

Dirty crawl spaces are a breeding ground for mold or pests to thrive in. Once you declutter, it’s time to get rid of any spots of mold, mildew or fungi. If rodents or insects have occupied the space, be on the lookout for nests or wastes and remove them.

Trace chemicals from pesticides can linger long after treatment as well, so be sure to get rid of those as well. These issues aren’t just unsightly; they can cause serious health issues by creating a toxic environment in your crawl space.

3. Look for Leaks

standing water in a crawl space

Water can find its way into your crawl space through the smallest of sources. It’s important to seal off any potential leak sites before they become a problem.

Water and even wet air can seep into the space through the walls, open vents, leaking pipes, and even the ground itself. Fix any leaks you find and seal cracks or seams that can potentially cause future leaks.

4. Install Vapor Barrier

A Groundworks worker encapsulating a crawl space.

A crawl space vapor barrier is a simple and effective way to seal off your crawl space with a durable plastic barrier that repels water and wet air. Professional crawl space encapsulation is the best solution to ensure lasting peace of mind and prevent future leaks from affecting your crawl space.

5. Waterproof Crawl Space

Looking to prevent leaks and floods in your crawl space? Consider installing an interior perimeter drainage channel and sump pump system to collect and divert any water that finds its way into the space. Additionally, make sure your gutters and downspouts are cleaned regularly to ensure reliable drainage

6. Disinfect Crawl Space

If your crawl space is seriously moldy, you’ll have to sanitize it to prevent future mold growth. The same goes for crawl spaces with severe sewage spills. As a rule of thumb, if more than 30 square feet of the crawl space has been exposed to toxic materials, you’ll want to call in professional crawl space cleaning service.

7. Get Rid of Odors and Stains

Between damp air and mold spores, crawl spaces can get smelly and spread those odors through the rest of the home. Some easy at-home tricks for getting rid of bad smells include vinegar, baking soda cleaning solutions or charcoal. A crawl space dehumidifier is a good way to regulate the air quality of your crawl space and prevent odor from developing.

8. Replace Insulation

If your crawl space insulation gets wet, or if pests invade and make nests out of the fiberglass material, you’ll want to remove and replace it. Modern insulation, made of quality materials, can be an effective replacement. Poor insulation in your crawl space can cause a host of problems, including raising your heating bill.

Get Expert Crawl Space Repair

Groundworks inspector shaking hands with homeowners at front door.

Cleaning your crawl space can be a complicated and expensive process. Contact the expert team at Groundworks for a free crawl space repair inspection and leave the work to us!