What are the dangers of cleaning a hoarder’s house?

cleaning in progress sign

Can you get ill from cleaning hoarders’ houses?

Hoarding isn’t just about accumulating a lot of ‘stuff’ that has no intrinsic value, but a mental illness that needs addressing. Often the person suffering from the condition will deny they even have a problem so it can be difficult to get them to admit this but it is vital that they are helped. This isn’t just because the living space can be overcome with possessions but also because hoarding also poses a very serious health and safety risk. Unfortunately, that also means, if you are cleaning a hoarder’s house you may be at a very real danger of becoming ill or being injured.

Common hoarding clean-up hazards

Getting trapped or injured by falling items

In worst case scenarios the hoarder’s house gets blocked with an accumulation of things they have collected. The trouble is, you try to remove the debris and you can be at risk of toppling everything over onto yourself unless you know how to approach the job properly.

Being injured by collapsing walls

In very extreme cases a hoarder’s property can suffer structural damage and if you are unaware of this you could be in danger of being seriously hurt by falling masonry.


A hoarder will keep anything and that includes rotting food. Be prepared for maggots, cockroaches and any type of insect attracted to filth as well as vermin such as rats and mice. Sadly, these creatures are also breeders of disease. If you are clearing a hoarder’s home and you are bitten by a rat for example, you will be at risk of getting seriously ill. It is absolutely vital that any infestation is eliminated before the clearing up work is begun, as they and other pests are a serious biohazard, that require specialist biohazard cleaning.

Food poisoning

If you don’t take the proper precautions you may end up inadvertently transferring traces of faeces or vomit into your system, causing you life-threatening illness.


If you get rooms chock-a-block full of tinder-dry newspapers and other accumulations of debris, there’s a very real chance of a fire igniting and some hoarders accumulate so much junk that entrances have become blocked. Meaning that there’s no escape route if a blaze breaks out.

Trip hazards

While you’re cleaning up there’s a chance that you’ll trip over something and could risk spraining or breaking a limb in the process.


The conditions in a hoarder’s home are pretty much right for mould to form. Mould produces allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Mould can also cause asthma attacks.

Fleas and lice

Be prepared to emerge from your cleaning duties with flea bites or even lice as these pests may also be present, especially if the hoarder also has pets on the premises.

Protective gear

Professionals ensure they are protected from biohazards by wearing the right gear, which includes hard hats, heavy duty gloves, masks, eye coverings and boots.

First Aid

They’ll have first aid equipment with them at all times.

They’ll have the wherewithal to dispose of biohazards correctly – you can’t just throw these out normally. They’ll bring with them.

  • Heavy duty bin bags
  • Mops and buckets
  • Cleaning cloths and sponges
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Pest repellent
  • A wide range of cleaners and disinfectants
  • Empty boxes

Why you should leave hoarder house cleaning to the professionals

It’s not personal

Try to do the clean-up yourself and your hoarder friend or family member might take it personally while getting in a professional company is a more business-like way of tackling the problem.

They understand the dangers

Professional hoarder house cleaning is not like normal cleaning. There are many hidden dangers which a professional cleaner will have experienced before and be trained to recognize. They’ll know how to remove objects without causing a landslide of debris and deal with hazards such as infestations.

They are fully equipped

Professional cleaners have a range of products and equipment to deal with every eventuality as well as an in-depth knowledge of cleaning techniques to ensure nasties such as biohazards are eliminated.

You’ll save time

A professional team can accomplish in only a day or so what you might achieve in weeks. So although you have to pay for the service, in the long run you will be able to save time.

D0 you really want to do it yourself?

Hoarder house cleaning is not only a specialised service and can take a very long time if you do it yourself but you’ve got to ask yourself, do you really want to spend hours and hours cleaning up horrors such as vomit, dried faeces, and cockroaches?

If the answer is no, then hire a professional hoarder cleaning service. Contact us today on 03300 02 02 88 or send an email to info@directcleaninggroup.co.uk.

Clients of Direct Cleaning Group