How To Clean a Basement: 18 Must-Read Basement Cleaning Hacks

While many of us regularly vacuum carpets and sweep floors, baseboards often get overlooked during cleaning sessions. Yet, just like any other part of the home, they accumulate dust, debris, and stains over time.

The good news is that cleaning baseboards isn’t as daunting as it may seem. In fact, with a few simple hacks, you can make the process easier and even prevent future build-up. Here are 10 straightforward tips to help you maintain clean baseboards without much effort:

Save Baseboards for Last

Complete your regular cleaning tasks like sweeping and vacuuming before tackling the baseboards. This prevents dust stirred up during cleaning from settling back onto freshly cleaned baseboards.


When tackling your basement, the first step is to declutter. Basements often become a haven for chaos, but the reality is, you probably don’t need everything stored down there. Start by setting up an area in your home to sort items, then take everything out of the basement. Divide items into three groups: keep, throw away, or donate. Consider organizing a garage sale if you have items you no longer need but can still be useful to others.

Use the Right Equipment

Basements accumulate heavy dust, so a regular vacuum cleaner might not be sufficient. Invest in a heavy-duty wet/dry vacuum cleaner capable of handling liquid spills.

Additionally, gather supplies like microfiber cloths, a mop bucket with two mops, and a bristle brush for stubborn stains. Remember to wear gloves and a mask for protection, especially when using household disinfectants.

Remove Mold

Basements are prone to mold due to their damp environment. After thorough vacuuming and scrubbing, address any mold present. An eco-friendly solution of water and vinegar works effectively as a natural mold remover.

Apply the solution to affected areas, let it sit for about 30 minutes, then wipe away the mold with a cloth. To prevent mold from returning, consider using a dehumidifier to keep the area as dry as possible.

Start with Vacuuming

Baseboards tend to accumulate dust, so before resorting to stronger cleaning products for tackling grease or dirt, use a vacuum to address the dust. To avoid scratching your baseboards, we recommend using a brush attachment.

Choose the Method Based on Material

Baseboards come in different materials, such as painted or wood, each requiring specific cleaning solutions to protect the material.

For instance, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water, but for wood baseboards, opt for a cleaning solution that won’t harm the wood stain. When unsure, use warm water mixed with a little dish soap.

Develop a Storage Plan

After determining which items to keep, it’s essential to organize them efficiently. Place them in airtight containers and label them for easy identification in the future. For clothing storage, consider allocating specific areas for each season.

Generally, items you don’t use frequently should be stored towards the back, while those you use often should be easily accessible towards the front.

Maximize Space Utilization

Basements often become cluttered due to inadequate furniture. To optimize space, opt for vertical shelving units and utilize wall and ceiling hooks. Closed shelving, similar to what’s used in living rooms, is preferable for basements as it provides protection from dust and moisture. This approach helps maintain a neat and organized basement space.

Turn Off the Electricity

Water and electricity are a dangerous combination, so the first step in your basement cleaning checklist should be to switch off the electricity and gas. If you’re unsure where the breaker is located, contact your electrician for guidance.

They can provide suggestions on finding it, and if needed, come to your home to turn off the power safely.

Ensure Proper Drying

After a flood or leak, drying out the basement quickly is crucial as mold can start growing within two days. You can use a wet/dry shop vacuum or a water pump if you’re familiar with their operation. Once the water is removed, use fans and a dehumidifier to aid in the drying process.

Remove Damaged Items

Floodwater, whether from sewage or another source, can contaminate items stored in your basement.

Discard any canned goods, carpeting, flooring, wall materials, insulation, beds, or furniture that have been submerged in water. Items with minor water damage may be salvageable with proper cleaning.

Disinfect Rather Than Just Sanitize

While sanitizing with antibacterial spray can help kill some bacteria, it may not prevent all organisms from growing after a flood. Using bleach for disinfection is more effective in ensuring your family and home’s safety. Thoroughly disinfect your basement to prevent potential health hazards.

Scrub the Walls

When cleaning a basement, don’t overlook the walls. Just like the floor, walls can be affected by water damage. Clean the walls up to about two feet from the floor and any areas with damage to ensure they are free from contamination.

Apply Waterproof Stain

After removing the water, consider applying a waterproof stain to prevent future water damage, especially if you live in a flood-prone area or have an older home prone to leaks. To apply the stain, start by scrubbing the floor with an alkaline cleaner and degreaser.

Rinse off the cleaner, apply phosphoric acid, scrub the floor again, and let the solution sit for 20 minutes. Rinse the floor thoroughly three times before allowing it to dry completely. Apply the waterproof stain and allow it to dry for about a day.

Once the basement is clean, assess the damage left behind by the water. This is the time to schedule repairs or tackle them yourself. Repairs may include removing carpeting, painting walls, or installing new walls and insulation. Ensure you wear appropriate safety gear while carrying out repairs.

Disinfecting the Basement

To disinfect the basement, gather supplies including chlorine bleach, scrubbers with long handles, washcloths, buckets, a mop, latex or vinyl gloves, and safety goggles. Ensure the area is completely dry before starting the process by using dehumidifiers and fans.

Open windows for airflow, mix a tablespoon of bleach with water in a bucket, mop the floors and walls, and let the area dry. For tougher areas, increase the bleach quantity as needed.

Cleaning Up Water

To remove water from the basement, you can use a wet/dry vacuum or a water pump. Ensure the area is dry before starting the cleaning process.

Dealing with Basement Junk

Assess the water damage to determine which items are beyond repair. Dispose of irreparable items, and consider selling, donating, or recycling salvageable ones. Alternatively, you can hire a company specializing in basement cleaning and junk removal.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

Basement cleanouts, especially with water damage, can be challenging. If you lack the tools or time to clean it yourself, consider hiring a professional flooded basement cleanup company. They can handle the job efficiently, ensuring thorough drying and minimizing the risk of mold and mildew growth.

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