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How To Sanitize A Gross Garage or Shed Full of Junk and Debris

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

How To Sanitize A Gross Garage or Shed Full of Junk and Debris

Assess the Situation

When facing a gross garage or shed full of junk and debris, the first step is to assess the extent of the mess. I take a walk through the space and make notes about the types of junk, trash, and hazards that need to be addressed. I look for signs of pests, mold, or structural damage that may require professional help. Getting a sense of the scale and scope of the project helps me plan the time, effort, and supplies needed to fully sanitize the space.

Sort Through and Remove Trash

Next, I start sorting through the contents and removing obvious trash. I wear thick gloves and a face mask to protect myself from dust, mold spores, and insects. Any food waste, broken items, or general garbage gets directly bagged and taken to the trash. For larger junk items like broken furniture, I dismantle them into smaller pieces that can fit into trash bags. Making multiple passes helps clear layers of junk and expose all the problem areas. Eliminating the trash lightens the workload for the following sanitization steps.

Clean Surfaces and Scrub Floors

With the trash removed, I can start deep cleaning the surfaces. Using all-purpose cleaners and scrub brushes, I wipe down shelving, walls, windows, and other surfaces to remove dirt, dust, and grime buildup. For the floor, I use a stiff push broom to sweep debris into the corners. Then I thoroughly mop the floors using a disinfecting cleaner or bleach solution to kill bacteria. For concrete floors with oil stains I use a degreasing agent and heavy scrubbing to lift old residue. Getting the floor as clean as possible is key for preventing future pest issues.

Use Disinfectants on Mold and Mildew

If I come across signs of mold or mildew, I break out the disinfectants. Mold requires a stronger solution like concentrated bleach or enzymatic cleaners to fully destroy mold spores and prevent regrowth. Rubber gloves and an N95 respirator mask are worn when cleaning mold to avoid breathing in spores. Mildew on surfaces can typically be removed using regular household mold and mildew spray cleaners. The key is to fully saturate the affected area and let the cleaners soak in for 10+ minutes before scrubbing away all visible mildew. Removing moisture sources can also help control mold and mildew growth.

Manage Pests and Nesting Areas

Pests like mice, rats, squirrels, and insects are attracted to debris-filled sheds and garages. As I clear junk away, I look for signs of nesting areas, droppings, chewed materials, and insect egg sacs. Traps and baits can remove rodents, while insect foggers or sprays are useful for severe infestations. Sealing up any entry points prevents re-infestation. Removing all food sources and clutter deprives pests of survival necessities. Maintaining cleanliness is the best method for long-term pest control.

Air Out and Deodorize Space

Finally, I focus on eliminating musty odors that linger in neglected structures. First I open up all doors and windows to maximize airflow. Positioning fans to ventilate the space helps force out stale air. Next I apply odor eliminating sprays that contain enzymes to break down smell molecules on contact. Products with natural citrus oils also help overwhelm and mask unpleasant odors. For extreme cases, renting an ozone generator can help neutralize severe odors that normal cleaning cannot tackle. Fresh air and deodorizing is the final step to sanitize both the physical and atmospheric environment.

Maintain Cleanliness

The key to keeping a garage or shed sanitized after deep cleaning is through regular maintenance. I try to never let trash or junk build up again once the space is clean. Having organized shelving, storage bins, and hooks makes it easier to put items away properly. Sweeping and wiping down surfaces on a weekly basis prevents messes from getting out of hand. Looking for signs of pest activity or mold regrowth allows me to quickly address problems before they spread. With consistent care and cleaning, I can enjoy a fresh, sanitized space for years to come.

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