How to Clean Your Basement

Clean your basement like a champ. The hardest part of cleaning a basement is working around all that stuff you’ve stuck down there. This game plan will help.


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You Will Need

  • Sponges, both natural and nylon
  • White vinegar
  • Lint-free cloths and rags
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A bucket
  • Ammonia
  • Drop cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cleaning implements, like a vacuum, broom, dustpan, and mop
  • Baking soda
  • Batteries
  • Clay cat litter and pan
  • Some cleaning music


  1. Step 1

    Gather products

    Gather all your cleaning products together in one container before you start cleaning.

  2. Put on some high-energy music to set the pace and keep you going.

  3. Step 2

    Remove and shake

    Remove any dustcovers you have on stored items, shake the covers outside, then toss them in the washing machine. Wipe down the items that were covered.

  4. Step 3

    Clean furnace

    Wipe down the exterior of the furnace and hot-water heater with a sponge or cloth dipped in warm, sudsy water or a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water.

  5. The area around your furnace and hot-water heater should be kept clean and free of clutter and flammable materials.

  6. Step 4

    Dust bulbs

    Dust the light bulbs before replacing the fixtures.

  7. Step 5

    Make cleaning solution

    Mix one gallon of warm water, one cup of ammonia, and one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid in a large bucket.

  8. Never mix ammonia with bleach—it creates extremely toxic fumes.

  9. Step 6

    Protect floors

    Place drop cloths on the floor.

  10. Step 7

    Wet a natural sponge

    Dip a natural sponge into the bucket and begin washing the walls, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Complete one wall at a time, working your way around the room.

  11. Don’t use a nylon sponge or a rag; it will drag as you wash and take you twice as long.

  12. Step 8

    Scrub mold

    If you find mold, scrub it with hot, soapy water. Rinse with a clean, wet rag and dry thoroughly.

  13. Step 9

    Clean windows

    If your basement has windows, combine one pint rubbing alcohol, two tablespoons clear ammonia, and two tablespoons dishwashing liquid. Dip a nylon-covered sponge into the solution and wash the windows. Rinse and buff dry.

  14. Step 10


    Sprinkle the floor with baking soda to neutralize odor, then vacuum or sweep it up. Vacuum or sweep the stairs.

  15. When sweeping, use long, directed strokes, moving from the corners to the center of the room and sweep into a dustpan.

  16. Step 11

    Clean detectors

    Gently vacuum any smoke detectors; this will keep them clear of dust, which affects their sensitivity. Also, replace their batteries.

  17. Step 12

    Wash floors

    Mop your floors. If you really want them to sparkle, go the extra mile and hand wash them. Use a damp—not wet—cloth. Begin at the edges and move across the floor using a small circular motion.

  18. Step 13

    Eliminate odors

    Put out a pan of clean clay cat litter to absorb moisture and odors.

  19. Step 14

    Thank God

    Thank the Lord you won’t have to clean the basement again for a while.

  20. Before electricity was invented, people sprinkled the carpet with tea leaves because it attracted dust and dirt to the surface, making it ready to be swept.