Why should you clean your attic? Maybe it's unfinished and just used for storage, so you don't need to keep it clean, or so you think.

But dirt is dirt, and all that dust, dander, and mold can add up and irritate your lungs, and possibly make you sick. These allergens come into the rest of the house through ceiling hatches, doors, recessed lights, and heating and cooling systems (especially if they’re located in your attic).

Cleaning your attic will also let you put some great ideas to work to get more from this often neglected space.

Here's some helpful tips to get that attic clean and being a more useful space.

Attic Cleaning Basics

  • Dust walls, window frames, and rafters with an electrostatically charged cloth (think Swiffer) or duster, which grab twice as much dust as cotton cloths. Don’t forget to dust exposed roof trusses, attic fan blades, light bulbs, fixtures, hatches, and door frames.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum cleaner, which channels all vacuumed air through a filter designed to remove even microscopic particles. A less expensive choice: Install a top-quality, high-efficiency filter bag in your vacuum.
  • Line shop vacuums with a plastic bag, which traps irritants and makes debris disposal easy.
  • Wear a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) mask, which filters a high percentage of airborne particles.
  • If you suffer from asthma and allergies, hire a professional to remove the debris. There's no reason to risk your life. A clean attic is even more important for your health, but the cleaning process can be even more risky if you deal with asthma and allergies. A professional can remove that risk and make your attic a safer place for you.

Keeping Irritants Out of Your Attic

Preventing mold growth and sealing out insects and vermin helps reduce irritants in your attic.

Mold: Moisture can leak into your attic from a number of sources, such as roof leaks and old caulking. After a big storm, inspect your roof for missing shingles and fix any missing or broken ones immediately.

Don’t bother buying a home mold test kit, which may register mold spores that are constantly in the air anyway. If you suspect mold, or can see a mold-covered area that’s larger than about 10 sq. ft., call a certified indoor air quality professional to evaluate your situation.

Dust: Many of those tiny dust mites you see floating around are really dust mite particles, roach parts, and vermin dander made of dried saliva, urine, and feces.

These dust proteins can trigger allergic reactions, so search for tiny cracks and openings in your roof, walls, and windows where vermin and insects can enter. Seal attic air leaks with caulk and polyurethane foam, and repair any holes in attic ventilation screens that are under the eaves and in gable ends.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.