Summer is nearly here, and that's the perfect time of year to give your basement a really good cleaning. Here are the steps you need to take to turn your dark and scary basement into a space you will feel comfortable being in.
Clear Out Everything
In many people's homes, especially older houses, the basement becomes a catch all for big and bulky items that have nowhere else to go. If you have a lot of stuff that is just garbage, you may want to rent a roll-off dumpster to make the clean-up job easier. Go through everything and decide if it is garbage, going to charity, worth selling, or keeping. Even the things you are keeping though, like the artificial Christmas tree, will need to be moved outside or elsewhere in the house.
Rent A Pressure Washer
A pressure washer is the easiest way to get the dirt and grime out of every nook and cranny. Most importantly, a pressure washer will get all of the creepy cobwebs and spider webs out of the rafters!
Use a solution of 1 cup household bleach and 1 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) to every gallon of water. The bleach is used as a disinfectant and to help kill mold and mildew whereas the TSP is a powerful detergent that gets rid of caked-on dirt.
Open all the windows and the bulkhead door if you have one. You want as much fresh air ventilation as possible since you are using chemicals. You may want to wear goggles to avoid splash-back and a mask if you are sensitive to chemicals.
Begin in one corner of the basement, working from the top downward, and from side to side, in four-foot sections. Be careful to avoid any of the mechanicals, such as the water heater or furnace. You will likely need to go through several tanks of water to finish.
Once you have completed washing with the detergent solution, rinse the tank thoroughly until the water runs clear. Repeat the same pressure washing process with plain water to rinse the walls.
When you have finished with the pressure water, use a broom to sweep any water on the floor towards the floor drain. Turn your basement humidifier to high and use fans if you have them to aid in the dry process, which will take about 24 hours. Check out websites like http://www.benscleaner.com for more info.
Rent A Paint Sprayer
When you take the pressure washer back to the cleaning equipment rental supply store, rent a paint sprayer next. Buy a can of Kilz Kitchen and Bath primer. This is a paint that is specifically formulated for use in high humidity and moisture areas. It also has a built-in mildew-resistant component. Because the paint is quite viscous, it will need to be thinned with water first. Do this by removing two cups of paint and replacing it with two cups of water in the can. Whisk it to mix it thoroughly. After you finish spraying the first time, add the two cups of paint back to the can and whisk in another ¼ water.
Wait one day until everything is dry, and then haul your stuff back in. Now you will have a fresh, clean, and bright basement instead of a dark, dingy one.