How to Clean a Basement Joist

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Things You'll Need

  • Step ladder

  • 3-inch nylon paint brush

  • Bucket

  • Liquid soap

  • Water

  • Sponge

  • Box fan

  • Tie wire

  • Wire cutters

  • Spray fungicide

  • Spray polyurethane

  • Work gloves

  • Safety glasses

  • Disposable protective suit

  • Respirator

  • Face mask

Basement ceiling joists must be cleaned and sealed before you can begin remodeling.

Unfinished basements provide lots of room for storage as well as a clean pallet to hone your remodeling skills. Finishing your bare basement means sizing the rooms, building the walls, adding ceilings and drywall, painting and decorating. Unfortunately, before you can start with all of the interesting design and building procedures, you must first do all of the proper prep work. One of the most crucial preparation steps when remodeling your basement is mold removal. Basements are damp and dark places that are perfect for mold growth. Basement joists are often overlooked moldy spots that must be cleaned and sealed.


Step 1

Set up your step ladder so you can climb up between two joists. Sweep off each individual board of the joists with your 3-inch paint brush.

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Step 2

Fill your bucket with water. Add 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap to the water in your bucket. Stir the mixture with your sponge.


Step 3

Wash the joists with the soapy water. Rub your wet, soapy sponge along each board to remove any visible mold. Rub with the grain of the boards. Rinse your sponge often.

Step 4

Attach the handle of your box fan to the joists with tie wire. Snip the wire with your wire cutters as needed. Turn on the fan to provide air circulation to help the wet joists dry faster.


Step 5

Spray the joists with fungicide. Soak each board and be sure to spray into the crevices between the boards. Let the fungicide dry for 24 hours.

Step 6

Spray polyurethane onto the joists to seal them and prevent future mold growth. Let the polyurethane dry completely before removing the fan.


Work gloves, safety glasses, disposable protective suit, respirator and a face mask are required when working with chemicals in an enclosed area.

Please consult a licensed mold remediation specialist if you have questions about cleaning your basement joists.

Watch for poisonous spiders, sharp objects and other hazards when working in musty, enclosed spaces.


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