Renting a storage unit is a great way to free up extra space in your home, while storing some rarely-used items in the unit. Keep in mind you need to be diligent with your storage unit to keep it clean and free of pests. Here are some tips to help you do this.
When you are renting a storage unit, you should regularly clean it. Just because your storage unit is not part of your home does not mean you don't need to keep it clean. Just as you clean out your closets and storage room regularly during spring cleaning, treat your storage unit the same.
Cleaning your storage unit out one or two times each year can help keep it clean and free of pests and the damage that can come from their infestations. If you do find any insect or rodent activity during a cleaning, you can clean it up and prevent it from continuing with pest baits. And regularly cleaning out your storage unit gives you a chance to go through and organize your storage items, getting rid of items you no longer want or need.
When you first rent your storage unit and before you place anything inside the unit, sweep out or vacuum the floor, including corners, of any dust and debris. During your regular annual or semi-annual cleanings, you should remove everything from the unit and sweep or vacuum the floor. Check the corners and crevices along the floor and ceiling to sweep cobwebs and insect nests. Then, check to make sure there has not been any moisture problems allowing mold or mildew growth. Use a household bleach cleaner to spray and wipe up with a paper towel any mold and mildew. Storage units, especially outdoor units, can experience water leaks during wet weather and when snow and ice melts in the spring.
Pest Prevention and Cleaning
The first step to keeping your stored items free of pest problems is to seal up any visible openings into your storage unit. You can apply an insecticide gel inside holes and cracks leading into your storage unit to kill any entering pests, or fill the holes and cracks with caulk. Be sure to get permission from the storage complex management beforehand. Keep in mind that mice only need an opening the size of a dime to enter into your storage unit and cockroaches and ants need an opening the width of a credit card. Then as an extra prevention, place rodent and insect bait traps and insecticide gel along the baseboards of your rented storage unit.
It is not a good idea to store food items, as these can attract rodents and insects into your storage area. If you do need to store food items in your rented unit, keep them sealed in an enclosed metal container, as insects and mice cannot eat through metal. Steam clean any furniture upholstery you will be storing in your unit to remove food spills and stains that can attract rodents and other pests. Then, wrap your upholstered furniture with durable moving plastic wrap to seal the fabric of your furniture and keep it from becoming home to burrowing mice.
If you find evidence rodents have been living in your unit, it is important to wear rubber gloves and clean up the area using a bleach solution to protect yourself from the diseases that rodents and their droppings can carry. Mix up a cleaning solution of one part bleach to ten parts water and spray it over the droppings and urine to wet the area. Allow the solution to sit for five minutes, then wipe up all residues with paper towels and throw them in the trash. Clean up dead insects and their droppings by sweeping with a broom.
Use this information to help you keep your storage unit clean and pest-free.