Well, it was unoccupied for a long time. With that said, I don't get why it takes so long time to fix the house. In HP 6, Albus and Horace repaired, cleaned and cleared an entire house with just one spell. The same book stated that Albus Dumbledore could repair/rebuild Hagrid's cottage with the swift of his wand.

They have inanimatus conjurus spells, they can transform and duplicate nearly whatever they want, they can bring life to inanimate artefacts etc.

So I just don't understand why they didn't use their wands to remove all dirt, clean and clear the house with just one spell (the spell Albus used in HP 6 together with Horace) and afterwards transformed and repaired the house.

My guess: It wouldn't fit into the plot and ambience.

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Why are there "dilapidated" buildings in Harry Potter?
    – calccrypto
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 3:53
  • 6
    A lot of the things in Grimmauld Place weren't just dirt, but dark magic or rather nasty animals and whatever a Boggart is classified as. My guess would be they durstn’t just go at it with big spells without really knowing full well what's lurking. They could probably have gone with a bit more magic than they did, though. Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 3:53
  • 2
    @calccrypto I don't think it's a duplicate. It's rather connected, but the other post just answers on why it's hard to repair wizard homes while I am asking why it's so hard to repair, clean and clear a very specific house. So there are two fields that aren't covered in the other AND the repair topic covered in the other post might not fully fit to the Grimmauld Place. Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 4:03
  • @AmabileScientius Fair enough
    – calccrypto
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 4:05
  • @JanusBahsJacquet wizarding parents seem to like making their kids clean by hand to build character lol, and i agree it was more the magical creature infestation mixed with the removal of dark objects that took time to complete
    – Himarm
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


Your missing the meaning of cleaning in Grimmauld Place. While it was dusty, and had the general dirt left after being abandoned for 10 years, the cleaning is the removal of magical creatures infesting the house, as well as the removal of dark artifacts.

They found an unpleasant-looking silver instrument, something like a many-legged pair of tweezers, which scuttled up Harry’s arm like a spider when he picked it up, and attempted to puncture his skin.

They moved from the drawing room to a dining room on the ground floor where they found spiders as large as saucers lurking in the dresser

Snape might refer to their work as ‘cleaning’, but in Harry’s opinion they were really waging war on the house, which was put- ting up a very good fight, aided and abetted by Kreacher.

As you can see this further emphasis's Sirius's point on

Trying to make this place fit for human habitation

The physical cleaning is a non-issue, it was the creature cleaning that took them days and days.

That could do with a bit of cleaning, too.’ She pointed her wand at Hedwig’s cage. ‘Scourgify.’ A few feathers and droppings vanished.

Dirt and the like is a snap to clean.


Slughorn did not clean the house, he arranged the scrambled furniture

Wizarding world, unlike muggle's have extra magical creatures which reside in unclean places like Boggart's, which like dark corners and Gnomes, tiny creatures which live in gardens. So having an unoccupied house in wizarding world is more prone to pests than in muggle world.

'I've been meaning to tell you, Sirius, there's something trapped in that writing desk in the drawing room, it keeps rattling and shaking. Of course, it could just be a Boggart, but I thought we ought to ask Alastor to have a look at it before we let it out.'

'Whatever you like,' said Sirius indifferently.

'The curtains in there are full of Doxys, too,' Mrs. Weasley went on. 'I thought we might try and tackle them tomorrow.'

'I look forward to it,' said Sirius.

-Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, Chapter 5

As far as the part where Slughorn and Dumbledores cleaning is observed, it can be observed that they have just rearranged the scrambled things back to their own places with the help of magic but were unable to clean them.

“He [Slughorn] stumped over to a small crystal bottle standing on top of a sideboard and held it up to the light, examining the thick liquid within.

“Hmm. Bit dusty.”

-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4

The Grimmauld place has been left unoccupied for 10 years since the death of Sirius mother and since Sirius insisted in changing his hereditary house into headquarters for Order, they have been working hard in cleaning the place,

'What cleaning?' asked Harry.

Trying to make this place fit for human habitation,' said Sirius, waving a hand around the dismal kitchen. 'No one's lived here for ten years, not since my dear mother died, unless you count her old house-elf, and he's gone round the twist - hasn't cleaned anything in ages.'

-Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, Chapter 5

So throughout canon, I was unable to find a situation where wizards cleaned a place with the help of magic but they did rebuild some collapsed buildings like Hagrids cottage. Hence there might not be a spell to clean things out.

  • That last quotation also points at magical places being more prone to "becoming dirty": Magical pests.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 10:52
  • @DevSolar "more prone", is there any other quotation showing Muggle pests in the wizarding world?
    – axelonet
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 11:40
  • Spiders at Hogwarts spring to mind.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 11:43
  • Spiders!, yes thanks, they make fuss in wizarding world along with other magical creatures. I will update the answer accordingly, thanks for pointing out :)
    – axelonet
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 12:51
  • 1
    slughorn did CLEAN the house, that quote is after he CLEANED blood off the wall/furniture,
    – Himarm
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 16:40

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