We have a crawlspace about 2 feet tall under the house. (Scary!) Looks like it has a black plastic barrier on the ground (which I believe is just dirt).

How should one dress to crawl under there, and what precautions are necessary. I'm talking about coastal North Carolina in the spring.

Is a pair of jeans and a shirt good enough or is an environmental suit of some sort necessary? I don't see bugs or anything else, but there certainly could be spiders or other things that sting, and I know the area has fire ants, although they may not be under there. But, I'd hate to disturb them. What is standard practice?

  • 2
    It really comes down to how 'icky' you think spiders, mice and rats are. ;)
    – DA01
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 22:09

6 Answers 6


Unfortunately I have to work in crawl spaces a lot. I don a cheap Tyvek jump suit/coveralls with a hood over my regular clothes. You can find them in the paint dept of Lowe's or HD for about $20. I also wear boots, mechanics gloves and some safety glasses. There are always some bugs, spiders, and I've met a woodchuck or two. Take a good flashlight and check ahead of you carefully to avoid any unpleasant encounters. At least we don't have poisonous snakes in Maine!!!!!! OMG!!!!! Good Luck.

  • Thanks, that's kind of what I was thinking. I'll check in Lowes and HD next time I'm there. Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 0:37

Knee pads. Without them you'll be in great pain.

  • 2
    I think this specific situation is more like a crawl-on-your-stomach space. Not really high enough to get up on your knees. Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 18:01


  • Eye protection. Plastic safety glasses or something like that to prevent dirt getting into your eyes.
  • Dust mask or respirator. You don't want to breathe in the dust/bad air in that area.


  • Headlamp. This allows you to see much better in there and both hands to work with.

When I go into crawl spaces I use old clothes and sneakers that I consider disposable. Then I just throw them in the trash once the work is complete.

  • I would agree with a headlamp. But other than that nothing else, I have been working under houses for over 40 years a good pair of pants I like double knee carharts, a long sleeve shirt is a good idea but not mandatory, depending on your size and the clearance you may want tennis shoes but if enough clearance boots are sometimes better. The most important thing with tight clearances make sure someone knows you are down there, I lost a contractor friend a few years back he had a heart attack in a tight space and did not make it out.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 22:43

This might sound like a sissy but if you have as motorcycle helmet with the overalls and thick gloves you can rest easy that way. Some tape from the helmet to the overalls to stop the spiders from biting your face. You'll feel invincible down there. a couple layers of clothes under the overalls. You won't even care about rats then either. The only think that might scare you is if someone else is down there already.


Do NOT go down there without leather or heavy duty rubber gloves with cuffs like sanitation workers use. It's like a super power when you can just swat the black widows & brown recluses dead as soon as you see them. I second getting the Tyvek suit to protect your work clothes. Get the kind with a hood and you won't have to worry about spiders down your neck. Also, wear high-top boots, and put rubber bands around the cuffs of your pants if the Tyvek doesn't have their own stretch cuffs. This should keep the crawlies out. Eye protection is great for keeping the falling dust out of your eyes. I also like to take something like a short-handled broom to clear the way of cobwebs and anything else that might be ahead.


Also, make a lot of noise before entering, to let any critters leave of their own choice. (Bang on wood or stone with hammer or the like.)

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