My 60 gal. hot water heater is 10 years old (Home Depot) and over the last year or so the rattling every time the hot water is turned on is finally getting to me. The more you open the faucet, the louder it gets. Is this a do it yourself issue or do I need to contact a professional? I am fairly handy and put in the master bath and bedroom in the attic myself.
Is the rattling from inside the heater or from a shutoff valve on top or alongside?
Have you drained sediment from the tank recently?
Draining about three gallons of water should accomplish this. If the water doesn't clear up by then then shut off the water heater burner (or power if electric) before draining any more, and run water from a hot faucet upstairs before turning the heating back on.
When cleaning anything including baby diapers, it is better to sweep off or scrape off as much solid and semisolid material as you can first. (1) Less cleaning fluid or detergent needs to be used, (2) Less of a mushy mess which in turn means that bleaches or disinfectants will be more effective.