A new home is a blank slate to be decorated, furnished and filled with memories to come. But first, you need to clean up the previous owner’s dirt. From dust in the corners to grime on the bathtub, a lot of mess becomes apparent when a home is empty. As much as you want to get settled into your new home, it’s best to clean before moving in. With an empty house, you can reach every nook and cranny to get your home truly good as new. Before unloading the moving truck, take care of these essential cleaning jobs.
Be Mindful of What You Bring In
Before you break out the cleaning solution – and before you even pack your first moving box – think about the allergens and irritants you could potentially be bringing into your new home via your old, worn-out furniture. Your mattress, for example, could be harboring microorganisms, such as dust mites, dead skin cells and bacteria, if it’s older than five years. It’s best to replace your old one rather than risk bringing it with you if it’s unhygienic.
Similarly, take a look at your couch and dining room chairs, especially if they’re fabric-based. Furniture pieces in common rooms get a lot of use, and therefore, trap in a lot of germs. If these pieces are relatively new – under about five years old – and in good shape, they may only need to be refreshed. An oxidizing, odor-eliminating spray, such as Nok-Out, can give stinky pieces new life. However, as with your mattress, fabric furniture has a finite life span, so rather than bring them and their germs into your new digs, consider replacing them. After all, this is your fresh start – keep it that way!
Dust High and Low
From baseboards to ceiling fans, no surface in your new home should go untouched. Remember to start high and move down as you go; otherwise, you’ll knock dust onto freshly-cleaned surfaces.
As you clean your new home, be mindful of ventilation. You’ll be stirring up a lot of dust and debris and spraying cleaning solutions, which can irritate your respiratory system. Turn on fans and open windows to maintain air quality as you clean, and choose non-toxic cleaners whenever possible. If you want to be an overachiever, opt for adding an air purifier to help remove bacteria and other pollutants from the air.
Deep Clean the Kitchen
The kitchen is full of hidden messes. Grease, crumbs and dirt hide inside and under appliances, inside cabinets, and in range hoods and garbage disposals. Open everything and clean with a degreasing cleaner; you can make your own non-toxic solvent using this recipe from “The Kitchn”. (see link below)
Descale the Bathroom
Mineral deposits can make a clean bathroom look grimy. Arm yourself with white vinegar, baking soda, salt and a toothbrush for tight spaces to clean the unsightly build-up off faucets, shower doors, and tile. If the build-up is severe, it may be simpler to replace fixtures than clean them.
Clean the Carpets
Unless you’re certain the previous owner cleaned the carpets before moving out, add this task to your to-do list. Even if the carpets look clean, allergens and dust mites are probably lurking within its fibers. If you don’t have one already, now is the perfect time to invest in a high-quality cordless vacuum. These models make for quicker cleanup and are easy to cart around. If you realize your carpets need a deeper clean, use a steam cleaner to get rid of any stains or odors, or better yet, tear the carpeting out and replace it replace it with allergy-friendly hard flooring.
Wash the Windows
Washing windows isn’t anyone’s favorite chore, but it has to be done. Bring a ladder and someone to hold it, and spend a dry, overcast day washing the windows and sweeping dirt from frames and screens.
Clean the Gutters
While you have a ladder, take a look at the gutters. Are they full of leaves and debris? If so, take this time to clean them out; you’ll want rubber gloves and a tarp to contain the mess. Once the gutters are cleaned, install guards to spare yourself this chore in the future.
Replace the Air Filter
A dirty HVAC air filter affects air quality throughout your home. Rather than trust that the last homeowner replaced it before moving, install a new filter yourself. It’s a cheap and easy assurance that you’re breathing cleaner air.
Check the Humidity
Even if your home is spotless, dust mites, mold and mildew can thrive if it’s humid enough. To keep these pollutants at bay and optimize indoor air quality, follow HVAC.com’s recommendation and aim for relative indoor humidity between 35 percent and 50 percent. If you’re out of that range, buy a humidifier or dehumidifier to correct it.
Pausing for a deep clean is the last thing you want to in the middle of a big move. However, you won’t regret spending the time to get your home truly clean before moving in. When you handle these tasks yourself, you can rest assured that your new home is clean, healthy and ready for your family.