Even if your new place looked spotless during the initial visit, it’s likely there are some dirty surprises waiting for you on your move-in day. Ideally, you should always do a thorough clean before you and your stuff arrives. Here’s some areas that require special attention.
Did pets precede you? Don’t just clean the carpet — steam clean it to neutralize allergens and to kill bacteria. A good steam cleaner can also be handy to remove stains from carpet, rugs or to take care of any unwanted pet messes left behind. Don’t forget, your new home will need a thorough vacuum throughout (ideally with an HEPA filter vacuum) to remove pet hair and dust.
The kitchen is where messes and cooking smells generally collect. It's also the place where you and your family will spend a lot of time, so it better be sparkling clean.
THE FRIDGE is a good place to start, as previous resident rarely clean it before they leave. Baking soda and water, along with sponges or a soft microfiber cloth will work well on all surfaces. Remove anything that can be removed and wash separately. We suggest unplugging the fridge if it hasn't been and letting it warm up before cleaning it. It will make it easier to clean and sanitize, especially the freezer. The refrigerator vent is probably screaming for some cleaning, too. Don’t skip this one; the dusty buildup is a fire hazard.
THE STOVE. Next, clean the stove. This is another area where the steam cleaner can come in handy. First, remove all elements. If you're using a brush, make sure you use a brush that won't scratch the surface. Look inside the oven, and if need be, apply an oven-cleaner.
THE DISHWASHER. Inspect it. Any gooey gunk in the food filter? Eww. Give it a good white-vinegar rinse, and deodorize the garbage disposal while you’re at it.
CABINETS AND COUNTERS.With the help of a mild cleaner, scrub the inside and outside of cabinets. Do not forget the top where dust accumulate! Clean door handles and inside drawers. Countertops cracks can be detailed using a steam cleaner to remove any food debris. Back-splashes can be quickly sanitized with a soft degreaser sprayed on the surface and wiped off.
SINK. Now it’s time to scrub the sink using chlorine-free bleach. Spray it generously, let it soak, then rinse thoroughly. Take care of sink odors by using you steam cleaner’s plumbing tool, which shoots superheated steam down the drain to neutralize any smell.
TOILETS. No need to tell you why you should properly sanitize these ones. Spray, wait, then wipe, using your favorite biodegradable household sanitizer. Don’t forget the rubber gloves!
BATHTUB AND SHOWER. Bath and shower grime can be difficult to remove. Mineral accumulation can require the use of harsh chemicals to get rid of, so you better wear rubber gloves for this one. Better do it now then to shower in somebody else’s filth. Use a steam cleaner to clean grout lines in the shower on the bathroom floor tiles.
FLOORS, obviously. Sweep, vacuum and scrub. Move large appliances to reach leftover dust. Use Murphy’s wood cleaner on wood floors and steam clean tile floorings.
Other often forgotten areas
CENTRAL AIR. Nobody fully inspect the furnace during the initial visit. Clean or replace the filter — or call in a pro if other parts need maintenance. The expense may be offset by your energy savings and great improvement in home air quality. While you are at it, verify if the ductwork needs a professional clean.
LAUDRY ROOM. In the laundry room, the washing machine needs to be sterilized (there are cleaner tablets for this job). Then, turn to the dryer and empty out the lint trap (also a fire hazard).
CEILING FANS. Look up and check out the ceiling fans; clean the blades to remove accumulated dust and grease.
WALLS. If you or the previous owners haven’t recently painted or if anybody was smoking in the house, you might have to clean them. For large areas, a bucket of hot, soapy water along with a mop equipped with a thick microfiber pad can work well. Remove fingerprints around light switches, doors and walls using a magic eraser or sponge.
At the end of the day, you do it once, you do it good. While your initial move-in deep cleaning with take some elbow grease, you’ll be happy to be hosting your housewarming party in a new sparklingly clean home.