The biggest part of making a new house your home is getting rid of all the stuff the previous owners left behind. No, we don’t mean furniture, clothes, or trash. We are talking about the other stuff -- allergens, pollutants, dirt, and grime. Here are some fairly simple steps you can take to ensure your new home is clean and fresh on day one.
Start by Cleaning What’s Usually Neglected
You can expect your new home’s previous owners to at least sweep the floors and wipe off the counters. But anything more? Probably not. Your very first task is to tackle a deep clean on oft-neglected areas. Moving.com suggests cleaning up high first (ceiling fans, ceiling corners, top of kitchen cabinets, etc.) These areas harbor tons of dust and rarely get cleaned, and it’s smarter to do this before you clean lower (just think about it).
From there, move on to appliances. When was the last time you truly deep-cleaned your oven, dishwasher, or fridge? Not too recently, right? Well, neither has the previous owner. Not only is a dirty fridge gross, but dusty buildup on the mechanics can be a fire hazard.
If the job is too large or just too stressful, it may be worth hiring a professional. That’s how important a move-in deep-clean really is.
Give Carpets Extra Focus
Allergens and pollutants can lurk anywhere in a home, but carpet is especially good at capturing things that make you sick -- especially if the previous owner had pets. Buying a quality vacuum cleaner that’s versatile enough for carpets and hardwood floors can help you remove a good amount of the pet hair and dander that may remain after the previous owner. Part of your move-in cleaning checklist should also include spot cleaning and vacuuming any stains. You may want to de-flea your carpets too, just in case (there are special powders as well as natural remedies to help with this task).
Step Up Your Air-Filtering Game
In terms of your health, nothing is more important than the air that you breathe. Not only can homes contain allergens like pollen, mold, mildew, dust, mites, and insect parts, but the air can also contain particulate matter in the form of sulphates, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, and mineral dust -- most from combustion processes in your home. In order to protect your family, it’s smart to step up your air filtering game -- even before you move in.
The most basic solution is to replace your HVAC air filters immediately when moving in and regularly (every three months) thereafter. Buy in bulk so you can replace them on schedule without a lot of hassle. You should also look into a supplementary air filtration system for extra protection, as well as special air purifiers meant to handle odors and gases.
Paint Dingy Walls
Cosmetically, nothing goes further than a fresh coat of paint. You can do all of the aforementioned work to clean and freshen your new home, but if the walls are grimy and beyond repair, it’s all for naught. Repaint your home to you liking and consider using a professional service. While actual cleanliness is the most important thing, the importance of the mere appearance of cleanliness should not be overlooked.
One final tip: Don’t bring things into your new home that may be covered in allergens. What’s the point of deep cleaning and filtering the air quality if you’re going to replace what you’ve removed with new grime? Part of your move-in cleaning must involve a thorough cleaning of your own furniture, bedding, upholstery, blankets, clothing, and rugs. Don’t forget this final step!