The New Home Build Cleaning Checklist
We generally think of new homes as spic and span since no one’s had a chance to dirty them up by living in them yet. However, a house isn’t necessarily clean just because it’s newly built. The construction process creates more dirt and debris than you’d think—along with plenty of construction dust that you’ll need to remove before moving in or selling.
So, what do you need to clean before a new house is move-in ready? We’re glad you asked, and we’ve got the answers! Our experienced team has years of experience cleaning new houses and commercial properties in Western Canada, and we’re here to show you precisely what needs to happen to make your new house habitable.
13 Steps to Cleaning a New Home Build
Yes, you read that right—we recommend following at least 13 steps to ensure that your newly built home is clean enough for occupants. If that sounds like too much effort, you might want to consider calling in professional cleaners who have the time to complete each step thoroughly (after all, it’s our full-time job!).
For those of you willing to get your hands dirty, though, here’s what we recommend doing:
Wipe Down the Ceilings
We usually think of dust as something that settles on top of surfaces after being kicked up (since it’s heavier than air). However, dust that rises into the air during more vigorous activities—such as construction—can stick to the ceiling instead, making it dirty and aesthetically displeasing. Use a damp sponge and a stepladder to wipe down your ceilings and remove any construction dust that has accumulated on them.
Wipe & Dust Any Hanging Fixtures
Dust kicked up by construction doesn’t just stick to the ceiling—it can settle on your light fixtures and fan-blades as well. The last thing you want is to shower your freshly-cleaned house with grime the first time you run the ceiling fan, so make sure to give these areas a once-over before you put that stepladder away.
Take Labels Off Windows
Nobody wants to feel like they’re living in a showhome, so you’ll want to remove any price tags or manufacturer’s labels from your new windows before people move in. Soap and water can be an effective way to weaken the adhesive on labels, so they don’t leave behind scraps of sticky paper when you peel them off.
Wash the Windows
Use the following method to clean the exterior of your windows:
- Rinse the surface of each window down with a hose
- Add a few drops of dish detergent to a bucket of cool and clean water and gently rub the solution over your windows in circular motions using a microfibre cloth
- Rinse off your windows again
- Spray on a commercial cleaner and use a squeegee to buff each window to perfection
When cleaning windows from the inside, forgo the hose and squeegee. Instead, use this method:
- Place a towel underneath the window to catch any spilled liquid
- Add a few drops of dish detergent to a bucket of clean water and use a microfibre cloth to rub it over the windows from top to bottom
- Spray the window with a commercial glass cleaner and use a clean towel to buff the surface using z-shaped movements
Vacuum Window Tracks
A lot of leftover construction dust can settle into window tracks, so you’ll want to pay special attention to these easy-to-miss areas. Clean your windows thoroughly before addressing the window tracks since dirt and grime from the surface can slide into these grooves during window cleaning. For best results, clean tracks using a vacuum equipped with a narrow nozzle and a brush attachment.
Vacuum Cupboards & Drawers
Building cabinets can produce a lot of wood splinters. Sweep the insides of your cupboards and drawers out thoroughly to catch large debris, then go over them again with a brush-equipped vacuum to collect smaller particles. For good measure, consider wiping down the insides with a wood cleaner afterward.
Wipe Down Counters & Other Surfaces
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Counters, landings, and other flat surfaces are the most obvious places where dust settles, and anything low enough to be stepped-on might also have dirt on it from the construction process. Use a dusting cloth first, then follow-up with an all-purpose cleaner and a rag.
Clean Your Kitchen & Bathroom
Installing plumbing fixtures can produce a surprising amount of debris, so pay close attention to these areas. Also, try to use area-specific cleaners for these rooms instead of all-purpose products. All-purpose cleaners can leave streaks on bathroom mirrors and may not be safe for kitchen counters since some don’t contain disinfectants.
Vacuum Your Ducts
When dust settles inside your cooling and heating ducts, it negatively impacts the air quality in your home. Use a vacuum with a narrow nozzle attachment to suck construction dust out of these areas before running your HVAC system for the first time.
Clean the Carpets
Many people suggest vacuuming the carpets of a newly built home—but we don’t think that’s always enough. Consider shampooing your carpets to rid them of any dirt tracked in by the construction crew and to remove dust produced during the build.
Thresholds take more abuse than practically any other part of your home—after all, they’re the first thing people step on when coming in from outside. Even the thresholds in brand-new houses usually get stomped all over by the construction crew and their muddy steel-toed boots before the new owners ever set foot in the place.
Cleaning a threshold can also be complicated since the pressure applied when a person stands on these relatively small surfaces can grind dirt past any protective layers of varnish and deep into the material itself. You can use sandpaper and heavy-duty floor cleaner to tackle these areas (or just call for professional help).
Sweep & Mop Floors
One of the last things you’ll want to do before letting people into your new home is sweep and mop all the floors. Pay extra attention to high-traffic areas, and plan your route through the house before starting so you don’t mop yourself into a corner!
Sweep & Vacuum the Garage
Finally, make sure you give some love to your garage before you kick back and relax. Since these areas often have unfinished walls and ceiling beams, they’re prime spots for wood splinters and carpentry dust. Give the floor a once-over with a good old-fashioned broom first, then use a vacuum to pick up any particles left behind.
New Homes Should Be Clean Homes
Nobody wants to move into a new house to find muddy boot prints, leftover splinters, and layers of construction dust. Taking the time to clean your newly built home will make it safer and more pleasant to live in—whether you plan to move in yourself or sell it to someone else.
Cleaning a new house yourself might seem like the most cost-effective option, but remember: you’ll have to purchase numerous different cleaners and tools to do the job correctly. Larger homes can take hours to clean, especially if you’re doing most or all of the work by yourself. Your time is also valuable, so consider entrusting the work to professionals who already have the means and supplies to perform these tasks properly.
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