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How To Deep Clean Your New House Before You Move In

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You’ve done the hard work of finding a new home. You’ve signed all of the paperwork, and now comes the exciting part: moving in. But not so fast. Before you make yourself at home, make sure to get all of the move-in cleaning done. And not just a cursory clean — a deep clean.

Why is move-in cleaning important? A study from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory found that each home has its own bacterial signature unique to the home, or what was referred to as “a common community of bacteria.”

While all bacteria isn’t harmful, you’re still basically moving into someone else’s germ culture. So, you should make it a point to disinfect before you move in. You can’t know for certain how thorough the previous residents were when they cleaned. So, before you move in, make sure to follow the move-in cleaning steps and moving into a new house cleaning tips below.

Your complete move-in cleaning checklist

Kitchen Bathrooms Floors Walls and Miscellaneous
  • Oven
  • Sink
  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Miscellaneous appliances
  • Any windows
  • Countertop
  • Sink
  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • Cabinets
  • Fixtures: vents, fans, lights
  • Any windows
  • Corners
  • Vacuum all floors
  • Carpet cleaning with a shampooer
  • Mop hard surfaces
  • Optional steam cleaning
  • Water and vinegar work well
  • Wipe down walls with a rag
  • Don’t forget corners
  • Doorknobs
  • Handles
  • Switches

Need to take this info with you? Print out MYMOVE’s New House Cleaning Checklist!

First, gather your supplies:

You’ll need to make sure you have all your supplies so you can load up your car and head to your new home for a deep cleaning day. The supplies you’ll need for new house cleaning are:

Start with your kitchen

Step 1: Remove the racks from the oven.

Wipe down the racks, inside of the oven, and all surfaces of the stove with the multi-surface cleaner and cleaning rags. Use the scrubber sponge for any gunk.

Step 2: Wipe down the sink.

This includes the inside of the sink, the edges, the faucet fixture, and as much of the drain as you can reach.

Step 3: Wipe the cabinet doors, as well as the shelves and sides inside.

Step 4: Do a thorough wipe of all the countertops.

Make sure to get into the corners and any edges of the countertop.

Step 5: Completely wipe down any other appliances.

Make sure to get all surfaces you can reach, such as the inside of the refrigerator and microwave.

Step 6: If there is a window in the kitchen, clean the glass with the window cleaner, and wipe off the sills.

Then, deep clean the bathrooms:

Step 1: Wipe all surfaces down with the multi-surface cleaner.

Make sure to clean the countertops, sink, toilet, shower, and cabinets. Some people like to use a bleach spray cleaner in the bathroom for an extra feeling of clean, which works best on shower and toilet surfaces.

Step 2: Clean the inside of the toilet using the toilet bowl cleaner and toilet brush.

Step 3: Make sure to wipe off any fixtures.

This includes the grating in the fan, vents, and the light fixture, which may require you to remove them. The duster works well here.

Step 4: If the bathroom has a window, clean the glass, and wipe off the sills.

Move on to your floors:

Step 1: Either sweep out or use a vacuum attachment to clean out hard-to-reach corners.

Step 2: Vacuum all the floors.

Remember to use settings for carpeting and hard floors, if your vacuum has them.

Step 3: Get the carpeting professionally cleaned or use a carpet cleaner machine of your own.

To get the cleanest of floors, use a multi-surface floor cleaner and mop on exposed, non-carpeted floors.

Step 4: Consider hiring professional steam cleaning service for your wood or tiles floors, or rent a steam cleaner yourself.

Carefully clean your walls:

Step 1: Prep your cleaning solution.

Combine a half and half solution of water and vinegar. This is safe for wall surfaces.

Step 2: Use the rags to wipe down the walls from top to bottom.

Step 3: Remember to get the corners, so you clean dirt and cobwebs.

Don’t forget doorknobs, handles, and switches:

Step 1: Choose your cleaner.

Since these get touched the most, you might consider a bleach cleaner. If not, use the multi-surface cleaner.

Step 2: Go from room to room.

Start in one room, making a clockwise or counterclockwise pattern around the room as you clean any doorknobs, handles, and switches. That way, you won’t miss anything.

Step 3: Remember to get both sides of the doors while cleaning the handles.

The bottom line

Going slowly and making sure you’re cleaning all surfaces is the key to move-in cleaning. It can be tempting to just rush through. But by hitting all surfaces, you can keep your family safe from whatever germs might have been lurking and get rid of that “other house smell.”

Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to clean a new house?

Before you move in and definitely before you move in all of your furniture. Cleaning a new house before moving in allows you to reach more surfaces easier — before the house is cluttered up with all your possessions.

Can I hire a cleaning service to clean my new house?  

If you don’t have the time, ability, or patience for new house cleaning, by all means, hire a professional cleaning service to take care of it for you.

How much does it cost for a cleaning service to clean my new house?

Cleaning services can vary by experience level, square footage, and location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists house cleaners as making around $9 to $18 per hour.

What if I can’t find disinfectant to clean my house before I move in?

A homemade vinegar and water solution (half and half) works in place of many commercial disinfectants for a deep cleaning house plan.

Originally posted on May 9, 2018. Updated on June 23, 2020.

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