Your new home move-in cleaning chores don’t have to be difficult. I didn’t say it will be quick, but it can definitely be easy.
I bet before you moved into your new home, during the first walkthrough, it seemed very clean and livable. Now that you’ve moved in, you’re starting to notice it still has dust or grime from the previous occupants.
Instead of falling into your normal routine of living, take a weekend or two to really give your home a deep clean to get rid of any past residue leftover from the previous tenants.
Here is a large list of what to clean in your new home after you move in. Keep reading for some quick cleaning tips for each area.
- Kitchen Backsplash
- Kitchen Cabinets & Drawers
- Under/Behind The Stove
- Range Hood & Filters
- Faucets & Faucet Aerators
- Garbage Disposal
- Under/Behind Refrigerator
- Refrigerator Water Filter & Ice Maker
- Ceiling Fans
- Handles & Knobs
- Light Switches
- Window Treatments & Blinds
- Carpets / Floors
- Change Air Filters
- Indoor Light Bulbs & Fixtures
- Fireplace / Chimney
- Pool Filter
- Outdoor Light Bulbs & Fixtures
- Showerheads – Clean or Change
- Everything Else In Your Bathroom
- Dryer Vents
The kitchen is home to most of the grime and gunk that is built up in the home. Although your kitchen may look clean after you move in, it’s most likely not. Here are a few things in your kitchen you must clean after you move in.
A kitchen with clean appliances and countertops may look sparkly new, but have you taken a closer look at the kitchen backsplash? If you have one behind your stove, it’s likely there is still a good amount of grease build-up from the previous tenants or owners. Be sure to look carefully at areas like this in your kitchen and don’t forget to do a deep clean to get your kitchen the sparkly that you really want.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Since kitchen backsplashes are typically made from tile and grout, it’s best to use a safe cleaning solution that doesn’t eat away at the grout. Fill a spray bottle with 1/4-cup baking soda, 2 tbsp. dish soap and 2 cups water. Spray your backsplash, and wipe down the backsplash with a damp cleaning rag. Scrub residue out of grout lines with a wet toothbrush if the rag alone does not clean the grout. The dish soap cuts through grease and food residue, while the baking soda removes odor and boosts cleaning power.
Kitchen Cabinets & Drawers
This is another area that may not have been cleaned to the standards you might require in a new home. Kitchen cabinets and drawers can have crumbs or other kinds of food build-up. Make sure you clean them to your liking after moving into your new home.
Quick Cleaning Tip: After cleaning your cabinets and drawers, buy some liners to line the shelves. Personally, I don’t like to actually stick them down, just size them and place them down. This will keep your cabinet shelves from buildup or moisture that might damage the wood.
You might be thinking that since its a dishwasher, it should be clean. But, have you ever taken a look inside the outflow valve? If not take a look. There could be a lot of gunky, grimy build-up near that valve or sitting on the bottom of the dishwasher. If you’ve just moved in, make sure to clean your dishwasher by scrubbing and wiping down the entire inside and getting rid of any debris build-up.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Start by removing the bottom dishwasher rack and use a cloth to clean out the filter and outflow valves of debris or gunk build up. Replace the bottom rack and place a cup full of vinegar on the rack somewhere. Then in a smaller dish, put ¼ cup of baking soda on the top rack. Run the dishwasher cycle on hot. Since the vinegar is a natural antibacterial liquid, it will break up buildup while cleaning. Baking soda helps bust up hard water collections and works together with the vinegar to superclean the inside of your dishwasher. After it runs the dry cycle, wipe everything down with a soft sponge or towel. Cleaning with vinegar is great way to keep from using harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the planet.
Under The Stove
It’s very likely, no matter how many people have previously lived in your home, that the stove hasn’t been pulled back and clean underneath for some time. With so much food being cooked in that area, under the stove is sometimes the most filthy place in your home and you wouldn’t even know it.
Quick Cleaning Tip: If you want to deep clean behind and underneath the stove, you’ll have to pull it away from the wall. To pull it away from the wall, first place some moving disks, towels, or a doormat underneath feet of the stove to keep it from scratching the floors. If when you pull it out it only goes a certain distance (a few inches) it may have an anti-tilt mechanism. If so, just lift up the front end and continue to pull (See video on how to pull oven away from wall). But, be careful you don’t pull it too far that it causes damage to the gas line. As soon as you see the gas line, turn the valve off to be safe when cleaning the area. (Other home safety tips) You shouldn’t have to disconnect the gas line completely, just turn it off. You should be able to have enough room to pull it out far enough to clean the area. Once the stove is out far enough, you can go to town with sweeping, degreasing and cleaning the area.
Range Hood & Filters
Without you even knowing it, there could be a huge build-up of grease on your range hood or in the filters. You may not even know they had filters. As part of any deep clean, cleaning your range hood and filters is a must.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Start by finding and removing the filters. Soak the filters in a degreaser solution in the sink (see video on how to clean oven filters). Use a degreaser spray and a cloth to wipe down the range hood and the entire area. After all is clean, if you have stainless steel, finish it off with some stainless steel cleaner for a sparkling finish.
If you’ve just moved in, more often than not the oven would be cleaned by the previous tenants. But, sometimes it’s just had a quick clean and not fully clean to your standards.
Faucets & Faucet Aerators
The tips of your faucets and their screens can be very dirty. And that’s where all your water is touching before you use it. Make sure you clean the tips of your faucets before you start to use everything.
Quick Cleaning Tip: To clean the tips of the bathroom and kitchen faucets, use a bag filled with vinegar and a rubber band and attach it to the sink faucet. Let the faucet head soak for a few hours. Here’s a video on how to clean the faucet aerators.
It’s more likely than not that the previous tenants did not clean out the garbage disposal. This is another area that will have hidden grime that most buyers don’t care to look at. But, since its a new home to you, you probably want to clean out the garbage disposal before you start living in the home. It only takes a few minutes.
Quick Cleaning Tip: First, put a few cups of ice into the disposal and run it. This will loosen any built-up debris. Turn it off, then pour 1/2 cup of baking into the garbage disposal. Then pour about a cup of vinegar and quickly close the lid with a sink stopper. The mixture will fizz up and clean off grime and build up. Let it sit for 10 minutes. With the sink stopper in place, fill the sink with hot water. Release the sink stopper then turn on the garbage disposal to clear everything out.
This one is more for renters since the place you’re renting might already have a refrigerator. If you’ve rented a new apartment or home that came with a refrigerator, it’s very likely the previous tenants or property management company didn’t pull the refrigerator back to clean underneath.
Also, when you pull your refrigerator back, be sure to clean the cooling coils. The cooling coils get a good amount of dust build-up should be cleaned at least once a year. Cleaning these coils also will help your refrigerator run more efficiently and save you money on the electricity bill.
How To: Here is a video on How to pull out your refrigerator and clean the area.
Replace Refrigerator Water Filter & Ice Maker
This is a very common thing that most people forget to clean or replace when they move in. The filter is recommended to be changed every six months to a year. The less you use it, the longer it can go. Again, consider stocking up on a few of these by buying them online. You can easily find replacement filters by just searching for your refrigerator’s model online.
The ice maker is an easy clean. Simply pull out the ice tray and clean the bucket along with the spout.
Living Room & Common Areas
The living room is pretty much what gives your entire home that “clean feel” Although when you first move in, your living room might seem clean, take a second look. Look at these areas below and see if they need that extra cleaning.
If you’ve ever lived in a home with a ceiling fan, you already know how much dust and dirt it can accumulate. The ceiling fan is one of the easiest items for dust to hide on because they’re high up and out of sight. When you first move into a new home, don’t forget to clean all the ceiling fans, otherwise, you’ll be breathing in other people’s dust every time you turn it on.
Quick Cleaning Tip: One of the best ways to clean a ceiling fan without any special tools is with a pillowcase. Slip the pillowcase over each fan blade and wipe down to keep the dust contained inside the pillowcase and not flying everywhere. You can also use a special ceiling fan dusting tool. But, be sure to wet it a bit with some dusting spray so it clumps together and you don’t breathe in dust when you clean.
Handles & Knobs
Some of the most filthy items in your homes are door handles and the kitchen cabinet knobs/handles.
Quick Cleaning Tip: The best thing to use for these is the clorox wipes that you can go around quickly and wipe away the germs and grim from the last tenants or owners. If you decide to use the wipes, make sure whatever you’re cleaning doesn’t get damaged from the chemicals used to kill the germs.
Cleaning the light switches are very commonly forgotten when folks move into a new home. Because people touch light switches often, they are filled with germs and bacteria.
Quick Cleaning Tip: The best way to clean and quickly disinfect basic light switches is with disinfecting wet wipes. In less than a few minutes you can go through your entire home to clean these and prevent the spread of germs and sickness.
Window Treatments / Blinds
I’m sure the previous tenants or property management company did a quick clean on your window treatments. But, a quick clean may not exactly be what you want after moving into a new home. Make sure to look at your blinds and window treatments and give then a deep clean after you move into your new home.
Quick Cleaning Tip: For blinds, there’s no better way to get the clean you want then going slat by slat with a wet rag and a bucket of mild soap solution and just getting the job done. Use one moist rag to clean and a dry one to dry. Sure you can use those blind cleaners, but those never get that deep clean you need.
Carpet / Floors
This one is somewhat obvious, but there’s a difference between cleaning your floors and DEEP cleaning your floors. If you have carpets, you’ll likely want to get them replaced altogether if you bought your home. But if you’re renting, you may want to rent a carpet cleaner and do another scrub.
Quick Cleaning Tip: All floors require different methods of cleaning, so make sure that you know what kind of floors you have and what you can use and what you can’t use to clean them. The simplest thing to do is simply Google search “How to safely clean bamboo floors” or whatever flooring you have.
Change Air Filters
This is one of the most important things to replace in your home after you move in. Clean air filters help prevent dust in the air when your air conditioning is on. You’ll need to replace these every 3-6 months and sometimes sooner if you have pets or a lot of people living in your home.
Quick Tip: Find out what kind of air filters you need and stock up on them. You’ll need to replace these regularly so buying a lot of them at once will save you a trip to the store. You may even consider buying them on Amazon or online where you can get a lot of them for a bit cheaper.
There’s a big difference to how clean your home looks with clean baseboards vs. dirty ones. Since baseboards are usually white, it’s very easy for them to get dirty, especially if the previous tenants had pets or children. Make sure to clean your baseboards for a super clean home feel and consider a fresh coat of paint too.
Quick Cleaning Tip: There’s no fun to cleaning baseboards. Since you’ll be on your hands and knees, bring a small pillow or throw blanket to rest your knees on if you have hard floors. If you have to paint, consider painting, it makes a big difference!
These are probably the toughest areas to clean since you’ll need to be standing on a ladder for a good amount of time
Quick Cleaning Tip: “To clean a chandelier with the glass or crystal on, prepare a cleaning solution of one part isopropyl alcohol to four parts distilled water in a spray bottle. Spray a small amount of the solution on a white cotton glove or lint-free cloth. Wipe the crystal or glass with the damp cloth, and then dry it immediately with another glove or cloth. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging any of the hanging glass or ornaments. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners; ammonia can take the finish off the gold or silver finish metal hooks that hold the crystal elements in place.” – Lamps Plus’s – How To Clean A Chandelier
Indoor Light Bulbs & Fixtures
The light bulbs and fixtures are other areas of the home the previous tenants likely forgot to clean before they moved out. If you’ll be switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs, no need to wipe them down, but since you’re already there, make sure to give a good wipe down of the fixtures.
Quick Cleaning Tip: The best and safest way to clean light bulbs is by first turning off the light and letting them cool down. Use a dry cloth if the light bulbs are only dusty. If it’s really dirty, remove the lightbulb from the fixture and wipe with a moist cloth. Be sure it’s completely dry before putting it back into the fixture.
The insides of your windows may already be clean, but have you considered taking a look outside and seen how dirty they might be? Dirt and debris will build up outside your windows fairly quickly. If you have screens, it’s likely the screens haven’t been removed and the windows clean.
Quick Cleaning Tip: For the outside windows, start by closing the windows and hosing them down. Then with a bucket of water and some dish soap use a large sponge or microfiber cloth to scrub away any stuck-on dirt or debris. Rinse again with the hose and finish with a large squeegee to wipe away the water. More on cleaning your home’s windows.
Fireplace / Chimney
This is more common for homes with wood-burning fireplaces. But again, the fireplace and chimney isn’t really something you notice whether it’s clean or not.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Chimneys require a good amount of tools and know-how to safely and properly handle the job. It’s best to hire a chimney and fireplace cleaning company to come out and do a professional job. This may cost anywhere from $150-$350 but it will be worth not having to go through the hassle.
This might be the last thing on the list of things to clean, but it’s definitely still important. If you ever thought of “curb appeal”, having a clean exterior is important to potential buyers in the future. Check out these items outside of the home that may need cleaning after moving in.
Gutters are another place the previous tenants or owners don’t specifically need to do since full gutters aren’t necessarily visible to anyone who is considering buying or renting the home. Cleaning your outside gutters is very important, especially during the fall when leaves begin to accumulate. Depending on how many trees are around will determine how often you’ll need to clean your gutters.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Clean your gutters when the contents are dry. It makes it much easier to clean. Also, when cleaning your gutters always clean from the ladder and not from on top of the roof. When on the ladder go only as far up at the top of the ladder is in line with your waist. Any farther up can be dangerous since cleaning gutters requires you to be reaching.
If you’re moving into a home with a pool, it’s likely you’ll need to hire a pool cleaning service to keep your pool clean. The pool filter is another place in your home that probably needs cleaning out if the previous tenants didn’t have a pool service. If you do have a pool service, there’s likely nothing you have to do, but you may want to ask the service professional for a fresh start by cleaning the filter.
Quick Cleaning Tip: The best way to know how to clean your certain filter is simply by searching the internet for your model type and how to clean it. Also, here’s a great article on how to clean every type of pool filter.
Outdoor Light Fixtures
Outdoor light fixtures can have built-up dirt, spider webs, and other outdoor debris. Clean fixtures can increase the light output, helping you see outside at night.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Wipe down your fixtures with a damp cloth and some light cleaning solution. If you can, take the fixtures off and clean them separate from the bulb area. This will allow you to get a real deep clean of the fixture without possible damage to the light bulb. For glass, use a glass cleaner after doing a basic cleaning to get a sparkly shine.
Bathrooms & Laundry Room
These are the smaller rooms in your home, but still no less important than the others. Your bathrooms need a whole other level of cleaning than the rest of your home. Check out these areas in your bathrooms and laundry rooms you’ll need to clean after moving in.
Showerheads / Clean or Change
When it comes to the showerheads in your bathroom, you can choose to either clean them or replace them altogether. If you decide that replacing them isn’t necessary but you want to clean them, then go for it!
Quick Cleaning Tips: Cleaning your showerheads are quite simple. If they have rubber tips where the water flows out, you can use your finger or a toothbrush to dislodge mineral build-up. You can also place the entire shower head in a bag full of vinegar and securing it around the showerhead with a rubber band. Leave it for a few hours and then run the water to clear away the scum. If all that is too much, you can always remove it and stick it in the dishwasher.
Everything Else In Your Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the most important places to deep clean. So no matter what it is in the bathroom, just clean it. Clean the toilet, sink, floor, medicine cabinet, shower, bathtub, etc. If it’s in the bathroom, it needs to be cleaned and possibly bleached. You may also want to consider getting a new toilet seat. You’ll be surprised when removing the old one how much gross gunk gets caught in the small mechanisms.
The hose or vent that leads from your dryer to outside may not have been cleaned in years. In fact, not cleaning out the dryer vents can lead to a house fire. Make sure that before you start to use your dryer too much to take a look and assess your situation with the dryer vent. Make sure the outside dryer vent hood (the one that looks like a little cage) is clean and clear of lint.
Quick Cleaning Tip: Here is a great video from Ace Hardware on how to clean your dryer vents.
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