You’ve found the house, won the bid, signed the papers, and paid the dues -- it’s now yours; but it is riddled with messes, stains, odd wonders, and other touches that have no relation to you. It’s time to make this house your home, and it starts with cleaning.
Image source: Getty Images Pro via Canva. com
Your simple, yet essential, home cleaning supplies list:
- Abrasive scrub pads
- Cheap toilet brushes (definitely throw these out after using)
- Rubber gloves
- Spray bottles
- All purpose cleaner
- White distilled vinegar
- Bathroom cleaner
- Toilet paper (because you’re going to need to go while you clean)
- Garbage bags
- Vacuum and/or mop
- Carpet cleaner (rentable from most major hardware stores)
This initial cleaning job isn’t the most environmentally-friendly, as it’s advised to throw out the toilet brushes after this one cleaning, as well as some of the heavy-soiled rags. But hey, it gets the dirty job done.
Where to start house cleaning
If you think it’s clean, it’s probably not; and things you’ve never cleaned before, you’ll want to clean now more than ever.
If you don’t have early access to your new home, find a designated area to be the space for all of your boxes. This way, you can clean the rest of your home without boxes or furniture being in the way. Unpack any essentials (toiletries, bedding, changes of clothes, etc.), so you can access them easily while you’re living and simultaneously working there. Afterward, plan on doing a deep clean of this space after you clean the rest of the house and clear out your designated room of all of your boxes.
Dusting your home
A great first step with cleaning is dusting. Dusting is a first step because any dust that goes into the air and settles elsewhere will be picked up in later steps. Don’t leave any ledge or crevice undusted. Aim to dust all of these main spaces:
- Ledges, window sills and trim, baseboards
- Light fixtures: fans, shades, chandeliers
- Hard-to-reach spaces, such as cathedral ceilings and deep corners
Microfiber is the best cloth to dust with, as it will capture and hold onto all dust and dirt. Another alternative is single-use items, such as Swiffer dusters.
For air ducts and returns, vacuum brush attachments work well to rid all edges and crevices of dust and build up. This is especially important for efficiency of your HVAC system, as well as decreasing the amount of air pollutants inside your home.
Image source: Tylim. n.d. Getty Images Pro via Canva. com
A great dusting hack for ceiling fans is to use a pillowcase. Simply put the pillow case around each blade one at a time and pull the pillowcase toward you. This will pull all buildup off of the fan blade and drop it inside of the pillowcase. When done, turn it inside out and shake it outdoors or into a garbage can before throwing it into your washing machine.
Kitchen cleaning tips
Before you stack your plates and glasses into your new kitchen, remind yourself that the former owners very likely did not clean out the cabinets thoroughly. Alternatively, if it’s a new build, there’s bound to be remnants of construction dust and debris.
Depending on the level of debris or grime, you can use a vacuum attachment to clear out all crumbs and dust. Afterward, use a gentle cleanser and soft rag to clean the cabinets. This is when the white vinegar comes in handy! Dilute with warm water and use on the cabinets with a soft rag and a soft toothbrush for creases and corners. Never soak the cabinets and avoid all metal hardware and hinges from getting soaked as much as possible. Be sure to dry the cabinets with a clean, dry towel afterward; and it’s best to leave all cabinet doors and drawers open to air out and fully dry out after you clean them.
Other kitchen uses for white vinegar include using on countertops, as a rinse aid in the dishwasher, as well as doing a short dishwashing cycle with a cup of white vinegar inside to help break down and clear out any soap scum and lime buildup. Your diluted white vinegar mixture is also great for cleaning the inside of your fridge and freezer, as well as your kitchen floor, whether it’s tile, linoleum, or hardwood.
Steps for cleaning your home bathroom
Bring in your armload of single-use cleaners, rags, and brushes because THIS is when you’ll really want to use them. Just like the kitchen and the dishwasher, using warm water to dilute white vinegar is a great cleaner that’s gentle on surfaces yet tough on soap scum, lime and other buildup. Use this confidently on any surface in your bathroom.
Other great cleaners that can break through build up are gel-based toilet bowl cleaners. Use this with the toilet brush that you intend to discard after cleaning your bathroom(s) for the first time. Be sure to get under the toilet seats, around the base of the toilet, and the toilet tank.
Repeat this approach with your bathroom cleaner of choice or the vinegar cleaner for the sink, counters, showers and tubs. Don’t forget to clean the inside of the vanity and any medicine cabinets or shelving, as well.
Getting peace of mind for clean home carpets
It doesn’t matter who you are or your level of cleanliness, carpets get dirty, and there’s no stopping that. You can, however, be diligent about vacuuming them and the routine of carpet cleaning. It’s recommended to do this at least once a year (spring cleaning!), but for households with high traffic, pets, and/or children, it’s advised to do this more often and as needed.
Start by renting a carpet cleaner, if you don’t already own one, from your local hardware store. Most rent these out by the hour or by the day. If you are a household with pets or children, you may want to invest in one to keep on hand for any stains, spills, spots, and for your routine cleaning.
Image source: Oxford, Bill. n.d. Canva.com
Use your chosen cleaner as directed on all carpeted areas, including area rugs. Repeat as needed to lift and remove dirt. If possible, open windows and doors of these areas for a decreased drying time. For tough stains, try a designated carpet stain remover for on-the-spot treatment before doing the full carpet cleaning. Other methods that work well are free and clear powder laundry detergents mixed with warm water. You can also sprinkle baking soda dry on top of carpets before cleaning to help lift odors and dirt from the carpet fibers.
Most frequently forgotten home cleaning steps
Things that tend to be forgotten?
- Hard to reach places, like cathedral ceiling ledges, high beams, fans and chandeliers.
- Interiors of cabinets and closets.
- Carpets and rugs.
- Tracks for sliding doors and windows
- Exterior of windows
- Doorknobs and handles
House cleaners to keep stocked
Here’s a list of household cleaners that you’ll want to keep on hand:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Scrub pads and toothbrushes
- Rags of all textures and sizes
- Free & Clear powder laundry detergent
- Castile soap for multipurpose
Image source: Dolmatov, Vasyl. n.d. Canva.com