New Home? Here’s How to Remove What Others Left Behind

New Home? Here’s How to Remove What Others Left Behind

If you’re getting ready to relocate to a new home or apartment, you want it to be like-new upon arrival. But unless you’re the first occupant, chances are “like new” will be more along the lines of “slightly used and hastily vacated.” This can be a problem if you have allergies, especially if you don’t know who (or what) else lived under your new roof before you signed the paperwork.

Here are a few quick tips on how to clean your new space before you put your furniture in place.

Consider going pro

Landlords are required to clean apartments between tenants, but their version of clean can be a loose definition. While homeowners aren’t required to provide a cleaning unless it’s in the contract, it’s sort of an unspoken agreement the home will be cleaned after they move out. To be sure your new place is spick and span, consider investing in a cleaning service before you move in. Cleaning services aren’t just for the wealthy, and quality service can help you make your new home or apartment your own from day one. For pricing purposes, note the average national cost for cleaning services is anywhere from $116 to $235 depending on the size of your space. When shopping around for service, be sure to request they use natural, non-scented cleaners, as regular cleaning supplies can add to the toxic chemicals in the air. Of course, hiring a service isn’t going to be in everyone’s budget. In which case it pays to have a plan for how to approach every nook and cranny.

Address allergens

Perhaps the previous occupant had a cat, dog, or other allergy-inducing pet, or maybe they smoked indoors. The point is you don’t really know what’s been left lingering in the carpets, curtains, and air. It’s worth it to hire someone to clean the carpets, but don’t forget the hard surfaces, which can also hold onto dust and dander. Bed, Bath, and Beyond notes that crown molding, overhead light fixtures, and ceiling fan blades are notorious for staying dirty. A supply of microfiber cleaning cloths can help you trap debris before you breathe it in. If you’ve rented a furnished home or apartment, you can use baking soda on the sofa to eliminate odors from cigarette smoke on the sofa and bedding.

Battle bathroom blahs

The bathroom will also need a good once-over and this is one room where bleach is your best friend. Open a window and get to work scouring everything from the floor to the shower door. Clorox offers tips on how to clean mold from bathroom surfaces. This is important since, when cleaned incorrectly, mold can regrow quickly, which can have a negative effect on your health, especially if you’re allergic or have asthma. Keep in mind that bleach does not actually kill mold, but you can use citric acid or vinegar before bleach cleaning. Bleach will sanitize the area and help slow regrowth.

Clean the kitchen

Empty the fridge, disinfect the dishwasher, and air out the cabinets. The kitchen is not somewhere you want to half-heartedly clean up. Start high, cleaning the top of the refrigerator, the inside and outside of cabinets, and the exhaust fan of the stove. Wipe down the counters and then sweep and mop the floor. If there is tile, you can make it look new again by scrubbing the grout with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Ongoing maintenance

It’s not enough to clean the house just once. If you want to continue enjoying an allergen-reduced environment, you’ll have to take steps to keep it that way. Febreze suggests adding a dust cover to bedding and setting aside one day each week specifically for cleaning and vacuuming. Don’t forget to change your HVAC or furnace filter, and repeat this process every month.

When you move, there are always unknowns to deal with. But the cleanliness of your new dwelling shouldn’t be one of them. Take the time to clean it right by paying attention to the air, hard surfaces, and anywhere that might harbor odors and allergens. It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking, but it’s a step in the moving process that will make the transition that much easier.

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