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Ready Your New Home with a Thorough Cleaning Before Move-In

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, full of fresh starts and new beginnings. Whether you're buying or renting a home, unless you're moving into brand-new construction, you'll probably inherit some remnants left behind by the prior occupants. Here are some important things to do before moving into your new home to ensure it's sparkling clean and ready for you.

Woman cleaning her microwave.

Remove dust from the overhead fixtures.

If you've ever looked at the top of a ceiling fan blade, you know how much dust can collect. Likewise, for wall-mount or hanging light fixtures. To prevent dust from raining down on your furniture and floors, clean the up-high fixtures first. Use a vacuum attachment, wet paper towels or even an old pillowcase you can slide over the fan blades to catch the dust.

Deep clean the kitchen.

You want the heart of your home to be grime- and germ-free before you start preparing and cooking meals. Do the following:

  • Wipe out the cupboards and drawers. Consider putting down fresh shelf liner if you have time.
  • Sanitize the refrigerator by removing the shelves and drawers and soaking them in soap and hot water. Meat and vegetable drawers can be breeding grounds for all kinds of molds and bacteria. Scrub down the interior surfaces with a clean sponge and a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Do the same with the freezer.
  • Give the microwave, stove top and oven a good scrubbing.
  • Use an antibacterial cleaner on all appliance handles, drawer pulls, faucets and light switches.

Disinfect the bathroom.

Germ-proof all the bathroom surfaces, including the tub, shower, sink and counters, with an antibacterial product. For maximum peace of mind, replace the toilet seats. It's a small expense that's worth the effort.

Tackle the windows.

If you have blinds, use a microfiber duster on the slats. Curtains and drapes can be put in the dryer on "air only" for about 15 minutes for a quick freshening. To clean the window glass, use a top-rated commercial cleaner, or make your own with water, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Microfiber glass cloths are a better choice for wiping than most paper towels.

Clean the carpets.

If your new home's carpets are worn, stained or previously had pet traffic, rent a steam cleaner from a local grocery or hardware store. This will help to remove dirt lodged deep in the carpet fibers. Do a thorough vacuuming first, and then follow the operating instructions on the machine. You might want to hire a professional carpet cleaning company to do the job for you if the condition is especially bad or you don't have the time to do it yourself.

Check the chimney.

If there's a wood-burning fireplace in your new home, you'll want to determine how recently the chimney was cleaned. An annual cleaning and inspection are important to prevent fires and to make sure the chimney is in good condition. Nests from birds and other small animals can clog your chimney, and dramatic changes in weather patterns can also cause damage. It's best to rely on a certified chimney sweep company to handle this important job.

Get rid of unwanted pests.

If you're renting or if your home-purchase inspection did not include a pest inspection, you'll want to examine the property for evidence of mice, termites, roaches or fleas. It's important to deal with this immediately to prevent a larger infestation. Store-bought pesticides and traps can resolve many smaller problems, such as ants in the kitchen or the occasional mouse. But if you have frequent insect sightings or regularly find rodent droppings on your floors and counters, it's time to hire an exterminator.

A reputable pest control company will spray indoors and outside your home after determining where the pests are entering. Depending on the situation, and the wishes of your landlord if you're renting, the professional exterminator might even come regularly to protect your residence from common household pests.

Remember to check with your insurance agent before your move day to confirm that your homeowners or renters policy provides adequate coverage for your new digs.

Family in the kitchen.

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