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What to Clean Before You Move In

Your dream home sure looked spotless during the open house. But gird yourself: No matter how clean the place seemed, it’s likely there are some dirty surprises in store for move-in day.

 

Sanitizing the bathtub’s a good place to start (you bought someone else’s house, not their bath grime!), but don’t stop there. Before you unpack, buy some rubber gloves, stock up on your favorite cleaners, replace your vacuum’s HEPA filter and hunt down these not-always-obvious dirt hotspots that old homeowners often leave behind.

 

Heads up!
Step into the dining room and inspect the chandelier. If you find spider webs or dust, use a cleaning system that includes a soft microfiber cloth on an extendable, bendable handle to wipe that mess into submission.

 

The crown molding throughout the house may be gorgeous, but you should check to see whether dead bugs and dust lurk between the wall and the molding itself. A microfiber cloth or the nozzle attachment on your vacuum works well here. You’ll need a step ladder, of course.

 

Keep your chin up and check out the ceiling fans; clean the blades before they spin all that dust into the atmosphere. If you’re binge-cleaning at midnight and run out of clean microfiber cloths, remember: An old sock (worn on your hand) or dryer sheets double as dusters.

 

Hmm, what have we here?
Scan the main living areas of the house for unexpected cleaning projects. Did the former residents keep a sofa strategically placed over a huge scuff on the hardwood? Work your magic with cleaners designed to restore specific surfaces.

 

Did pets precede you? Don’t just clean the carpet — de-flea it (ideally before you move in). Wipe down the doors (knobs, too!), paying close attention to the lower half, where pets may have pawed or scratched.

 

The refrigerator vent is probably screaming for some cleaning, too. Don’t skip this one; the dusty buildup is a fire hazard. Vacuum away (bet you’re feeling good about that new HEPA filter now).

 

Inspect the dishwasher. Any gooey gunk in the food filter? Eww. Give it a good white-vinegar rinse, and deodorize the garbage disposal while you’re at it.

 

Appliances (sadly) don’t clean themselves.
You didn’t peek inside the furnace during the inspection, did you? Clean or replace the filter, and if you feel comfortable doing so, clean the fan and blower assembly — or call in a pro: The expense may be offset by your energy savings.

 

Scheduling a professional cleaning for ductwork is a smart move. And now’s the time to replace air filters and clean out dusty water-heater closets.

 

Investigate the laundry area. Sterilize the washing machine (there are cleaner tablets for this job). Then, turn to the dryer and clean out the lint trap and its cavity; wipe it down with a damp cloth before replacing the trap.

 

It may take some elbow grease to get these messes out of your way, but you’ll be glad you did — then, you can entertain fearlessly when you throw your housewarming bash.



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