How to Clean a New Home

Woman cleaning a kitchen counter
RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

Giving your new house a thorough cleaning before you move in your belongings will get you off to a great start. New construction can leave dust and debris in unexpected places while buying an established home will mean that dirt can lurk in many places. In the cleaning process, you might identify some things that need to be repaired or replaced. Even if you're moving to another state or another country, you should always clean before your stuff arrives.

What You Need

Supplies

  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponges
  • Scrubbers
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning rags or microfiber cloths
  • Vacuum
  • Duster
  • Dust mop
  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning products
  • Step ladder

How to Clean the Bathroom

The bathrooms are a good place to start because you are likely to need to use one during the cleaning process.

  1. Start at the Top

    Start at the top and dust the ceiling, corners, vents, fans, and light fixtures.

  2. Window Areas

    Clean the windowsills and window coverings.

  3. Cabinets and Closets

    Wash the inside and outside of the medicine cabinets, linen cabinets, and closets attached to the bathroom.

  4. Bathing Fixtures

    Scrub the shower, tub, and enclosures.

  5. Toilet

    Scrub the toilet, including the outside, back, and handles.

  6. Sink

Wash down the sink, fixtures, and mirrors.

Clean the Kitchen

Once the bathrooms are in order, move on to the kitchen. The kitchen tends to be where icky and sticky things collect, and you'll want to get rid of the former tenant's cooking smells.

  1. Clean From the Top

    Start at the top and dust the ceiling, corners, vents, fans, and light fixtures.

  2. Clean the Walls

    Check for fingerprints around light switches and corners. Liquid stick cleaners from companies such as Tide work well to remove some of the more stubborn stains. Another great solution for sticky spots is to apply a small amount of fabric softener to a sponge then rub it on the area. Whatever has stuck to the wall will disappear.

  3. Clean the Cabinets

    Use a mild cleaner to clean the inside of cabinets, especially if they're painted or lined. If they aren't lined, consider using a liner to ensure that the insides are ready for your dishes.

    Clean the top of cabinets, and cabinet doors. If the surface is wood, use a wood cleaner or a mild soap. For grease stains, use baking soda and water. Make a paste and apply it, letting it sit for a few minutes. Also clean handles and inside drawers.

  4. Clean the Counters

    Counters usually require less work, make sure you clean between cracks using a putty knife to remove any debris. Clean back-splashes with a mild cleaner or baking soda and water.

  5. Clean the Major Appliances

    Follow the detailed instructions below to clean the stove and refrigerator. Clean the microwave and the dishwasher as well.

  6. Scrub the Sink

    Use a chlorine-free bleach to clean the sink by putting some in a spray bottle and adding water to it. Spray the sink well and let it soak for a while. Then rinse thoroughly. Also, bleach the plugs by placing them in a small amount of bleach-water and letting them sit for a few minutes. Rinse well. Sink odors can be removed by mixing baking soda and water, then pouring it down the drain.

  7. Sweep and Mop the Floor

How to Clean the Stove

You may need to use a heavy-duty cleaner for the oven, and may need an appliance cleaner, such as a wax or paste. Baking soda and water work well, too, along with sponges or a heavy-duty cloth.

  1. Remove the Elements, Drip Pans, and Racks

    If your stove has removable elements and drip pans, remove them and set the elements aside. Soak the drip pans and racks in a sink full of hot, soapy water while you clean the rest of the stove.

  2. Clean the Oven

    Take a look inside the oven, and if need be, apply an oven-cleaner. Most take approximately 20 minutes to work. If it is a self-cleaning oven, you can set it to run the cycle.

  3. Clean Under the Hood

    Make sure you clean under the hood and use a grease remover if you find the regular cleaner isn't getting off the tough stuff. Lay down a sheet of brown paper to collect any drips that might fall.

  4. Clean the Top and Front of the Stove

    Clean the top, front panel, and temperature dials.

  5. Clean Under the Stove

    Once you've cleaned the top and front of the stove, remove it from the wall and clean beneath it. If possible, clean the sides.

  6. Clean and the Drip Pans and Racks

    The drip pans and racks have been soaking, so now you can scrub them clean. If you're using a brush, make sure you use a brush that won't scratch the surface. Replace the drip pans and elements.

  7. Replace Drip Pans, Racks, and Elements

How to Clean the Refrigerator

Now, tackle the refrigerator. It's always a good idea to clean it well. Unplug the fridge and let it warm up before cleaning it. It will make it easier to clean. Use a soft cloth as anything harsher will scratch the surface.

  1. Remove and Wash Drawers and Bins

    Take the drawers, bins, and shelves out of the refrigerator and freezer and wash them with hot, soapy water in the sink or bathtub. Set them aside to dry.

  2. Wash Walls and Shelves

    Wash the inside walls and any non-removable shelves.

  3. Clean the Freezer

    Check the freezer. If the fridge has been unplugged, wipe down the inside or clean it thoroughly if it needs it.

  4. Pull the Refrigerator out and Clean All Sides

    Move the fridge out from the wall and clean behind it, then on top and its sides, too. Dust and dirt also gather on handles and along the plastic seal that encases the doors.

  5. Dry and Replace Shelves and Bins

How to Clean the Floors

Use these tips to clean different types of floors and floor coverings.

  1. Clean the Carpets

    If you're moving into a home with carpet, consider hiring a professional cleaner to steam clean them before moving in. If that isn't possible, or the previous occupants claimed they had the carpets cleaned, then your new home probably needs a thorough vacuum. If the previous owners had any pets, you might want to protect against possible fleas, especially if you have pets of your own.

  2. Clean Wood Floors

    For wood floors or faux wood, sweep the floor well, making sure to clean under heating vents and appliances. Use a mild soap to clean its surface; wood soaps, such as Murphy's, work well to remove dirt and give it a polished shine (smells great, too!).

  3. Sweep and Mop Other Floor Types

    For tile, linoleum, stone, and concrete floors, sweep or vacuum to pick up debris. Then mop using the appropriate cleaning solution for the type of floor.

  4. The flooring may need to have a finish added to protect it, as is appropriate for the type of flooring.