Post-Renovation Cleaning Checklist

Post-Renovation Cleaning Checklist

Table of Contents

The day has finally come. Your renovations are complete, and you have a gorgeous new kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, or entire home. Now, you can finally relax — right?

Not exactly. That’s because even the most organized renovations make a big mess, and you won’t be able to fully enjoy your newly renovated space until you’ve got the mess all cleaned up. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple matter of tidying up. You’ve got a big job ahead of you — probably a lot bigger than you’re currently thinking it will be — and you need to plan for it. Here’s the good news: We’ve put together a comprehensive post-renovation cleaning checklist that will make your cleanup job a breeze.

Ready to dive in? Check out the cleaning checklist and additional tips below.

Why Make a Cleaning Checklist in the First Place?

Before we get too deep into our post-renovation cleaning, let’s zoom out a little and ask ourselves why we need to make a post-renovation cleaning checklist in the first place. The answer is simple: Checklists keep you organized, and big jobs, such as cleaning up after renovations in your home, require organization.

Without a checklist, you might clean something that will only get dirty again when you complete another part of the job. For example, if you sweep and mop before you wipe down surfaces and dust, you’re probably going to have to sweep and mop again. 

Here’s another example of why you need a cleaning checklist ready before your renovations are complete: If you wait until the day the renovations are done, you may roll up your sleeves to start cleaning only to find that you’re missing a respirator, mop solution, or some other essential cleaning tool.

Before the Renovations Begin, Speak with the Contractor

One more thing before we get into the checklist: You can do something before the renovations are complete to make your post-renovation cleaning checklist a lot more manageable. Bring up cleanliness with the contractor who is doing the job.

It may sound too obvious, but the truth is that contractors want you to be satisfied with their work. If they know going in that the cleanup is already on your mind, they will make more of an effort to keep things clean and tidy as they go. Most contractors already do a relatively good job of this, but every little bit reduces the amount of time you spend cleaning after the renovations are done.

If you’re not using a contractor and are instead going the DIY route, you have the unique opportunity to try to clean up at least a little as you go. 

The DIY Post-Renovation Cleaning Checklist

It’s time to get down and dirty. Here are 10 essential to-dos to put on your post-renovation cleanup checklist.

1. Get the Supplies and Safety Gear

Depending on the type of renovations you did, you may be exposed to paint fumes, sawdust, and various chemicals as you’re completing all the cleaning tasks on this list. That’s why you need to make sure you’ve got respirators and disposable gloves before you get the cleaning party started.

On a similar note, you can’t really get the job done if you don’t have the necessary supplies. So, take some time while the renovations are wrapping up to go out and purchase what you’ll need. Consider the following items:

  • Cleaning sprays
  • Mop fluid
  • A mop
  • A broom
  • A vacuum
  • A duster
  • Rags and cloths
  • Sponges
  • Soap

2. Clear Any Trash or Large Debris

Your first actual cleaning task is simple pickup. Even the tidiest contractors will leave a little bit of debris or trash somewhere near the site of the renovations. So, find it and clear it. You don’t have to get every little bit of debris in this step. Just move the stuff that will be too big to take care of with a broom or vacuum.

3. Hit the Walls and Ceilings

Remember — renovations send dust and debris everywhere in your house. That includes your walls and ceilings. How you approach this step will depend on the type of walls you have and whether you just applied new paint as part of the renovations.

For the ceilings, a simple dusting to remove any dust and cobwebs is usually sufficient, but if you want to go the extra mile, you can use a long vacuum attachment to really take care of any remaining dust.

For the walls, you won’t want to apply any liquid or dampness if you’ve just applied new paint. Once the paint has dried, use a dry rag or dry mop to clear any dust that might have settled. If the paint on the walls has been there for a while, however, you can use a damp cloth to remove dust. 

Wallpaper that has texture can benefit from a solid vacuuming in this step, and if you have non-textured wallpaper, you’re usually clear to take a damp cloth or rag to it.

4. Dust Everything

Look around your house and make a mental list of every object. Then, grab your duster and go to town. Your decorations, house plants, furniture, banisters, handrails, and all kinds of similar objects have likely accumulated some dust during the renovations, and this is your chance to remove it.

5. Wipe Down All Surfaces

Next up are your kitchen tables, side tables, coffee tables, counter, and other flat surfaces. To start, wipe them down with a dry rag or cloth. If it feels like some dust and dirt is still clinging to the surfaces, you can take a second pass at your flat surfaces with a damp sponge.

6. Get in the Cracks: Windows, Windowsills, Handrails, & More

While you have that sponge and rag in your hand, don’t forget to get in the cracks. Your windows, mirrors, windowsills, handrails, door handles, and even the tops and sides of interior doors could all benefit from a dusting and a wipe-down.

7. Vacuum the Whole House

With every surface and object now cleaned, it’s time to start on your floors. A quick vacuum of all of your carpeted areas will get you off to a good start. And if you have the right type of vacuum, you can get a jump on your mop work by vacuuming over the hardwood, linoleum, tile, and other hard floors in your home.

8. Mop Thoroughly

Mopping is when you really knock out the remainder of the dust and debris that has accumulated on your floors while you’ve been completing the other cleaning tasks. You don’t have to do anything special with the mopping here, but you may want to consider a second pass with the mop if you’re dealing with particularly gritty or grimy floors.

9. Sweat the Small Stuff

This is a sort of catch-all step on the post-renovation cleaning checklist. Up to this point, you have probably been laser-focused on completing each specific task. Now is the time to step back and look at what’s left. 

In all likelihood, there’s something else that could use a quick cleaning. It may be a piece of furniture you forgot to vacuum or a surface that got some additional dust and grit on it when you cleaned another nearby object. Whatever it is, this is the time to sweat the small stuff and take care of it. After all, you don’t want to put in all this work just to be left with a less-than-perfectly-clean home.

10. Clean Your Vents and Replace All Filters

Save this step for last: Clean all of your vents and replace every filter. That means your A/C filter and furnace filter, as well as any filters in air purifiers you might have been running. You want to save this step for last because it allows all of the dust to settle after you’ve cleaned. That way, you’re not replacing a filter just to have it get all dirty again while you’re kicking up dust and debris.

Post-Renovation Cleaning Tips

The above post-renovation cleaning checklist should cover your cleaning needs from top to bottom, but you can use these tips to make the cleanup job go a little bit easier.

Start at the Top

For every one of the tasks described in the cleaning checklist, remember to start at the top and work your way to the bottom. The reason why is somewhat self-explanatory: As you clean, you knock dust and debris off of surfaces. That stuff ends up on the floor. If you start from the top, that’s no problem. But if you start at the bottom, you’re going to have to clean the bottom all over again when you’re done.

Don’t Forget the Small Spaces

When you’re in the middle of renovations, you can get so wrapped up in the final outcome of the work that you forget the details. That same concept applies to post-renovation cleaning. 

More specifically, as you’re cleaning the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and bathrooms, you may forget the smaller spaces. Lower-traffic areas like closets and other storage areas may fall by the wayside. 

But that can cause a problem. When you’re renovating your home, dust and debris go everywhere — and that includes the small spaces. So, add all of your home’s smaller, easy-to-overlook spots to your post-renovation cleaning checklist so you don’t forget them.

Take Care of Other Cleaning While You’re at It

Here’s the thing: All this post-renovation cleaning is a lot of work. You’re already going to be in the thick of it, so why not throw in a couple of odd cleaning jobs you’ve been putting off for a while? If you’ve been meaning to get behind the fridge and take care of all that dust and grime, now — while you’re covered in dust and wearing a respirator — is the perfect time to do it.

Set the Right Mood

A big cleaning job is always kind of a downer when you’re so excited to get to enjoy your newly renovated home. But don’t underestimate the power of setting the right mood to make the work go by more quickly.

This is a trick that realtors use to great effect: Burn some candles or diffuse some essential oils that have rustic or homey aromas. Put on some pleasant music. Set the right tone before you get elbow-deep in post-renovation cleaning, and your mood will be better throughout the process.

An Alternative: Hire a Cleaning Company

If your post-renovation cleaning checklist is starting to sound like a lot of work, that’s because it is a lot of work — at least, it’s a lot of work if you do it right. But maybe you don’t have the time, energy, or will to get in there and get the job done. That’s perfectly OK. Just like you can hire contractors to complete home renovations, you can hire cleaners to complete your post-renovation cleanup. There are plenty of high-quality cleaners in every city who would be happy to take this work off of your hands. 

Whether you plan to clean it all yourself or hire professional cleaners, keep the end goal in mind as you move forward: getting everything shiny and clean so you can fully enjoy your newly renovated home.



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