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Your Ultimate Move-In Cleaning Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

Posted in Moving Tips & Tricks on July 6, 2023

Moving into a new home brings excitement and anticipation, but ensuring a clean and fresh start is crucial. A well-thought-out move-in cleaning checklist is your secret weapon to transform your new space into a spotless sanctuary. From tackling every nook and cranny to erasing the remnants of previous occupants, this step-by-step guide will streamline your cleaning process and help you embark on this new chapter of your life with a pristine home.

Preparing for a move-in cleaning should start with gathering essential supplies: brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, disinfectants, and microfiber cloths. Begin with the high-traffic areas, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, thoroughly polishing countertops, sinks, and appliances. Don’t forget to dust surfaces, wipe down windows, and sweep or vacuum floors. Move on to other rooms, paying attention to details like baseboards and light fixtures. Finally, finish with a final sweep of the entire space, ensuring a fresh and inviting atmosphere for your new home.

Why Move-in Cleaning Is Essential

Ensuring a pristine environment through move-in cleaning is essential for a smooth transition into your new home. By removing allergens, dust, and dirt, you create a healthier living space, promoting better indoor air quality and reducing the risk of allergies or respiratory issues.

Beyond the physical benefits, starting in an organized and spotless space has a profound psychological impact. It fosters a sense of control, calmness, and positivity, setting the tone for a fresh beginning.

Incorporating this task into your ultimate moving guide is crucial, as it addresses things you may forget to do when you move. By attempting to make moving easier and prioritizing a well-prepared space, you can embark on this new chapter with confidence and peace of mind.

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Gathering Supplies Should Be at the Top of Your Move-in Cleaning Checklist

Having the right supplies is key, and should be at the top of your checklist as you organize a move. Here’s a list of essential items to consider for your relocation budget and where to purchase them:

  • All-purpose cleaner: A versatile cleaner suitable for various surfaces.
  • Brooms and mops: Essential tools for sweeping and mopping floors.
  • Vacuum cleaner: Ideal for carpets, rugs, and upholstery.
  • Microfiber cloths: Gentle and effective for dusting and wiping surfaces.
  • Window cleaner: Ensures streak-free windows and mirrors.
  • Disinfectant wipes: Convenient for quick and easy sanitization.
  • Gloves and masks: Provide protection while cleaning.

When purchasing these supplies, consider eco-friendly options. Look for brands that offer environmentally friendly products made from natural ingredients and with minimal packaging. Many stores now carry eco-conscious cleaners, or you can explore online retailers specializing in sustainable home products. By opting for eco-friendly options, you contribute to a greener future while keeping your new space spotless.

Woman looking at a cleaning product
Beware of toxic products! Opt for safe and eco-friendly alternatives!

How to Clean a New House Before You Move In – Start by Preparing the Space Beforehand

It’s crucial to prepare the space for a fresh start. Begin by conducting a walkthrough of your new home to assess its condition. Take note of any areas that may require extra attention, especially if you are relocating into a smaller home or if you will later prepare the home for sale.

Look out for scuff marks on walls, stains on carpets, or grime in hard-to-reach corners. This assessment will help you prioritize tasks and plan your deep cleaning effectively. Also, consider taking steps to make the space more welcoming and personalized, such as adding fresh flowers or organizing essentials in an orderly manner.

Identify Areas That Require Extra Attention

Identify areas that require extra attention, particularly if you are relocating with a pet or relocating with kids. Focus on areas where pet-related odors may linger, such as carpets, upholstery, or pet beds. Implement thorough cleaning techniques to ensure a fresh and inviting space for your furry friend.

When relocating with kids, pay special attention to areas where they spend most of their time, such as bedrooms or playrooms, ensuring they are clean, safe, and free from any potential hazards.

Moreover, don’t overlook the impact of relocation stress. Taking the time to create calm and tranquil spaces, such as setting up a cozy reading nook or incorporating soothing scents, can greatly alleviate stress and enhance the overall well-being of your new home.

Person off-screen cleaning the floor
Since dogs enjoy "dirt bathing," keep that in mind when planning a deep clean of the house

Start With General Cleaning

Begin by focusing on general upkeep tasks. Start by eliminating dust and debris from surfaces using a microfiber cloth or duster. Pay special attention to areas like shelves, countertops, and furniture. Next, wipe down walls using a gentle solution of warm water and mild soap, ensuring a fresh canvas for your new space.

Don’t forget to clean windows inside and out, allowing natural light to fill your home. By starting with these essential steps, you’ll create a clean and inviting atmosphere, especially as you embark on your new adventure, such as moving to a big city.

Tips for Cleaning Light Fixtures, Ceiling Fans, and Vents

When it comes to cleaning light fixtures, ceiling fans, and vents, some helpful tips can ensure effective results. Start by turning off the power to the fixtures and using a microfiber cloth or a soft brush to remove dust and debris.

For delicate fixtures, consider removing the pieces and wiping them separately. When dusting ceiling fans, use a pillowcase or a duster with an extended handle to trap dust from the blades.

Lastly, for vents, remove the covers and wash them with warm soapy water. Vacuum the inside to remove any built-up dust or dirt. These moving into a new house cleaning tips will help you create a pristine environment, whether you’re settling into a house or learning how to clean an apartment before moving in.

An empty house with a wooden floor and a big ceiling fan
Start with dusting the vents, light fixtures, or ceiling fans since it makes the task much easier

Don’t forget to Deep Clean the Kitchen

Deep cleaning of the kitchen is a crucial step that should not be overlooked. Here’s a checklist to guide you through the process:

  • Appliances: Thoroughly polish the oven, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. Remove any food residue, grease, or stains. Pay attention to the knobs, handles, and control panels.
  • Cabinets and drawers: Empty and wipe down the cabinets and drawers. Remove any crumbs, dust, or spills. Consider lining shelves and drawers with shelf liners for added cleanliness.
  • Countertops: Clean and disinfect the countertops using appropriate cleaning solutions. Remove any stains, and ensure they are sanitized for food preparation areas.
  • Sink and faucet: Scrub the sink, removing any buildup or stains. Clean the faucet thoroughly and ensure proper drainage.
  • Packed kitchen items: Before unpacking your kitchen items, give them a good wash or run them through the dishwasher. This ensures that the utensils, glassware, and dishes you pack are clean and ready for use.

Remember, in the kitchen, it’s vital to prioritize sanitizing and disinfecting food preparation areas to maintain a hygienic space for cooking and dining.

Tips for Cleaning the Oven and Refrigerator

For the oven, use a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the interior surfaces, including the racks, and let it sit for a few hours. Wipe away the paste with a damp cloth, removing any grime or grease.

When it comes to the refrigerator, start by emptying it and discarding any expired or spoiled food. Remove the shelves and drawers, washing them with warm soapy water. Wipe down the interior surfaces using a mild purifying solution.

Remember to defrost the freezer, removing any ice buildup. These steps will ensure a fresh kitchen space, ready for your packed dishes, pots, and pans. Here is a video full of amazing tips for a spotless fridge:

Refresh the Bathroom Before Moving in

One of the things you have to do after moving is to refresh the bathroom and create an inviting space. Here are the steps to help you achieve a pristine bathroom:

  • Toilet: Begin by scrubbing the toilet bowl using a toilet brush and a toilet bowl cleaner. Pay attention to the rim, seat, and hinges. Ensure all surfaces are free from stains and odors.
  • Sink: Scrub the sink thoroughly, removing any soap scum or mineral deposits. Use a non-abrasive cleaner to wipe down the faucet, handles, and drain. Polish the surfaces for a shiny finish.
  • Shower and Bathtub: Remove any residue or grime from the shower walls, bathtub, and fixtures. Use a designated cleaner for your shower or bathtub surface to prevent any damage. Rinse thoroughly to remove all products.

Tips for Cleaning Bathroom Fixtures, Mirrors, and Grout

When it comes to bathroom fixtures, mirrors, and grout, here are some helpful tips to achieve a spotless result:

  • For fixtures like towel racks, toilet paper holders, and shower curtain rods, use a microfiber cloth or a gentle cleaner to remove dust and fingerprints. Polish the fixtures to restore their shine.
  • Clean mirrors using a glass cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water. Spray the solution onto a cloth and wipe the mirror surface in zig-zag motions for a streak-free finish.
  • To tackle grout in between tiles, create a paste using simple ingredients such as water and baking soda. Apply the paste to cover those lines and use a toothbrush to scrub them gently. Rinse thoroughly to remove the paste and reveal grout lines.

By following these steps, you can ensure a fresh and inviting bathroom space in your home. So if you want to see how this needs to be done, watch the video below:

You Shouldn’t Skip Bedrooms and Living Spaces

Bedrooms and living spaces are areas that deserve your attention. Consider the following tasks to ensure these spaces are refreshed and ready for your stress-free moving experience:

  • Dusting and vacuuming: Begin by dusting surfaces, such as furniture, shelves, and decorative items, using a microfiber cloth or duster. Pay special attention to corners and hard-to-reach areas. Vacuum the floors, including under furniture and rugs, to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Cleaning windows: Don’t forget to clean the windows in bedrooms and living spaces. Use a window cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water to remove fingerprints, smudges, and dirt. Wipe the windows with a lint-free cloth for a clear and sparkling finish.
  • Upholstery and fabric surfaces: Secret tip alert! To refresh upholstery and fabric surfaces, sprinkle baking soda on the furniture and let it sit for a while to absorb odors. Vacuum the baking soda thoroughly afterward. For any stains, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or use appropriate fabric cleaners. Test them on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure colorfastness.

Tips for Refreshing Closets and Organizing Storage Spaces

When it comes to refreshing closets and organizing storage spaces, consider the following suggestions:

  • Remove items from closets and storage spaces, downsize, and declutter as you go. Donate or discard items you no longer need or use. This will help create a more organized and functional space.
  • Vacuum and wipe down closet shelves and organizers to remove dust and dirt. Consider using drawer liners to keep items fresh and protected.
  • Sort and categorize your belongings as you put them back into closets and storage areas. This will make it easier to find things later on and maintain a well-organized space.

By incorporating these tasks into your sweeping and vacuuming routine, you can ensure that bedrooms and living spaces receive the attention they deserve during your stress-free relocation process.

Person cleaning the floor
Remember to leave time for sorting the closet and organizing your clothes

Polish up the Exterior of Your New Home

Ensuring a well-maintained exterior is just as important as the interior when it comes to your new home. Paying attention to the entryways and outdoor areas can greatly enhance your curb appeal. Here are some tips for sprucing up the exterior:

  • Sweeping walkways: Use a broom or leaf blower to clear away leaves, dirt, and debris from your walkways and entry paths. This not only improves the overall appearance but also ensures safe and inviting access to your home.
  • Tidying up the yard: Trim overgrown hedges, bushes, and tree branches that may obstruct the view or impede pathways. Rake and remove fallen leaves or dead plants. Consider adding potted plants or flowers to add a touch of freshness and color.
  • Entryway maintenance: Inspect and clean the front door, porch, and steps. Wipe down surfaces, polish hardware, and remove any cobwebs or dust. Consider giving your front door a fresh coat of paint to make a welcoming statement.

By attending to these exterior details, you create an inviting and well-maintained atmosphere, making a positive first impression for both yourself and visitors.

If You Want to Have All the Free Time for the Cleaning, Hire Movers to Do the Heavy Lifting

When it comes to long-distance moves, hiring professional movers can be a game-changer. Opting for services like packing services, storage rental, and cross-country moving services can significantly lighten your load. Movers can efficiently handle the heavy lifting, ensuring your belongings are carefully packed, transported, and delivered to your new home.

This frees up valuable time and energy, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your relocation, such as settling into your new space. With the assistance of experienced movers, you can enjoy a seamless transition. Of course, before choosing a long-distance moving company, make sure to check the Better Business Bureau to see whether it is reliable and trustworthy.

Follow Our Tips, and Your New Home Will Be Squeaky Clean

By following the tips from this guide, you can ensure that every corner of your new home is well-prepared and refreshed for your upcoming relocation. From cleansing bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens to organizing storage spaces and tending to the exterior, these steps will contribute to a spotless environment.

For a seamless transition and additional assistance with your long-distance relocation, remember to consider Cross Country Movers. With our comprehensive long-distance moving services, including packing and storage options, we’re here to support you throughout your journey. Contact us today for stress-free and smooth moving across the country.


How Long Does Move-in Cleaning Typically Take?

The task generally takes several hours or even a day, depending on the size and condition of the home. Sometimes it takes a whole week if you relocate to a house!

Should I Hire Professional Cleaners for Move-in Cleaning?

Hiring professional cleaners is a personal choice, but it can save you time and ensure thorough results.

What Cleaning Supplies Do I Need for Move-in Cleaning?

Essential supplies include microfiber cloths, a broom, a vacuum cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, baking soda, and gloves.

Do I Need to Clean the Entire House or Just Certain Areas?

It is recommended to cleanse the entire house to create a fresh and welcoming environment, but you can prioritize certain areas based on your needs.

How Can I Tackle Tough Stains or Dirt in the New Home?

To tackle tough stains or dirt in the new home, try using specialized stain removers, gentle scrub brushes, or natural alternatives like lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide.

Should I Clean Before or After Moving My Belongings In?

It’s generally more convenient to do this before moving your belongings in to avoid any obstacles and ensure a fresh start.

Can I Use Natural Cleaning Products for Move-in Cleaning?

Yes, you can include natural products in your new house cleaning checklist. Options like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils can be effective and eco-friendly.

Is It Necessary to Clean the Carpets Before Moving In?

Cleansing the carpets is recommended to remove any accumulated dust, allergens, or stains and start with a fresh foundation.

Madison Rogers

Born and raised in Houston Madison is a content writer who loves traveling. She has lived in different states and is always eager to share her knowledge with others.

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