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There’s no doubt about it, the thought of cleaning your home for move-out is not on the top of your list of fun things to do. With this quick checklist, you’ll have your home squeaky clean and prepped for PCS in record time!
To simplify this process, sort your checklist into two sections: high-traffic/highly-loved areas and every room basics.
Start with Your Home's High Traffic Areas
Your most-loved and highly utilized rooms will likely need most of your attention and a deeper clean.
1) Kitchen Clean Up
Start with the most-used (and probably messiest) room of the house, the kitchen. Even if a household serves three meals a day, it's seldom limited to just three meals. The reality? The kitchen never closes, so you can expect to spend some time cleaning here.
- Go shelf by shelf and wash the refrigerator interior with lukewarm water and a microfiber cloth.
- Flex your cleaning muscles and scour the oven and racks with a baking soda and water paste. If you have a self-cleaning oven, count yourself lucky and set it to clean.
- Shimmy these hefty appliances away from the wall to fit a small vacuum or broom behind them, collecting the hidden crumbs, lurking dust bunnies, and forgotten toys.
- Throw a cleaning tablet into the empty dishwasher and run it. When the cycle is complete, wipe down any residue and clean out the filter at the bottom.
Take a break from the heavy lifting and give each cabinet door and drawer pull a good wipe down. Then, put on some gloves and shift your attention to the range hood.
- When tackling the built-up grease on the hood above your cooktop, fill a bucket with boiling or hot water and stir in a good squirt of degreasing dish soap, such as Dawn. Use a non-abrasive sponge or rag to scrub the hood until clean. Follow the horizontal grain of the hood and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.
- Try a similar tactic to degrease the hood vent filters. Stir ¼ cup of baking soda and a squirt of dish soap in a bucket of very hot (boiling) water. Soak the filters for about 15 minutes. Scrub with an old toothbrush or kitchen scrub brush, rinse, and air dry.
Following regular use of your kitchen faucet, wipe down the sink hardware to reduce scaly stains. If limescale has built up, scrub the faucet and knobs with the vinegar and baking soda paste you used to clean the oven.
Tip: Barkeeper’s Friend is an amazing ally to get your stainless steel nice and shiny again.
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2) Make Bathrooms Squeaky Clean
What’s your least favorite room to clean? For many, it’s the bathroom. By now, you’re a pro at keeping your bathroom clean as a whistle. Your regular cleaning schedule sends soap scum packing from your tub or shower. Continue your routine of sanitizing the sink, counter, and toilet, as well as mopping the floor.
Here's some ideas to try:
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Removes scum buildup in the shower.
- Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Shines up the porcelain throne with minimal work.
- Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover: Eliminates mold and mildew with little effort.
- Invisible Glass: Gives your mirror that streak-free shine. For a green cleaning recipe to tackle your mirror, try mixing: one cup of vinegar and one cup of distilled water. Spray this solution on a microfiber rag and sweep back and forth. With a dry cloth, polish the mirror to a shine.
- Dawn Dish Soap: If your porcelain sink has stains, mild dish soap and scrubby should help release the discoloration. If it doesn't, Bar Keepers Friend works wonders. However, ceramic sinks respond much better to vinegar and shouldn't require harsh chemicals as some can damage the finish.
After wiping down the tub, toilet, and doors of the powder room vanity, go through the cabinet. Wipe down drawers and cupboards.
Don’t forget! Try to use up any aerosol, liquid, or perishable items before it’s time to move.
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Easy Cleaning Tips for Every Room
Make your way room to room and think about creating a blank canvas. As movers require you remove artwork, curtains, and TVs from the walls, start with the big-ticket items. Use putty to fill in the holes left from hangings and some paint to touch up the repairs. Then, move on to the smaller items to wipe the slate clean.
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Now's the time to take a few minutes to ensure that windows are functioning well and letting in as much cheerful sunshine as possible.
Dampen a long since abandoned sock in your go-to vinegar and water cleaning solution. Slip your hand inside the sock and swipe along each slat of the blinds. If there’s a lot of dust build-up on the blinds, try tackling the loose stuff with a vacuum first before wiping down each slat.
- With either the crevice tool or the brush attachment on your vacuum, suck up the funky stuff along the window track. Then, spray the sill with vinegar and wait a few minutes for it to loosen hardened grime. Use a paper towel or rag to wipe out as much residue as possible.
- For narrow edges, try brushing out the gunk with a Q-tip swab.
- To ease a sticky window, spray a light layer of lubricant such as WD-40 on your freshly cleaned track.
If needed, replace any cracked or broken windows and torn screens.
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2) Walls and baseboards
Time to shift your focus to one of the most overlooked chores in the home, the smudged walls and dinged baseboards.
- Remove fingerprints, smudges, and scuffs off the walls with a microfiber cloth wrung with degreasing dish soap and water or a melamine sponge (magic eraser). Pay special attention to how much water you use to prevent dribble lines.
- Tackle the baseboards with the brush attachment for your vacuum. Suck up the loose debris, then run a cloth along the edge of the wall where it meets the floor. When moistened with vinegar or soapy water, a microfiber cloth will collect stubborn dust better than a brush or broom.
3) Air vents, filters, and detectors
- Fully extend the vacuum hose and go around the room with the brush attachment on each vent or grate. If there’s gunk clinging to a fixture, remove it from the air duct and soak it in a tub of hot soapy water. Wash with a microfiber cloth and rinse well. To keep it from immediately collecting more dust, ensure the grate is wiped dry before returning it to its home.
- Before the flurry of a PCS, it’s a good idea to change out the filters in the air vents. To help find an exact fit, take a photo on your phone of the brand name and measurements listed on the soiled filter for reference at the store.
- After you change your air filters, run a test beep on your household detectors. Adding fresh batteries to carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors is a simple task that ensures your safety.
Whether they’re wood, laminate, linoleum, or carpet, the floors are the most abused and hold onto dirt and bacteria. Time for a deep clean!
- Vacuum. Suck up all the loose dirt and hair settled in the carpet or floating on the hard flooring. Use the crevice tool to get into the corners of the baseboards and stairs.
- Pressure wash/shampoo. Drag the rugs outside and hose them down with the pressure washer. If you have one, use a carpet shampooer to treat the carpet. A spot cleaner works great for the stairs. Or, if you can, hire a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and do this step for you.
- Mop. Fill your bucket with hot water, some vinegar, and a touch of dish soap and go to town on your floors, wringing out your mop so as to not use too much water and damage your flooring. For stubborn spots on linoleum, pull out your magic eraser and wipe until clean. If you have one, go over the flooring with a steam mop and collect any remaining dirt.
Now it’s time to rest and relax for a few moments, as your hard work makes your move out that much easier.
See our free ebook series with PCS move tips below!
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