We’ve all been there at some point: moving into a new house, apartment or dorm, and wanting to make it feel like home. Whether your space is brand new or 100 years old, a new living environment usually comes with unfamiliar odors (from new carpet to musty basements), the chemical and/or allergen remnants of anything there before you, and a virtual cyclone of stirred up dust, dust mite particles, dirt and debris.
But before you decide all of this is too much and you’ll simply never, ever move from where you are this very minute, take heart! There are some great ways to reduce the footprint of previous tenants and ease the effects that new carpet, paint and furniture can have on brand new homes. So don’t worry – you can make any space feel like your own in no time! Follow these 8 great tips and repeat to yourself: there’s no place like home.
Go from high to low.
There’s no use in cleaning your floors if, immediately afterward, you decide to sweep cobwebs from the corners of your ceiling. While wearing protective eye and breathing gear, tackle the high-up jobs first: ceiling cobwebs, dusty fan blades, grimy air vents and the tops of appliances. Any dirt or dust knocked onto the floor can be swept up later. This means you don’t clean the same surface twice — and that’s smart cleaning
De-critter the place.
No, we’re not talking about your beloved fur babies. But insects – from the visible roach or cricket to the more insidious bed bug or termite – and rodents are most unwelcome. In addition to causing damage to the structure of your home, their presence is also unhygienic and unnerving. If the problem’s too big for you to handle (or creepy-crawlies make you queasy), consult with a pest control service. If you’re sensitive to chemicals used to de-bug a home, ask about greener options they may offer.
Wipe it down.
A damp cloth can do wonders when it comes to removing dust and dirt from a surface. A rag dipped in hot, soapy water (and then wrung out) is a good idea for the insides of cabinets; a soft cloth damp with plain, cool water is a good idea for walls and baseboards
Clean & service all appliances.
You don’t want to make your inaugural New House Roast in dirty oven, do you? Before you move in, make sure the appliances are clean and sanitary. If you’re moving into an apartment, there should be provisions for this stated in your lease. Still, wiping down the insides of ovens, microwaves, refrigerators and dishwashers with baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice can be a chemical-free way to reduce grime, stale odors and germs. Diluting bleach with water is also a great way to sanitize a surface.
Clean or replace dirty switch plates, knobs & drawer pulls.
Think about it: they’re some of the things people touch the most. And if someone lived in your place before you, germs from their hands could very well still be lurking. Depending on the material and porousness, conventional cleaning sprays can be used. For switch plates, the “magic erasers” can remove tough grime, though replacing them altogether is a foolproof (and usually pretty inexpensive) way to make sure they’re hygienic.
Run an air purifier.
Blasting your space with a high-quality air purifier a few days prior to moving in can make a huge difference in the smell and feel of your new space. Stale odors, particulate matter, dust, dust mite particles, allergens and airborne contaminants will be greatly reduced, which is especially important if anyone in your family has breathing or allergic sensitivities. It’s a great chemical-free way to get your home clean. Additionally, if your home is brand new, an air purifier is also a great investment, since new carpet, new furniture, paint and varnishes and building materials can all off-gas – meaning chemicals used to treat or make them are emitted into the air.
Ideally, any carpets in your new abode have been properly cleaned by the landlord, previous tenant or owner. But just to be safe, vacuuming with a HEPA-sealed vacuum cleaner is a great preventative measure when it comes to removing contaminants from your new home. The HEPA-seal prevents the allergens and dirt sucked up by your vacuum from being blown back out into your environment – a great idea if you or someone you know suffers from asthma or allergies.
And then shampoo that carpet!
While steam cleaners are easily rented from supermarkets and stores, improperly steam cleaning your carpet can sometimes cause more harm than good: too-damp carpets can mildew, or be magnets for dirt and germs. Carpet shampooers that use a dry-foam method get the carpets clean but dry much more quickly and won’t leave a residue.