How to Clean Homes for Home Builders

By Amelia Allonsy
When a new home is completed, it needs to be cleaned to prepare it for the new owners.

A house must be cleaned during the home building process so it's in top condition to show to potential buyers. The construction process leaves a new home very dirty, which is why many contractors hire professional cleaning services to prepare a home for sale. You can complete the cleaning job easily on your own. To make the job easier, start from the top floor, work your way down and clean high traffic areas last.

Windows

Make a window-cleaning solution of 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle. Add one small drop of dish-washing liquid to the bottle, and shake well.

Spray the entire window with your window cleaning solution. Allow it to set for one or two minutes.

Wipe windows clean with an old newspaper or paper towels. Change these often so you are always using clean newspaper or a clean paper towel.

Remove streaks by lightly spraying one squirt of window cleaner onto the glass and wiping it with a clean paper towel. Some streaks will need to be buffed away.

Wash the windows in each room first because they are generally higher up than any other surface you will need to clean.

Walls

Dust the walls using a microfiber cleaning cloth attached to the end of the broom. The walls of newly constructed homes will usually be covered in drywall sand that needs to be removed.

Add one cup distilled white vinegar and one drop dish-washing detergent to one gallon hot water, and mix well. Use this cleaning solution throughout most of the house. Vinegar is an effective cleaner that is safe to use on more delicate surfaces. You are cleaning a new house, and some of the materials used in it may be too delicate for other cleaning products.

Dip a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser into the cleaning solution, and wring out any excess. The walls will have a fresh coat of paint, but you will need to remove any scuff marks or stains left by the construction team.

Wipe gently at stains on the wall, using uniform strokes in the same direction. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will remove stains easily and require little force to be effective.

Bathrooms

Wipe down the tub and shower with a household cleaning sponge and a cleaning mixture of one cup distilled white vinegar and one drop dish-washing detergent to one gallon hot water. If you prefer, use bleach instead of vinegar, but vinegar is safer than bleach and works as a disinfectant like bleach.

Clean the toilet with the vinegar cleaning solution and a sponge. Be sure to clean under the rim and behind the tank.

Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge, and scrub the entire surface of the tub and toilet to make them shine. Rinse the baking soda with water, and dry with paper towels to eliminate streaks.

Make a window-cleaning solution of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, add one small drop of dish-washing liquid to bottle and shake well. Spray mirrors and glass, and wipe them clean with paper towels or old newspapers. Spray chrome handles and fixtures, and clean in the same way to make them sparkle.

Scrub the floor with a household cleaning sponge and the vinegar cleaning solution used in step 1 above. Vinegar is safer for tile floors than most household cleaning products. Use a mop if you prefer, but hand-cleaning makes it easier to remove hard to reach areas. If the tile grout is dirty, make a paste by adding a few drops of water to baking soda, and apply it directly to the grout. Scrub with an old toothbrush and rinse clean.

Kitchens

Wipe down all kitchen surfaces with a household cleaning sponge and a mixture of one cup distilled white vinegar and one drop dish-washing detergent to one gallon hot water.

Apply baking soda directly to a damp sponge, and wipe the inside of the refrigerator and the stove. Baking soda is a great deodorizer, but if the appliances are new, this step might not be necessary.

Clean the entire floor with a household cleaning sponge and the vinegar mixture used in step 1 above. If the kitchen has hardwood flooring, skip the vinegar, and clean with Murphy's Oil Soap instead.

Detailing

Make natural wood finishes stand out by conditioning them with lemon oil. The oil absorbs into the wood and restores its natural beauty. The oil also helps protect against damage from other spills.

Clean hardwood floors with Murphy's Oil Soap to protect the wood and bring out its natural beauty.

Spray a foaming carpet deodorizer onto carpets to make them smell fresh and new again.

Vacuum all carpets once you have completed the rest of the cleaning tasks. If you vacuum first, you will probably end up having to vacuum again because of carpet traffic throughout the cleaning process.

Use a steam cleaner to remove any carpet stains left by the construction crew. A little bit of laundry pretreatment spray is great for removing ground-in stains.

Tip

Check with the building contractor and new homeowners for specifications regarding your cleaning routine. They might prefer that you only use specific products or techniques in the house.

Warning

Never use a strong household cleaner such as bleach in an unventilated area because of the toxic fumes. Vinegar is a safe and natural alternative to bleach, without the toxicity.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.