30 Great Cleaning Tips For Your New Home

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Home Maintenance Tips | 0 comments

Cleaning & Organizing Tips for Your New Home

Have you been in your new home for three or more months? One of the best ways to keep your new home feeling new is to keep up with the cleaning and create a deep-cleaning ritual every 3–4 months. In this short time, nothing will have time to get really dirty or grimy, making cleaning easier and keeping your newly built home as fresh as when you first moved in.

Here are 30 tips that create repeatable systems and make cleaning super efficient.

Clean the Kitchen

Circle Your Way Around Clockwise

Let’s start at the stove. First, soak drip pans and knobs in warm soapy water, then move clockwise to the right of the stove, which is best left for last. The stove is typically the dirtiest part of the kitchen, so ending with it keeps you from spreading dirt and grease. By the time you’ve worked your way around the entire kitchen, the soaking pans and knobs will be crystal clean.

When moving clockwise, clean the countertops with the correct cleaning solution for the material (granite, marble, laminate specific cleaner) and wipe the front of the cabinets and handles.

Sanitize the Sink

It’s hard to believe, but your dirty kitchen sink has more bacteria than your toilet seat. Use a product labeled as an EPA-registered disinfectant, or make your own. To disinfect, clean your sink with soap and water first, then spray a mist of vinegar followed by a mist of hydrogen peroxide, and let air dry for at least 10 minutes, longer if possible. (Don’t mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide — spray one after the other.) If your sink is stainless steel, make it sparkle afterward by putting a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buffing or use an eco-friendly stainless appliance polish. This prevents water buildup, which deters mold and keeps the sink looking clean longer.

Do Dishwasher Duty

Once a week, shake baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe around the machine’s edges and the front to remove stuck-on food or stains. To clean the inside, run an empty cycle with Dishwasher Magic, a product designed to kill bacteria like E.coli. “During cold and flu season, add a quarter-cup of bleach to the regular dish cycle to kill bacteria,” says Laura Dellutri. The dishes will be safe and sanitized after the rinse cycle is finished.

Disinfect the Disposal

To eliminate odors, drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt, and a few ice cubes. The lemon deodorizes, and the ice and salt clean away residue.

Crumple Paper Towels … Forever

Use microfiber cloths instead. When wet, they sanitize and clean floors, counters, glass, and tile, and eliminate the need for other cleaning products. They’re reusable (machine-wash, hang to dry) and cost about $7 for a two-pack.

Clean as You Go

Fill your sink with hot soapy water as you start dinner. Place used dishes and pans in the filled sink to soak while you eat. Also, wipe up any spills immediately — don’t give sauces, oils, or spices a chance to sit around.

Zap the Sponge

We all know that sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Disinfect yours nightly by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute or add it to your running dishwasher. When it’s shredded and smelly, replace it.

Love Your Clean Oven Longer

Keep the heart of your kitchen clean by lining the bottom with a nonstick oven liner. It can be wiped with a paper towel, put in the dishwasher, and reused.

Don’t Forget the Floors

Whether your kitchen floor is tile, wood, or laminate, keeping it dust-and-crumb-free is essential to longevity. Dirt can wear the grout and seal off the floor as it’s walked on. Use a small dust vac for the obvious crumbs daily and steam-clean or use a wood floor cleaner as often as you can to keep it disinfected and in top shape. Also, do not share a mop or steam cloth with the bathroom due to cross-contamination.

Bathroom Cleaning Boosters

Make Glass Doors Shine

Get into the habit of using a squeegee to clean water off the glass after each shower. This keeps the protection film that comes with the glass when it’s new from a build-up of hard water spots and pitting. If this isn’t practical, rub a teaspoon of lemon oil on glass shower doors twice a month and watch the water bead up and roll off! Or, try Rain-X Original Glass Treatment, a car-care product that allows rainwater to sheet and run off your windshield. Use it twice a year.

Get a Cleaner Liner

If you don’t have glass doors, mold and mildew will often attack your shower curtain liner. Before mold and mildew are visible, throw it in the wash with a few towels, which help to scrub it clean, then hang it back up to dry. This can be done monthly or quarterly based on usage.

Tame the Toilet

Instead of toxic toilet bowl cleaners, drop a teaspoon of Tang Drink Mix into the bowl. Yes! You read that right. The citric acid acts like a scrubber and it’s nontoxic in case the dog takes a sip. Let it sit for a few minutes, then swish and flush. And if you cringe at the idea of getting splashed by toilet water (ugh!), Donna Smallin suggests pushing the toilet brush in and out of the trap before you begin. This lowers the water level, allowing you to safely swish away.

Corral Stray Hair & Keep Drains Clean

Keep drains free of hair and clogs by using a product like Drano or Liquid-Plumr once a month or so. If you like to use natural products,  Martha Stewart recommends sprinkling 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, then follow it with 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar, cover the drain with a towel or plate, and listen to it foam. It really works! To minimize drain clogs, get rid of those annoying stray hairs on the shower floor, in the sink, and on the bathroom floor by sweeping them up with a little handheld vacuum or a damp paper towel each day.

Use Bedtime as Clean Time

While the kids are washing up at night, wipe down the tub, toilet, and mirrors as they finish with each, and toss out clutter. When they’re heading for bed, quickly wipe down the sink and floor. Bathroom done.

Clean Grout, Tile & Marble

Most bathrooms have a lot of ceramic or porcelain tile. It’s often in the shower, around the sink, on the walls, and on the bathroom floor. To keep it like-new, avoid using hairspray and anything with pigment without putting a towel or rug down first. Hairspray will get into the grout and make everything stick, staining the grout quickly. Wiping up the floor weekly will assist with keeping it clean and bright, but once a month or quarterly, it’s a good idea to take a toothbrush with a bit of baking soda and water to the grout where it’s darkening to whiten it. Also, if possible, try to seal the grout twice a year. Most grout comes with sealer already in it, but it wears away over time.

To banish mold in the shower grout, after each shower, use that same squeegee you use on the glass to remove water from the tile and grout into the drain the best you can. If this isn’t possible, in addition to weekly cleaning, be sure to scrub the shower with a gentle acidic cleaner, like Bar Keepers Friend (except on hard stone, like marble and granite), at least once a quarter and work it into the grout to remove stains.

If you have a lot of marble in your bathroom, you know how delicate it is. Find out EXACTLY what the manufacturer recommends you use to clean it and how often, and be sure to seal it regularly for best results.

A person in socked feet with a broom and dustpan sweeping up dirt on a wood floor.

Sweeping Solutions

Cleaning should always be done from top to bottom. That way, any crumbs or dust that fall to the floor while you’re working get picked up last. And believe it or not, there’s a right way to sweep.

Choose the Right Broom

Indoors: choose one with finer bristles to pick up smaller dirt particles and one that won’t scratch surfaces.

Outdoors: go for stronger, stiffer broom bristles. These work best to clear porous surfaces.

Get Swept Away

To sweep, hold the broom like a canoe paddle, with one hand on top of the handle and the other toward the middle. Push your hands in opposite directions to get the most out of every sweeping stroke. Sweep from the outside in so you don’t miss any spots, and move the dirt to the center of the room, where it will be easy to pick up with a vacuum or dustpan with a rubber edge for greater grip.

Super Broom Storage

Store brooms with the handle down. It makes them easier to find and protects the bristles.

Bedroom Secrets

Start with the Bed

If your bed is made, your bedroom looks neat, says Marla Cilley. When you wake up, pull the covers up to your chin, then scissor-kick your way out of bed so it’ll be half made. Finish the job before you walk away.

Address Your Drawers

Most women have drawers full of clothes they don’t wear, and their dresser tops then become repositories for things they can’t store. Get rid of things you haven’t worn in a year and vow to put away your clean laundry each week.

Also, be sure to keep the surfaces of your dressers, night tables, and other furniture dust-free to alleviate allergies. Don’t forget the headboard! Dust it with a microfiber cloth that grips the dust or a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Declutter … Keep Just the Essentials

Declutter for a better night’s sleep. Clutter creates stress and studies show a clean, streamlined nightstand and bedroom can lower stress levels.

Have a “pamper basket” next to your bed with a book, some moisturizer, knitting, or something else you like to do in bed, says Cilley. Then keep your clock, a lamp, and a box of tissues on your nightstand. That’s it.

And just like the dresser, clean it often with lung-friendly cleaners, such as a drop of lemon and lavender oil in vinegar water.

Conquer Laundry

Stave Off Static & Save Dollars

Since fabric softener and dryer sheets can strip towels of their absorbency, add ¼ cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle or throw two (new, clean) tennis balls in the dryer to get rid of static electricity, soften fabrics, beat out wrinkles, and eliminate the need for dryer sheets. Unscented wool dryer balls eliminate static, fluff out wrinkles, and reduce drying time by up to 30%.

Switch on the Cold

Most everything can be washed in cold water (better for your bills and the environment). But use the hottest water possible for sheets, towels, and underwear. This will help kill germs. Take special care with undergarments, putting them in the dryer as soon as possible to stop bacteria growth while they sit damp in the washer.

Do a quarterly washing machine cleaning too, just like the dishwasher. Washing machines harbor bacteria, mold, mildew, and other germs. Start by using a soft cloth and toothbrush with light cleaners (Bar Keepers Friend, Tang, baking soda, or vinegar and water) to clean the rims, trim, compartments, and softener holder. Once all the small and hidden areas are clean, run an empty load with hot water and vinegar. You can alternate with bleach every other time, just don’t use them together.

Washing machine tip: leave the door open when not in use to mitigate mold and bacterial growth.

Mess-a-Laneous

Time It: A Quick 10 Minutes

If you actually time how long it takes to do certain chores, you won’t mind them as much, says Cilley. Believe it or not, most chores only take 10 minutes!

Multitask

Sarah Aguirre makes tasks go faster by doing two things at once. While on the phone, she folds laundry, fluffs pillows, picks up stray magazines and books, does dishes, sweeps, or dusts. Now that a lot of us are working from home, small cleaning chores are a super way to get up from your desk, move a little, and accomplish something at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Know the Hot Spots

Papers, odd toys, electronics, and a plethora of other things usually pile up on the dining room table or kitchen counter. Do a nightly sweep of what can be filed, tossed, or separated into each person’s bedroom or cubby. You’ll start each morning without the stress of the mess.

Go Corner to Corner

When vacuuming, begin in the farthest corner and work toward the door, using slow, repetitive front-to-back motions in an overlapping sequence, says Julie Rosenblum. Use the hard floor tool on wood, tile, laminate, and LVT floors for best results. If you use the carpet tool, the brush will throw bits of stuff all over the place.

In carpeted areas, as you look over the freshly vacuumed floor, you shouldn’t see any footprints. If you’re like some of us (you know who you are!) you find utter joy in seeing the sunrays of vacuum cleaner marks.

Velcro Remotes

Label the bottom of each electronic game controller (Xbox, for example), and remote control then Velcro them to the console or one area of your entertainment center. Put them away nightly for easy access the next day.

Make a Lost-and-Found

Every house needs one. Use a cute vintage lunch box, toolbox, or lidded storage container with compartments to stash lost game pieces, stray screws and buttons, and similar small items. When you need the item, you’ll know where to look first.

Do Quick Rescues

Do a 5-minute sweep through each room, taking a laundry basket with you. Place anything that doesn’t belong in that room in the basket, then put away stuff away in its respective place as you go.

Stop Clutter at the Front Door

Mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack inside your front entry closet door, and use it to stash all kinds of living room and family room miscellany—toys, hats, gloves, magazines. You can even designate one of the pockets for mail you’re hanging onto for future reference.

If you live in a CMS Homes house, there’s a great chance you’ll have a built-in entryway organizer at your fingertips. This is a great place for each family member to have their own space for miscellany in an easy-to-find location.

A CMS home with a peaked roof, cream siding, stone trim and a 3-pillar porch. Lots of green grass and trees in the yard.

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