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Whether you just bought a home or you’re moving to a new apartment, you want everything to be spick and span before settling in. Cleaning before move-in creates a healthier environment, ensures your new place has a fresh feel and makes ongoing upkeep easier. Unfortunately, most of us are short on money and time after a big move. So how can you get your new place move-in ready without spending a fortune or sacrificing tons of time? This speedy, budget-friendly and eco-friendly cleaning checklist is how!

General Move-In Cleaning Tasks

Hopefully, your new place isn’t dirty, but that doesn’t mean dust and grime aren’t hiding out. Spend an afternoon on these chores so your new place is truly a clean slate: 

  • Sweep, mop, and vacuum all floors (shop for top rated vacuum cleaners if you’re in the market for one).
  • Clean the carpets. If you can’t afford professional carpet cleaning, rent a steam cleaner and follow these tips to avoid damaging the carpet.
  • Clean inside cabinets, closets, and drawers.
  • Clean inside, under, and behind appliances, including the dryer vent.
  • Wash windows and blinds.
  • Dust ceiling fans, molding, lighting fixtures, and other high-up spaces.
  • Rinse outdoor trash and recycling bins.

DIY green deep cleaning is the most cost-effective option, but not everyone has time to scrub every nook and cranny in their new place. If you’re renting an apartment and the landlord missed more than a few spots, it’s worth splurging on professional cleaning services. Do as much DIY cleaning as you can, then find a cleaning service — choose one who uses eco-friendly cleaning products — who can handle the rest. That way, you can move in ASAP and avoid extra stress during your move.

Improving Air Quality in a New Home

If your new home’s air quality is poor, you won’t see it, but you will notice it in worsened asthma and allergy symptoms, irritated eyes and airways, and stale odors. Ensure you have fresh air to breathe by taking these budget-friendly steps to improve indoor air quality:

  • Use non-toxic cleaning products. The cheapest option is to make your own household cleaners, but you can also find natural cleaners online.
  • Open windows to bring in more fresh air (but don’t open them during high pollen periods).
  • Replace the HVAC air filter. A few dollars per month for new air filters will save untold amounts of money on HVAC repairs!
  • Remove water-damaged materials like ceiling and carpet, even if you’re not ready to replace them. Mold can linger in water-soaked materials and harm indoor air quality.
  • Clean bathroom and hood exhaust fans.
  • Avoid masking odors with expensive, ineffective air fresheners. Instead, tackle the source in an eco-friendly way.

You can find more tips on improving your new place’s indoor air quality here. If you own your home, consider making permanent changes for air quality, like replacing carpeting with wood floors. In rentals, temporary fixes like portable air purifiers, a HEPA-filter vacuum, and quality air filters are a smart compromise. If you’re worried about cost, look for coupons and sales at home improvement stores.

At the end of a move, you just want to unpack your stuff and settle in, not worry about another chore. But if you skip your move-in green cleaning, you’ll regret it later when you have to do twice the work to rid your home of germs, dirt and grime. If you really can’t muster the motivation, outsource your move-in cleaning to professionals. You’ll lose a little money on professional-quality cleaning, but you’ll gain peace of mind knowing you’re not living with a stranger’s mess.