The Complete Checklist for Cleaning Your New Home

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated September 30, 2021
young couple unpacking and cleaning their new home
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You deserve a fresh and spotless new-to-you home

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Moving to a new home is so exciting that you’re probably eager to start your next chapter and want to cozy up the place immediately. But step back and take a hard look at the great opportunity you’ve been given via an empty house—the chance to clean to your standards and quite literally start fresh. This move-in cleaning checklist will ensure you don’t miss a spot and helps you get the job done right.

Start With the Bathrooms

There’s nothing like a clean bathroom to make you feel at home. Even if the previous owners did leave it clean, you’ll rest easier knowing you’ve wiped out the hidden germs and bacteria.

Replace the toilet seats; you’ll be glad you did. They’re inexpensive (usually $50 or below) and easy to install. Clean the rest of the toilet and don’t forget the space between the toilet and the wall.

  • If possible, pull the vanity/sink away from the wall to clean the floor and baseboards.

  • Pull out and clean the shelves inside of the medicine cabinet; most people forget this area.

  • Spend extra time cleaning inside of the bathtub/shower, especially hard-to-reach places like the walls, grout (use specialized grout cleaner), shower head, and shower door. 

  • Squeegee glass doors and shower stalls.

Get the Kitchen Clean

woman cleaning kitchen countertop using gloves
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The next best place to scrub down is the kitchen. Wiping down all the surfaces and appliances will prepare you to start making delicious meals in your new home. Keep in mind that if you can throw something in the dishwasher like refrigerator bins, you may be able to avoid a lot of hand washing.


  • Clean the grates, knobs, oven racks, and drawer.

  • If applicable, turn on the self-cleaning function in the oven.

Microwave and Stove Hood

  • If your house has them, degrease and sanitize each one.


  • Take out and clean the shelves and drawers.

  • Wipe down all of the seams, walls, top, and bottom.

Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal

  • Buy self-cleaning pods or add 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl to the bottom of the empty dishwasher and run a hot cycle.

  • Run the garbage disposal with six ice cubes, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, three thin lemon slices, and 1 teaspoon of bleach. Then, add six more ice cubes until the grinding stops. After, flush with cold water for 30 seconds.


  • Clean the crumbs and sticky spills from the shelves.

  • Cover the shelves and drawers with liners.

  • Scrub the exterior cabinet faces.

Floors and Behind the Appliances

  • Pull out appliances to sweep and mop.

  • Vacuum dust from the backsides of the appliances. This step helps the refrigerator run more efficiently, too.

  • After, clean the rest of the floor and baseboards.

Countertops and Everyday Surfaces

  • Disinfect the sink and countertops. They’re usually the germiest spots in the kitchen.

  • Wipe down the appliances’ exteriors. 

  • Wash fingerprints from pantry doors and outlet/switch plates.

Tackle the Rest of the House

As you move from room to room, think about future projects and what you could do now to save time later. For example, if you have a home painting project in mind, you’ll need clean walls and cobweb-free corners for the perfect finish. The rest of the time, work from the top down and clean the light fixtures, walls, doors, windows, and floors as needed.

Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans

  • Dust, vacuum, and use glass cleaner. You’ll probably need a step ladder or stool.

  • Slide a pillowcase on the fan blades to pull off the dust before it falls on the ground. 

  • Change burned-out light bulbs and add energy-saving bulbs.


  • Spot clean any stains, especially if you plan to paint soon.

  • Dust the corners and molding.


  • Use the vacuum brush attachment to clean the tops of doors, trim, and hinges.

  • Disinfect the doorknobs on each side.


  • Vacuum the floors and light fixtures.

  • Dust the shelving and add liner paper if you’d like.


  • Use a glass-specific solution and tools for clean windows.

  • Don’t forget to vacuum the tracks and space between the pane and screen. 


  • Dust the trim, baseboards, and any other architectural features.

  • Sweep and mop hard-surface floors.

  • Vacuum the carpet and some hard surfaces.

  • If stained, shampoo the rugs.

For Help, Call in Professional House Cleaners

Chances are you’re pretty stressed and tired from the move. If all of this sounds like way too much to add to your plate, it could be a good idea to find a local house cleaning service to get the job done quickly. The move-in clean-up could take you days, but a team of professionals could get the job done in just a couple of hours.

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