Post-Remodeling Clean Up Tips
Thinking of remodeling? In the middle of a project and wish that you weren’t? Remodeler’s remorse usually sets in when dust covers just about everything you own, but is soon a distant memory once the project is complete and everything is clean and shiny. Still, remodeling makes a mess. And when your contractor is done, your entire house will need a major cleaning. Dust will be everywhere. Carpets will be dirty. Walls will have smudgy handprints. And that’s in the rooms that weren’t remodeled! The rooms that saw all the work will be a disaster area.
The point is, no matter how careful your contractor is, or how good his intentions, your house will need to be thoroughly cleaned. And not by you!
Post-remodeling clean-up is a job for professionals. It doesn’t add much to the cost of the project ($150 to $300, depending on house size). And after you’ve made it through two months of construction, you deserve a present — let someone else clean the screens, wipe the baseboards, wash the walls, scrape up greasy plumbers putty, shine the sinks and faucets, wash off the grout haze, clean the carpet and grab all the roofing nails out of the gutters.
Be smart. Construction clean-up can be tricky. If you were to do it, you could do damage to your beautiful new space. For instance, did you know that tempered glass is easily scratched if you use a paper towel to wipe off drywall dust? Did you know that you will ruin your household vacuum cleaner if you use it to clean new carpet? Do you know which solvent is best for removing construction adhesive from a countertop? We thought not.
Janitorial services or professional cleaning company know the secrets to a thorough clean-up, or at least know people who know the secrets. These days, post-construction janitorial is a trade in itself.
Here’s what happens: A big crew shows up with giant boxes of clean white cloths, huge commercial-grade vacuums, and dozens of special cleaners, buckets, squeegees and mops. Then they swarm all over your house, cleaning the heck out of every room. Pretty good deal!
So, if your contractor offers to let you do the clean-up, tell him no. And don’t even think about trying to use your new space until all the work is done and the clean-up is complete. We know how exciting it can be to have a new kitchen, new bathroom or new master suite. But if you start bringing furniture, you’ll slow down (or even prevent) completion. Plain and simple, your furniture and stuff will be in the way. And things won’t get done right.
For example, if you put a bed against the wall, the outlet behind it won’t get checked and the baseboard won’t get cleaned. If you put dishes in kitchen cabinets before the electrician hooks up the under-counter work lights, he will have to move them or work around them, and they will get dirty or broken. If you fill your new bathroom cabinets with fluffy towels before the plumber is done working on the drain, your towels might end up covered with greasy, grimy, sticky plumber’s goop.
Avoid these and other problems by being patient. It’s difficult to resist jumping the gun. But if can refrain from “moving in” too soon, you’ll end up with a better job, one that is more thoroughly detailed and entirely complete.
Save all of your cleaning energy so that you can keep things up long after the janitorial contractor has finished up. Here are a few helpful formulas that really work well.
Cruddy brass trim? Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with salt and rub it all over the surface, then rinse. Works on marble too!
Out of furniture polish? Mix one part turpentine (not mineral spirits or paint thinner), one part linseed oil and one part white vinegar. Spray on and wipe off. Smells bad, but works!
Stinky refrigerator? Stinky drain? Kill these two proverbial birds with one good old proverbial stone. Here’s how: Take the box of baking soda, the one that’s been in the back corner of the fridge for the last year, and pour it down the kitchen drain. Save the box. Next, pour a cup of salt (regular table salt) into the drain as well. Then, follow with a cup of vinegar. After the mixture fizzes for 30 seconds or so, chase with at least 2 quarts of boiling water. 3- or 4-quarts would be better. Do this just before bed so that the mixture will have all night to work. Voila! Remember we suggested that you save the baking soda box? Now you can fill it with cat litter (fresh, not out of the cat box!). Stash the box back in your refrigerator. The cat litter is a top quality deodorizer.
Crusty shower head? Fill a small plastic sandwich bag with vinegar, hang the bag shower arm with the shower head submerged. Hold the bag in place with a rubber band around shower arm. Come back in two hours with a sponge to wipe away the now-softened mineral crust.
Mineral deposits on a chrome faucet? Soak a washcloth in straight vinegar; lay the wet rag over entire surface of the faucet for 45 minutes. Remove the towel and gently wipe clean with a sponge.
New and old aluminum window frames don’t match? Clean the old frames by rubbing them with 0000 steel wool in the direction of the “grain.” Then preserve the cleaned surface by rubbing on a bit of machine oil (3-in-one oil) with a soft, clean cloth. By the way, you can avoid the irritation and metal “splinters” caused by the steel wool by cutting a tennis ball in half and stuffing the steel wool inside. Work hard but work smart too!