You are so close to the finish line and you are elated. Only a fine layer of dust that covers every visible and not visible surface stands between you and the joy of your investment. The final step in the journey is the cleaning.
The right tools will make the job so much easier. Here are my tips for starting on the right foot when doing it yourself.
- Personal protective equipment. First make sure you have safety equipment: eye protection, dust masks and rubber gloves. Personal protective equipment will spare your lungs and diminish the itchy eyes that results from this type of cleaning.
- Go beyond microfiber. Forget the paper towels and the cotton rags of old. The revolution of microfiber that started about a decade ago has shown everyone the value of a good cloth. Microfiber acts like a magnet and can pick-up particles in the microns – yes, even pathogens. So those are part of your arsenal. For that fine post renovation dust we also like to use tack cloth. Tack cloth is typically a cotton gauze material treated with beeswax or some other tacky The cloths come in large sheets sealed in plastic that you can cut into more manageable sizes. Tack cloth acts as a magnet for dust.
- Step ladder. You will need to reach the top shelving inside closets, pantries, and cabinetry. While an extension duster might work in a normal situation, a post-reno cleaning requires a damp wipe of the surfaces. You will also need to get the tops of the door frames. Again usually you cannot do this effectively with only an extension duster.
- Tall ladder. A good tall ladder will let you hit those areas that may require attention and that would be too much of a strain on a step ladder – e.g. light fixtures or kitchen vent hoods.
- Shop vacuum. If your contractor has left more than fine dust behind, the shop vacuum will be your best first tool before you do anything else. It is especially important in rough entry areas that cannot be mopped like garage floors.
- Mop buckets and wringers or steam mops. Usually, depending on how the work was done, you will need to wet mop the floors. Normally, wood floors should be only damped mop – less water is always best on wood floors (no water if it is a waxed finish). The first cleaning after a post-construction usually requires a wet mop. We typically have two people doing the mopping. One wet mops and the other follows with a completely dry mop to minimize the floors exposure to moisture.
- A really good vacuum with plenty of replacement bags is key. Many surfaces should be vacuumed prior to wiping. It sounds like double work but it is actually smarter and more efficient.
- A spatula and scraper. The most important thing to remember with these tools is to use them on a low angle and on a wet surface to avoid scraping.
- You will need an all-purpose cleaner. A wood floor cleaner and stone cleaner. We have also found Googone is a good product to have on hand for some unusual situations involving paint.
What you should not get?
If you are doing the cleaning yourself, please beware there are some things you should not do. I recently visited a client who used very dark grout with a white tile. A more popular “industrial” sort of look. The white tile had grout stains on it. These types of stains will not come off with normal cleaning and require a grout cleaner. If a grout cleaner is used, it needs to be followed up with a sealant. This is the type of situation that should be turned over to your contractor to address.
With these products in hand you will be ready to tackle most any post-renovation/construction cleaning!