Move-In Cleaning Checklist: Transforming Your New Space Into a Comfortable Home


Maria DeSouza

| Published September 20, 2023

Moving into a new home can be a CHALLENGING TASK. Even an empty house might have nasty things you’ll want to clean before bringing in all your belongings. 

There’s always a possibility that previous owners had left dirt, grime, and dust built up when they moved out; these might carry germs that can cause diseases. 

A good deep cleaning is the best solution to eliminate such health hazards in your new house. In doing so, you must ensure that all the rooms are thoroughly cleaned — nothing should be left untouched.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We’ll help streamline your routine and organize each cleaning task with our ultimate cleaning checklist.

Ready to get the entire house spotless? Let’s get into it!

Importance of a Move-In Cleaning Checklist

Before we give you the move-in cleaning checklist, let’s first discuss why having one is important, especially in getting things done quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.

Advantages of a Detailed Checklist

A cleaning checklist contains detailed instructions on how to clean different areas of your home, from top to bottom. 

This to-do list allows you to perform thorough cleaning without having to remember each step mentally. It ensures that you don’t miss a spot when tidying up your house.

A deep cleaning checklist also helps you identify what cleaning supplies you’ll need for each area. By knowing the essentials, you won’t have to carry all of your supplies around the house, making your task less taxing. 

Additionally, it allows you to focus on more IMPORTANT TASKS, aiding you to quickly and efficiently clean your new house and transform it into a comfortable resting place. 

Specific Areas to Focus On

Previous owners might leave dust, grimy grout, and dirt behind when moving out. If not addressed properly, it could encourage the growth of bacteria, viruses, and even molds that can make you sick. 

There are many areas you should focus on when doing a deep clean, such as the bathroom, kitchen, utility spaces, and outdoor spaces.

But among all these, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND providing special treatment to the bathroom and kitchen, including kitchen cabinets, sink, tiles, bathtub, shower, and other fixtures. 

These areas are frequently used and exposed to dirt, dust, and grime, so it’s not impossible that these become breeding grounds of germs when left uncleaned. 

Comprehensive Move-In Cleaning Checklist

When moving into a new house, having a fresh start is a big advantage. That’s why you should have a move-in cleaning checklist to make sure you don’t miss out on the nitty-gritty details of your cleaning tasks. 

Our move-in cleaning checklist covers all parts of your home, including outdoor areas, the bathroom, or kitchen. It has a breakdown of things you must do to ensure a thorough clean for your soon-to-be home

Cleaning Materials and Tools

Cleaning supplies are the essentials you need when cleaning different parts of your new house. So, it’s important that you gather all of them first before tidying up. 

The usual mop and bucket combo, as well as the broom and dustpan, are the materials you must get for wide areas with hard surface floors. You also need sponges, paper towels, and a microfiber cloth for tighter surfaces.

Brushes are also needed to clean the toilet seat, toilet bowls, shower head, sink, tub, and other surfaces. Ensure that they’re in good shape and the bristles work well so it can remove gunk and dirt efficiently. 

You’ll also need commercial cleaning products like all-purpose cleaners or natural cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar. 

Finally, keep a vacuum cleaner ready to eliminate dust, cobwebs, and dirt on all surfaces of your new home. 

NOTE: The brush you use on toilet seats and bowls should be different from brushes used for the sink and shower head. 

Outlining the Checklist

A COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLIST will come in handy when you want to streamline your move-in cleaning activities. You can group tasks based on the objects or parts of the house you need to deep clean. 

This makes it a lot easier to organize the materials you need, as well as the instructions you must follow when cleaning. 

If your new home includes pieces of furniture, you can organize them into one category since you’ll be using similar materials to clean them. 

For example, you can consider light fixtures, light switches, ceiling fans, and ceiling fan blades, as one group, while couches and other upholstery as another. 

Additionally, delegating tasks by room helps compartmentalize cleaning into stages. You can systematically move through the house, ensuring each area is clean before proceeding to the next.

Area-Specific Cleaning Tasks

There are specific areas that need deep cleaning when moving into a new house. Hence, it’s really helpful if you have different instructions to follow when going through each area.

area specific cleaning tasks; kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, garage, outdoors, extra spaces


The kitchen cleaning checklist involves materials like all-purpose cleaners (or baking soda), a clean cloth, a bucket of water, and a brush or sturdy sponge.

You’ll use the brush or sponge and cleaner of your choice to scrub surfaces like the kitchen sink, walls near the stovetop, floors, and the countertop. You may need to use a little elbow grease to remove stubborn stains

For wood cabinets, on the other hand, use a clean cloth and a gentle cleaning solution that won’t damage the furniture’s material.

PRO TIP: When choosing cleaning liquids, pick ones compatible with the surfaces you’re planning to clean. You don’t want to damage your furniture pieces and other belongings.


When giving your bathroom a deep clean, you’ll need a toilet bowl cleaner, brushes, a general-purpose cleaner, and a microfiber cloth.

Your bathroom will most likely have lots of GRIME and STAINS on the tiles, toilet, shower, and tub. Use the toilet cleaner and brush to scrub your toilet seat and a separate cleaner and brush for the sink, walls, floors, and other fixtures. 

For your bathroom mirror, use a microfiber cloth or toilet paper to remove soap residue that must have accumulated from the previous tenants.

Finally, rinse everything with running water. Let it dry out before using, or use a mop to help absorb water.


You want your bedroom to be one of the CLEANEST areas when moving into a new house. To make it look spotless, you need a regular cloth, vacuum, and gentle cleaning solutions.

You’ll use the cloth and cleaning solution to go over door frames, window sills, window frame, and cabinet doors. This helps remove dust, window tracks, and germs that may be living on surfaces.

Next, use the vacuum to clean the floors, especially the carpets. You’ll want your new space to be free from dirt, and carpets can hold a lot of it.

Living Room

For the living area, use the same cleaning materials as the bedroom. Wash windows to clear window tracks, and wipe the furniture to eliminate dust and bacteria on surfaces.

You also need to vacuum the carpet and all the floors since dust can persistently stay under furniture pieces and they may be hard to see. 

PRO TIP: Most vacuums have different nozzles to help you get to hard-to-reach areas. Use these appropriately for your convenience.


Your garage definitely needs a deep clean, when you move in, especially if the previous owner used it a lot. Soot and smoke from cars can build up on the walls and garage doors.

Use a cloth and cleaning solution for walls and hard surface floors. If the surface is made of wood, make sure to only use gentle cleaners. Also, ensure to wipe the garage door handles with the cloth.


Depending on the outside spaces covered in your property, you might need to clean things like the garbage disposal, dryer vent, and external light switches.

You can use regular cleaning supplies in these areas. However, there are instances where you may need to contact professional cleaning services

Ask the previous owner on how to properly clean areas before you move in to your new home.

Extra Spaces (Basement, Attic, etc.)

For extra spaces like the basement, attic, or laundry room, you’ll want to clean windows, floors, and walls using the same materials mentioned earlier.

Just be careful with harsh cleaners, especially in the attic, since the materials used to build the walls and floor are usually wood, which some cleaning liquids AREN’T COMPATIBLE with.

Handling Different Surface Materials

You’ll need different products and techniques to clean various surfaces, whether you’re trying to clean the metal surface of your garbage disposal, wooden furniture pieces, and concrete walls. 

Dusting vs. Wet Wiping

Dusting doesn’t require you to use any liquid but rather utilizes a microfiber cloth or duster to eliminate dust and dirt. 

Wet wiping, on the other hand, is much more thorough and uses liquid cleaners. It’s generally used to clean harder surfaces like tiles. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be careful when cleaning materials like wood since some cleaners can damage it. Simply dusting these types of surfaces will already suffice. 

Vacuuming vs. Mopping

In a similar way, vacuuming only removes dust WITHOUT the use of liquids, while mopping does. For surfaces like carpets, vacuuming is preferred, but mopping is more appropriate for tiled floors.

Special Considerations for Newly Constructed Houses

Whether you hire a move-in cleaning service or tidy up by yourself, you should be aware of special considerations, especially for newly constructed homes. 

State of New House After Construction

If it’s a completely new home, stay clear of fresh paint, wet grouting between the tiles, or wet cement. These areas shouldn’t be cleaned yet to prevent it from breaking.

Cleaning Tips for New Houses

When cleaning your new home (or new digs) after you move in, the number one tip we can give is to check the materials that make up each area and write them down.

It’s easy to forget that one area is mostly wood while the other is mostly tiles. Both require different methods of cleaning and should be treated differently.

To clean newer homes, make sure to utilize comprehensive steps for effective cleaning and seek for extra tips on cleaning an apartment before moving in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our venture to deep clean your new house doesn’t stop there. We know you have related queries about cleaning, so we tried to answer the most commonly asked questions in this section. 

What Should My Priorities Be When Cleaning My New House?

You should DETERMINE and FAMILIARIZE the cleaning needs of each area. It will help you develop cleaning habits that will stay with you every time you do the dirty work. 

If you need assistance doing it for the first time, there are great move-in cleaning service options around. Try and observe what they do and emulate it when you do it by yourself. 

Is There a Specific Process or Order in Terms of What Gets Cleaned First?

Generally, you should be cleaning spaces starting from the farthest side towards the door. This is so you don’t backtrack on areas you finished cleaning and leave dirt back into it.

You should also dust from the ceiling to the floor so you won’t have to repeat the cleaning cycle. 

How Can I Clean Different Surfaces in My New Home to Avoid Damage?

To avoid damage, check the material that makes up a surface and see if the cleaning product works with the surface.

If you’re still unsure, try hiring a cleaning service, observe what the professionals do, adapt the cleaning solutions they use for those surfaces.

How Does This Checklist Change for Newly Built Houses?

Always take note of the details your foreman tells you. They will know which parts of the newly built house you can’t clean, step on, or drench with water yet.

Where Can I Find Cleaning Tools and Materials I Might Need?

You can easily find cleaning materials at your nearest grocery store, hardware store, or online. You can also book services like a moving truck or professional cleaning if you need to.


Making a move-in cleaning checklist is one of the BEST THINGS you can do to ensure your new home smells good, looks good, and is free from disease-causing germs.

The checklist allows you to focus on your cleaning activities instead of thinking about what to do and what materials to use. It makes you use your time better and makes things stress-free.

Now that you’re equipped with details about how to make a cleaning checklist, it’s time to make one specific to the needs of your new house and start cleaning!

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