How to Clean Up After a Major Renovation

Renovations are notoriously messy affairs. No one wants to find that ubiquitous construction dust on a high shelf weeks after the fact. Not only is it unpleasant, it might also be harmful to you, as well as any pets and/or tiny humans you have walking around. Prevention is key, so take a look first at our guide to minimizing the mess during your renovation. Then, read on down right here for a look at how to make sure the entire space is properly cleaned once your project is completed.

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Unless you explicitly build it into your contract, extensive cleaning is typically not part of your contractor’s job. The industry standard is “broom-swept,” which usually involves vacuuming up larger bits of debris and then running a Swiffer across surfaces. Some contractors may also wipe things down with wet rags. Anything beyond this (including cleaning up common spaces such as hallways and elevators) will need to be specifically arranged, and will mostly likely incur additional costs that you’ll bear as the homeowner.

Clean-up Services

Whether you moved out or stayed put in your home during the renovation process, you’ll need to arrange for a deep post-construction clean up once that last drawer pull is attached and the final coat of paint applied. Homeowners can undertake the deep clean themselves or outsource it to one of the many companies that focus on this service. A warning though—this doesn’t come cheap! For example, estimates from several different NYC companies for a 1,400-square foot duplex apartment ranged from $900 to $1,500, while prices ranged from $1,800 to $3,000 for a 2,800-square foot house.

Clean-up Steps

Usually, a post-construction clean up will include the following:

– sweep and vacuum all surfaces, including ceilings, walls
– sweep, mop, and disinfect floors
– vacuum all upholstery
– wipe down doors, knobs, baseboards, moldings, and hardware
– thorough wipe-down and sanitization of bathrooms and kitchens (including appliances, cabinets, and counters)
– dust, vacuum and wipe-down of all window interiors including sills and frames
– dust all ducts, grates, vents, blinds, ceiling fans, and lighting fixtures
– clean all hardware such as hinges and handles
– clean inside and outside of shelves and cabinets
– clean inside all closets
– removal of all remaining trash and debris (although your contractor should have removed most of this as part of the contract)

If you’re trying to decide whether to do it yourself or to outsource it to the experts, ask the following questions:

– Do you have the energy and time?
– How long will it take you?
– Do you have any money left in the renovation budget you could put toward the clean? (Or better yet, build it in now if you haven’t started!).

Different circumstances will determine who gets the job, but a thorough clean is crucial. All kinds of particles are released into the air during renovations, including various toxins, mold spores, silicates, and ultrafine dust that can damage your lungs. Freshly applied paints, lacquers, and primers also give off fumes. Given the possible dangers to your health, the hefty price tag for a proper clean may well be worth it!

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.