When you finally get all that construction work done, it can feel like an enormous weight is lifted off your shoulders. Soon you’ll be living in a fresh, new home with the features you know will make your life more comfortable and more manageable. Of course, the days immediately following construction aren’t always as blissful as we imagine. Construction makes a big mess, and no matter how tidy your team was, there are things you’re going to want to do cleaning-wise before you start using the space.
Construction messes aren’t like other messes, so it might feel overwhelming to know where to begin. It can be particularly alarming to learn about how unsafe some of the dust and materials might be for you and your family. The following will break down how to tackle the post-construction clean up without stressing too much.
Ventilation Is Key
Even if your home is spotless post-construction (and let’s be honest, it isn’t), you’re going to want to emphasize ventilation for the next few days at the minimum. This is because construction produces a lot of particulate matter in the form of dust, smoke, and teeny flakes of insulation, drywall, or other products like cement dust. If paint and varnish have been used, these also release particles known as volatile organic compounds. All of these particles are floating around in the air, and they are bad for your health (and are the chemicals in the cleaning products you’re most likely using). This can result in increased risks of cancer, respiratory illness and make people with asthma or allergies miserable.
If you don’t think this is serious, take a moment to do your research. Particulate matter is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide—that’s right, one in every five deaths is preventable and tied to indoor or outdoor air pollution. And things like paint and new carpeting continue to release particulate matter into your air for a year or two after you use them. Get all your windows open so the fresh air can come in. Ideally, you want windows on opposite sides of the building open to allow for a cross breeze.
Turn On Fans Strategically
In addition to ventilation, you want to encourage the air to circulate throughout your home. You want air being pulled in one window and out the other, which means you need to pay attention to which direction the ceiling fans are spinning and where floor fans are pointing.
Consider An Air Filter
If you live in an area where opening the windows isn’t ideal, either because it’s winter and freezing out, it’s allergen season, or you live in a highly polluted city, consider an air filter. Air filters can work wonders when it comes to the cleanliness of your home.
If you have house plants you wanted to move in post-construction or plan on buying some, get those early. Indoor plants clean the air in your home (and reduce stress and improve your mood). Getting your house plants inside as soon as possible helps you clean the things you can’t see.
Rent A Dumpster
Once you’ve got as many air-cleaning methods going as possible, it is safe to enter your home and get to work. You’re probably going to have to get rid of a lot—plastic sheets, odd cuts of flooring left over, garbage bags full of dust, etc. Look for a dumpster rental in your area (local tends to be cheaper) and have a large bin delivered. If you’re located in Athens, Georgia, for instance, look up dumpster rental in Athens, GA. This way, you can toss all the mess out and don’t have to use your car or spread the rubbish out over the next five garbage days to get rid of it all.
Once the oversized items are out of the way, it’s time to take the shop vacuum to everything. Let’s capture as much of that particulate matter as we can. Use the attachments and vacuum the trim, the windows, the banister—anything where dirt or dust could accumulate.
Once you’ve thoroughly vacuumed the entire house (even if construction was only in one room), it’s time to take a damp cloth and wipe everything down. Wipe down the walls, the trim, the doors, the windows—everything. The wet cloth will capture the last bits of dust.
If you follow the above steps, you’ll be well on your way to cleaning up your home post-construction. More than this, you’ll be doing it in a way that is safe for you and your entire household.
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