While a new apartment or home may appear spotless, there’s a good chance that the previous owners left many harmful germs behind. And to avoid the build up of viruses or bacteria around your new living space, here are seven reasons to clean your house before moving in.

1. Doorknobs and Handles

Doorknobs and handles can be covered with dangerous bacteria that can cause influenza and skin infections. Because they’re used every day by family members, roommates, or guests that visit your home, you’ll need to sanitize all doorknobs and handles as soon as possible after moving into your new home. This includes not only knobs on your exterior and interior doors, but also kitchen cabinets, bedroom closet handles, bathroom drawer knobs, and patio door handles.

2. Bathtubs and Shower Stalls

The bathroom can contain many harmful germs if not cleaned properly. Bathtubs and shower stalls can contain urine, fungi, or fecal matter left by previous owners, and to protect your family from mold and germs, it’s best to clean these items before you use them. Wash all bathtubs and shower stalls with a mixture of bleach and water, which can eliminate harmful pathogens that could cause athletes foot or a respiratory infection.

3. Toilets

Toilets are another bathroom amenity that should be cleaned immediately. This bathroom throne can contain E. coli, Streptococcus, and in severe cases, Norovirus. The germs from fecal matter and urine can collect in a toilet’s bowl, seat, or tank, and should be sanitized with a bathroom cleaner before use.

4. Carpets and Floors

Carpets and floors can be covered with dirt that gets tracked in from shoes, household food, dust, and pet waste. If the previous owner has a food spill on carpet, Salmonella can grow and make your family sick with fever and gastrointestinal distress. To avoid this, rent a carpet cleaner and floor scrubber to clean all carpets and floor tiles before moving in.

5. Air Ducts and Vents

An older apartment or home can have several pounds of dust, pollen, or hair in air ducts and vents. And if you or your family have airborne allergies, it’s essential to clean your home’s ventilation system as soon as possible. Remove all the covers from vents to clean inside of air shafts and eliminate dust from ductwork. It’s also a good idea to change the filters on all humidifiers or dehumidifiers as well.

6. Refrigerator

To avoid foodborne illnesses that can be caused by a dirty refrigerator, sanitize all shelves, drawers, and surfaces that are inside of the fridge. You may even want to remove all shelving and drawers to wash each item in the kitchen sink. You’ll feel much better storing your food after you’ve cleaned a fridge that once belonged to someone else.

7. Electrical Switch Plates

The switch plates in a new home can be covered in germs that can make you and your family sick. Most light switches have deep grooves where dangerous bacteria can collect and multiply. And to clean these plates, use a damp cloth soaked in water mixed with bleach to clean each light switch in the house.

Clean Before Moving In

Our last bit of advice? When planning your move, take the time to clean prior your new place prior to moving day, even if that means a bit of a delay. Movers from El Paso shared with us that most moving companies will reassemble and arrange furniture as part of the move. If you try to clean after they’ve emptied out the moving truck and gotten your belongings situated, you’ll have to do double the work trying clean around everything you own. To make the whole transition easier on yourself, push up those sleeves and get busy cleaning before the movers ever arrive.

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