Post-Reno Cleaning Routine!

I’ve been all too excited to share my kitchen reno journey with you guys and I have to tell you, one of the things I knew was coming was one epic post reno clean up.
So, rather than just doing it like a normal person (#youtubelife), we’re going to set up a bunch of cameras and film the process for you so that way you’ll know, step-by-step how to effectively clean up after any reno job.
This can be an overwhelming concept if it’s not well planned and executed, but planning for this ahead of time will save you loads of time and effort.

So, is my post-reno plan ahead checklist: 
  • Have a new furnace filter on standby.  Once the reno is done, you’re going to change your furnace filter. 
  • Keep your windows open as much as possible, the air circulating through will help with the dust as well as any smells from off gassing paint or materials.  Plus, who wants to smell reno dust all the time? If your contractor (or you) prefers to work with them closed, open them as soon as the work day is done. 
  • Move as much stuff out of the way as possible to clear up your reno space.  That way you’re not dealing with clutter while you are manoeuvring heavy sharp tools and materials everywhere.  Also, you can keep dust away from these items – well, you can try to. 
  • Remember that dust is tiny and floats, so it’s going to end up pretty much everywhere, whether you want it to or not.  You’re going to have to accept a certain level of dust until this whole deal is done.
  • Clean as you go – have a shop vac or broom handy and sweep or vacuum daily.  Yes, it’s extra work but it is absolutely critical to keep dust to a minimum.  You’ll trapse it around the house otherwise and it will get absolutely everywhere.  If you have a contractor, you should ensure this is included as part of your agreement. 
  • Consider a shop vac if you are going to have a lot of drywall dust – the fine particles can clog a regular vacuum filter and, well, kind of ruin it.  So, a little dust is OK but a lot of it calls for a proper shop vac. 
  • If your reno was enormous, consider calling in a duct cleaner.  You can clean as much as you like, but ducts will house the dust sediment and that will get re-circulated throughout the house through your HVAC system.
  • Your vacuum should have a HEPA filter on it to get as many fine particles as it can. Shop vacs don’t come with these, at least not that I’ve seen, but your regular vacuum will.
Now that we have that out of the way, here’s how to actually clean a space that’s been renovated. 
Start with an empty space and always work your way from the top to the bottom, that’s the way dust settles.
Begin by vacuuming and wiping everything down, and cover all horizontal and vertical surfaces, since this dust sticks absolutely everywhere.  
To clean walls and moulding, use a flat head mop.  You can use it dry or slightly dampened to pick up the dust. 
Next, clean your light fixtures if you have them.  Remove the fixture cover and clean with warm soapy water, rinse, dry and replace.  I have potlights so I am not going to do this, but if we had our old fixtures in here, you better believe I’d be doing this! 
Then, section by section, working from top to bottom around the room, you are going to clean.  Every single corner, nook and cranny will be touched by you because that dust gets absolutely everywhere.  Start by vacuuming the surface with an appropriate attachment, then wiping with a dampened microfiber cloth.  You can just use water since nothing is actually dirty, it’s just dusty.  Now if it is dirty, go ahead and use some dish soap and water but that’s about all you need.   You want to get every angle, side and ledge to ensure no dust is left behind.  So for this cupboard, that means the top, side, front, inner door, hinge and each shelf.   Closer to the bottom, you can ensure your baseboards are super clean by vacuuming with a crevice tool and wiping with a dampened cloth.  
If there was upholstery, use an upholstery brush on your vacuum and run several passes over each area to ensure you get all that dust up.  Upholstery can act as a sponge and absorb a lot of this so you have to really work it! 
If you were covering any furniture, the same rules apply.  Remove everything, vacuum the furniture, wipe every angle, and then of course, wipe each item as you replace it. 
Light switch plates and vents can also be removed and wiped, then replaced, or just cleaned really well to remove any build up.  
If you have appliances, move those out of the way and clean the floor space underneath to get rid of any excess dust that’s fallen behind.
Once this is all done, I recommend vacuuming once more.  Dust will have fallen to the floor while you were cleaning, so get rid of it and keep it from re-settling on your freshly cleaned space.  
And now, you can finally start replacing everything where it belongs.  Remember to wipe each item with a damp microfiber cloth before doing so, because it’s quite likely that anything in the house will have a think coating of dust.  Keep in mind that you may still see dust resettling over the next few days and within a week it will be gone.  It is just so fine that it’s nearly impossible to remove it all with one go!  
So, I know it’s a lot of work but I promise you, with this much effort, your newly renovated space will look useable, clean and gorgeous in no time! 
This week’s comment question is, what was the biggest reno nightmare you dealt with?  
Let me know in the comments below because I love hearing from you guys! 
post reno cleaning pin
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Melissa Maker is the host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube, editor-at-large of, and founder of Clean My Space (a well-known Toronto-based cleaning service). She's been knee-deep in the cleaning game since 2006. Follow Melissa: @MelissaMaker on Instagram, SnapChat & Twitter!


  1. Hi ,
    Very helpful video indeed .. I am dealing with a huge reno around my whole house now a days but i have come accross many paint stains on kitchen tiles and some glue stuck to the tap ( not normal glue which could be wiped off with the wd-40)
    Would be great if u had any tips to deal with them??
    Thanks much

  2. Oh my-still dealing with our our Reno of the entire downstairs!!! DUST, DUST, DUST! Thanks for your video. Will use your ideas as I continue to unpack and bring things in from the garage.

  3. That’s a much needed post for me! I’m still living with my parents, but we are almost done with a huge kitchen reno.. walls falling down, new floor, new kitchen cabinets etc. And I can’t wait to clean everything and to get rid of the dust and reno smell.. So I sure will use your tips and post reno cleaning routine, already feel so motivated to do it! 🙂

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