How to Clean Your Home After a Renovation

Chad and I bought our house in 2018 and it was, to put it nicely, a true fixer-upper. Yet, with a bit of elbow grease, we got the place looking updated and sharp. It was quite the hassle from bedrooms to floors to bathrooms and a basement, and I must admit it was tough living in the house during the renovation. It’s been a messy journey but with time and a little patience we got through it and I know you can too. During the process, I learned a few tips and tricks on how to deal with the mess, dirt, and smells, that build up during the renovation process, and I’d like to share them with you. That way it’s a happy and healthy process that you can live with and enjoy.

Reno Maintenance

Since I started my cleaning business back in 2006, I have had a lot of professional and personal experience going through the post-renovation cleaning process. I’ve had my fill of these types of messes and the first thing to know is that you want to keep the space as clean as you can during the renovation. Whether you take on that job or the contractor does, it’s really important to make sure that the house is being cleaned up after each day. That way, there’s nothing left on the floor that can potentially build-up or sneak away, like wood splints, nails, or dust. Sanding and cutting different construction materials causes debris to go all over the place and by removing it you’re going to keep that dust from circulating throughout the rest of your home.

Now, this is no time for your regular vacuum, for this job, you are going to need a special one, any wet-dry vac will do. The more you can stay on top of it during the renovation process, the less work you’ll have to do on the back end of things and the smoother it will go.

It is possible to simply put up plastic coverings over things and renovate areas around the stuff, but this only works if the renovation is on a small scale or just one thing is being fixed or updated. Another tip is to tape up and cover any vents and ducts to make sure that no air is circulating through the house. This is something that your contractor might do, but if not, it’s a great little tip to reduce dust spreading during a renovation. An air purifier might be something that you’ll want to consider as it does the work for you and can be really useful here. We did that during our renovation and it worked wonders. We live in a bungalow and it was really important to me that we had good air quality for Brad, the cat, and myself, so we posted an air purifier up on the main floor and had one running in the basement.

Prepare the Space

It can sometimes be a long drawn-out process, but you’ll know that the renovation is finally done and ready for a cleaning when the last contractor is finally out of your space and has taken all of their gear and garbage with them. Sometimes though, you’ll need to do some of that yourself, so make sure you get rid of any of those final materials, plastic barriers, paper, boxes, paint cans, and building materials off the floor . Of course, always be careful and remember these things should be disposed of in a safe and appropriate way.

It’s always good to get your post-renovation cleaning done after the contractors are gone, but before you move back in all of your stuff. A post-renovation cleaning is such an important part of the process as it will allow you to move back into a beautifully renovated and clean space!

Air Quality and Filtration

When we renovated our place, there were many big jobs where certain rooms got stripped all the way down to the studs. From drywall, to paint, to trim, to the floors, ceilings, insulation, and the lights, everything was taken out, and with this came all of those air quality issues I mentioned before. There was a lot of renovation dust and debris kicking around everywhere and we tackled this in a couple of ways.

First, we did regular floor maintenance and vacuuming with a wet-dry vac every day, to remove the larger stuff. Then we popped on our two air filters to catch finer dust and other small or invisible particles that are flying in the air or that you can’t get with a dampened microfiber cloth. If you’re in need of some great cleaning cloths check out Maker’s Clean General Purpose Premium Microfiber Cloth.

Formaldehyde has been in the news a lot lately and it, along with asbestos and fibers, are dangerous toxins to consider when removing floors, ceilings, and walls. An air purifier will tackle these immediately and keep your air fresh and clear. Personally, I like to use the Dyson Hot+Cool Formaldehyde, which automatically senses and traps pollutants and particles, creating a more breathable and safe environment for your family, friends, and pets. It even detects and destroys formaldehyde! In fact, it removes 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These off-gasses come from paints, flooring, fixtures, and furniture, all culminating in polluted and unhealthy air. The advanced HEPA filtration particulate and formaldehyde sensors combine to be a formidable force against dangerous pollutants.

Now, if you happen to have an HVAC system in your home, then you need to change your furnace filter every so often. This is especially important when having just gone through a renovation, as it’s been working overtime and is likely clogged up. This would also be a good time to consider calling the duct cleaner so that you can go into the post-renovation process with clean ducts and fresh air.

Horizontal Surfaces

Generally, a renovation isn’t really grimy, but it can get quite dusty, so we have to think about what we’re going to clean up first. I like to begin by tackling the walls, windows, and baseboards because there is always dust falling everywhere and it often settles on horizontal surfaces. This goes for big surfaces and the tiniest of surfaces, such as the top of door frames, grooves on doors, the baseboards, the molding… Literally, anywhere there is a horizontal surface, dust will settle, having a little holiday, until you come and clean it up.

I like to start by dry dusting the area first. When you think about the components of the dust that you’re picking up, it consists of regular dust and drywall dust. This will get really streaky if you get it wet, so start with a microfiber cloth and dry dust first! Next, if you see any bits of dirt or dust left behind, go in with a cloth dampened in water or your favorite DIY cleaning solution, and give it a good wipe down. Easy-peasy, nothing fancy!

Walls, Windows, & Baseboards

One of the reasons post-reno cleans take so long is that you also have to deal with vertical surfaces. Dust can be so fine and finicky, and is constantly produced during the renovation process. This is why your walls, windows, and baseboards are also going to need a little extra attention. Here, we are going to use a similar process as we did for the horizontal surfaces. First, dry dust with a microfiber cloth, and then use a wet cloth to wipe everything down.


Now, it all comes down to the floors. Once all of your cleaning is finished, you’ll want to give your floors a good vacuuming with that wet-dry vac. Once that’s done, you can maintain your floors with a regular household vacuum. This is where the Dyson V15 Detect comes in handy as it’s got a laser that can detect all sorts of dust that the eye can’t see! You should expect that really fine dust will resettle for a week or two afterward, but you can just go over that during your regular cleaning routine. Remember, the more you’re on top of it during the renovation itself and right after it, the less you will have to do in the coming weeks and months.

Dyson Products

By now, you must know that I love Dyson products. One of the reasons for this is that they are so driven by research and development, constantly creating new products that are more and more efficient at tackling different and specific tasks. A perfect example of this was the development of the Dyson Hot+Cool Formaldehyde.

This product was first tested by the CADR standard, which put the purifier in a small room with air circulation and a single sensor. Soon they realized that this would not suffice and it did not produce the most accurate and efficient results. Instead they created the Polar Test, which put the purifier in a larger room, to reflect what our actual homes look like, and gave it 9 sensors instead of 1, so that it could detect air throughout the entirety of the room. For Dyson, it’s all about performance and they really hit a home run with this product.

Hopefully, you’ve learned a few things today and will be all ready for that daunting renovation and exciting new home! It’s hard to make cleaning fun, but we can definitely make it easier and more efficient. Remember, although tasks might seem stressful or difficult, anything can be accomplished with a good plan and a little bit of work! If you’re looking for more pro cleaning advice, check out the Clean My Space E-Book Bundle.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.