How do I clean house like a pro?

I’m starting to do some work for my father-in-law, who builds really nice houses. For extra money, I’m going to do the final cleaning of a house once the construction is done. I started one yesterday, and found myself a little over my head. Unfortunately, I am finding that I don’t really know how to clean really well. Newly built houses need a lot more cleaning than I’d have thought!

Specifically, I’d like advice on window-cleaning techniques, and any advice from people who have had similar experience. The house I’m working on right now has over 60 windows, some of them very high up. So far I’ve used just paper towels and a Windex-type spray, plus a razor-sharp tool for scraping hard crap off the glass.

Ideas for tools & techniques?

I prefer a squeegie when washing windows. Also, I saw a really cool thing on TV yesterday…I’m sure someone who really cleans their house will recognize it. It is a sort of teardrop shaped thingie on a handle, and it’s made of something that cleans glass with no streaks or lint residue. Damn…I can’t remember the name of it. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Your friendly neighborhood library will have lots of books on housecleaning. Several professional cleaners have written books on how to clean efficiently and well “the way the pros do,” and some of those books have chapters on how to clean professionally. Off to the library with you!

:smack: Did my mother-in-law (the librarian) put you up to this post?

Actually, great idea, and thank you. I’m so attuned to the internet that I often forget of simpler solutions, like the fact that I can call my mother-in-law at the library and she can look for the appropriate books and bring them home for me. There are some perks to living with the in-laws, for now.

The Glass Wizard.
It looks pretty cool, actually. But I don’t do windows. :smiley:

That’s it, Ms. Reborn! The heavy grime bonnet would be perfect for all my windows. I don’t do them often, and when I do, I have to wage war on all the crap that’s stuck to them!!

Sweep the floors to remove the gross (large) pieces of leftover construction debris.
Vacuum the whole place to remove all small particles that could damage floors.
A good glass scraper to remove drops of paint etc. from glass.
Windex and crumpled newspaper does a good job on glass. Also a new spray can of “Invisible Glass” works wonders. try both paper towels and newspaper. I use it on car windows with the towels.
IF you are doing a deluxe job furniture polish on all wood surfacesabove the floor, and floor wax if indicated by owner.

Doesn’t have a blasted thing to do with windows, but I love me some krud kutter. Works great and doesn’t tear up your skin.

We librarians gotta stick together, you know…we have ways of communicating these things. :stuck_out_tongue:

So you saw the “Glass Wizard” on TV.

I can almost give you an iron clad guarantee that it is overpriced and is an under-achiever. $19.95 + P&H comes close to $30. Not a bargain at $5 ppd.

Buy this “Junk” at your own risk.

I had heard this for some time and thought it was crazy talk. But then I tried it and it’s like a miracle!

When I cleaned houses for a few months once, my boss taught me to clean from top to bottom. Using one of those poofy things on a stick (do they have an official name?), clean high into corners to prevent cobwebs. Then dust, then vacuum. We also worked from upstairs to downstairs.

I’ve cleaned all of Mr. Ujests construction houses.

The hardest part is getting up all the dry wall dust, IMHO.

Sweep and shop vaccuum everything up. Then mop the floor. If the floors are finished ( carpeting/tile/ceramic) it will be easy. If they are still roughed in waiting for the Homeowner to do the carpet decisions, you will need to mop it thoroughly and leave a fan on it to dry it quickly. Don’t want to saturate the OSB boards. That would be bad.

To get final inspection stickers off of windows (and other assorted manufacturor stickers) spray them with Pam and let sit for a few minutes. The oil dissolves the glue. Use a straight edge razor with an handle attachment thingie ( about $3.00 at the store) it should lift easily off.

Don’t forget to lift all the vents and clean them. Even though they are probably loaded with dust and crud from construction, clean all that you can see. Let the homeowner learn that he should have the vents blown out down the road. Its about $400 and up to have that done and that is an expense that every homeowner puts off forever. ( It took us 11 years and it was vile. Construction, dog hair and yucky things.Y’know, the cobblers children wear no shoes…)
One of the trickier things to clean is the bathtub. There is always grime in it from the workmen and one wrong step and it can be scratched forever. Usually the workmen protect everything, but they are walking through the dirt to the house into the house and grime gets everywhere, even with plastic protection.

Rinse the tub first really well and if you need to, let it soak in a bleach mix to get out the darker stuff while you clean elsewhere.

Have fun and take a radio.

As background, one of my businesses is a professional cleaning service, although we don’t currently do construction cleans. Too much work for too little money. :slight_smile:

Rabid Child correctly said you should clean from top to bottom. We also clean from left to right. This is important so that you don’t reclean parts that were already cleaned, either because you made them dirty again or because you got lost and had to start over.

Papertowels, even the best ones, will also leave a lot of lint. Don’t even bother with paper towels for house cleaning. Once you get the paint and stickers off of the windows then clean them once with a cloth and a second time with a squeegee if you want them really clean. Most cloths will leave lint. You can alleviate this, but it takes work. On my last visit to Sam’s Club I found some nice and very well priced cleaning cloths (get the natural colored ones, not red). Then let them soak in water and A LOT of bleach for several hours. You’ll probably have to wash them several times to “de-lint” them. A different tack is to use blue surgical cloth to clean windows, this is a fine weave that doesn’t have lint. Surgical cloth is expensive, but you can buy used surgical cloth. Some of that is not useable but it’s cheaper than the new stuff.

Definitely use a good shop vac instead of a regular vac, particularly for the first pass at vacuuming. Keep your vacuums clean and well maintained. Also, I hear great things about the new Mr. Clean Erasers but I’ve not used them yet.

For the tubs use a good degreaser and then use a window cleaner to shine them after. If you don’t follow up with a second cleaner the degreaser will leave the tub surface tacky. Since your father-in-law is the contractor you should work with him to try and minimize the dirt and stuff that his crews tramp through the house. Look for innovative ways to stop the dirt from happening and you’ll make more money more easily (fewer hours and less effort for the same money).

Also, and this is not the first thing most people think of, make sure you really take a lot of precautions to work safely. It’s easy to get hurt working on a construction site, even if the home is pretty much finished. Learn the proper way to use a ladder, razor blade, etc. Always look before you touch anything. You or your FIL should have some decent insurance to cover you in case of an injury.

Other options instead of pam include De-solve-it an organic orange-based cleaner.

I’ll be doing the same thing in a few months, though I hope they’ll clean those top-floor windows for me (builder).

[indent][indent][indent][indent]To clean houses like a pro get paid for it![/indent][/indent][/indent][/indent]

Great ideas all around, and thanks to everyone for your input. I’ll probably be going to the house this weekend or next to do a large part of the cleaning. I’ll use a combination of the ideas/supplies provided here and try to get back with a report of what worked and what didn’t work for us.

ShibbOleth, I do actually know this one! Mr. Clean Magic Erasers were so valuable to us when we left our last apartment. We had all sorts of dark crap on our white walls, like scuff marks, etc., and the Magic Erasers were awesome. I wish they came in a bigger size though, because they get used up pretty quickly. My husband has also found that the Magic Erasers do the best job on cleaning holes around the finish nails (I think) – I don’t really know about construction terminology yet!

Thanks again, and I’ll update this thread as I figure out what works best for me.