The Best Post-Construction Cleaning Guide

The Best Post-Construction Cleaning Guide

You’re probably familiar with the destructive nature of construction work if you have lived with them. Dust and dirt can happen even when everything is going according to plan. There are special cleaning requirements for post-construction cleanup. If not properly cleaned, brick or drywall dust can cause damage to your home. Additionally, some construction debris could be dangerous for your health.

Pro Housekeepers are experts in post construction cleaning. Our post-construction cleaning tips can help you restore your home to its original state, whether you have completed remodeling or are on the other side of an insurance claim.

Is it difficult to clean up after a construction project?

Before you start, you need to decide if you want to hire a professional or do it yourself. While most aspects of cleaning after a renovation/construction work are the same as regular cleaning, such as dusting, vacuuming and polishing, it is possible to get more involved and need to use specialized tools like wet/dry vacuums and commercial floor polishers. Shop vacs (also called bucket vacuums) may also be required. Although you can rent most of the equipment needed for construction cleaning from your local hardware shop, once you factor in the cost and labor involved, it may be cheaper and more efficient to hire an expert cleaning service.

Do you need a professional cleaning company for post-construction?

Homeowners and property managers often underestimate the cost of hiring a professional cleaner to clean after they have completed construction work. They also tend to underestimate the time and effort that it takes to clean up after a renovation. Although it is tempting to do the cleaning yourself, and save some money, there are many reasons why hiring a professional cleaner is worthwhile.

Safety

Post-construction cleaners are trained to recognize the dangers associated with cleaning up after contractors have left. Professionals are familiar with the hazards of cleaning up after contractors have left. They know how to spot stray nails or glass shards, what PPE to use, and what to avoid.

Skills

Cleaning Pros can do the job, but they are more efficient and productive because they have been trained in the best techniques and equipment to clean any surface or stain. Professional cleaners are also familiar with the hidden places that laypeople overlook. This means that after a professional cleaning, you won’t be surprised if there is a drawer full or spackled paint splatters.

Equipment

You will likely need to rent professional equipment unless you are willing to damage your vacuum cleaner. This is true even if you are cleaning multiple rooms or a whole house. Cleaning pros bring all the necessary tools and can also use commercial cleaning products when needed. This ensures faster and more effective results.

Budget

It might seem like you are saving money by cleaning up after a construction site. But, is it really true? Cleaning materials, tools, rental equipment, trash disposal, and cleaning materials can quickly add up. Not to mention your time. If something goes wrong or an expensive piece breaks down, your cost-savings exercise could cost thousands of dollars. A professional cleaning crew charges a fixed fee, so your budget is protected.

Post-construction cleaning checklist

Here are the essential cleaning supplies that you will need if you decide to do your own post-construction cleaning.

  • Broom with soft bristles
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Handheld brush and dustpan
  • Mop and bucket
  • Cleansing rags
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Dusters
  • Large sponges
  • Magic erasers
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Putty knife
  • Dish soap or all-purpose cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Window cleaning solution
  • Both warm and cold water
  • Stepladder
  • Squeegee
  • Trash bags

Pro Tip – Why vinegar? Pro Housekeepers loves vinegar because it’s an eco-friendly cleaner. Learn all you need to know about cleaning with vinegar .

PPE for post-construction cleaning

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is also important for your safety when cleaning. Contractors might have left broken glass or nails behind. When you enter a property after construction, make sure to wear rubber soled, closed-toe shoes. Dust masks can protect your lungs and prevent irritation from dust and splinters.

  • Shoes with rubber soles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Eye protection

Cleaning tools and equipment for post-construction

Although you might not require all these tools, it is a good idea to have them on hand. You can take a look around your property to determine what materials you will need to clean, such as brick dust, paint, and how you plan to do it.

  • A shop vac is a high-powered vacuum cleaner.
  • Vacuum for wet or dry use
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Floor polisher
  • Power washer

You should also consider trash removal. It’s likely that you’ll fill many trash bags with debris and dust. Even after small renovations, it’s amazing how much it accumulates. Ask your contractor if they have a dumpster that you can use. Or, talk to your waste management company about renting a bag for large amounts of trash.

Cleaning after construction

It is important to organize your cleaning before you begin a post-construction clean. It will make your cleaning easier and save you time. You should start at the farthest point of the front door and work your way down. You’ll be able to move dirt and dust outside more often than you would if it were spread around and creating more mess.

Before you begin cleaning, make sure the area is as clean as possible. This will make the final task much easier and it will keep you from inhaling too much dust and debris. You can seal any areas that aren’t affected with plastic sheeting, which is available at most hardware stores. Masking tape (also known by painter’s tape) is used to attach the plastic to walls and doors. This will not cause permanent damage. To protect your HVAC system, don’t forget about blocking vents and openings.

Use a soft-bristled brush to sweep the rooms as quickly as possible for your first pass. To remove any loose dust, sweep the ceilings and walls. Then brush towards the center of each room. Wearing a dust mask is advisable if the dust is very bad. It can be easier to sweep the dust by lightly spraying it with water.

Tip: If you have a lot of dust to pick up, a wet/dry vacuum can be a great tool. However, if it is extremely bad, you might want to check out sweeping compounds in your local hardware store. These mixtures, which look like sawdust, are used to bind dirt and make cleaning easy.

Cleaning after construction

After you have gathered all your equipment and cleaned out as much dust as possible, it is time to get to work. Major cleaning can be done in multiple steps, or passes. You may start with a rough clean, and finish with a touch up clean up to a week later.

  • Do a rough cleaning

This is the first step of a post construction clean. It involves the removal of all debris and major dirt sources. The property will still be filthy by normal standards after a rough cleaning, but most of the mess will have been cleared away.

  • Take out any construction debris that remains
  • Treat spots and stains such as paint, caulking splashes, adhesive residue and other irritants
  • Clean windows, glass doors and partitions
  • Take off any stickers from glass and appliances
  • Clean out walls, doors frames, and baseboards
  • Vacuum and sweep floors

Tip:Don’t forget about window coverings! Here are instructions on how to clean shades and blinds.

  • Deep cleaning

After the rough cleaning is complete, you can return to the property and do a thorough clean to get rid of all the dirt. It’s easier to clean the property post-construction in two passes than it seems. Even with all the care taken to clean, dust can still settle and move around. It’s better to do a second pass to make sure everything is clean.

Start at the outermost point of the exterior during a thorough post-construction clean and work your way down.

  • Particular attention should be paid to bathrooms and kitchens
  • To clean glass doors and windows, use a squeegee
  • Wash walls, doors and baseboards.
  • Use a soft, dry cloth to dust light fixtures and clean bulbs.
  • To remove dust from HVAC filters and vents, use a vacuum to clean them
  • Clean carpets and floors

Tip: Do not forget about your soft furniture and other furnishings! Before you vacuum your carpets, vacuum your sofas and chairs and give your mattress some love.

Cleanse the area with a touch-up

You’ll notice more dust on flat surfaces after the deep cleaning. Smudges and fingerprints might appear on mirrors and windows. To remove any signs of construction, wipe the surfaces and windows with a microfiber cloth.

Tip: How to keep your home clean and fresh. Our Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning is available.

How to remove fine dust from a renovation

Fine dust is the biggest problem after most construction work. This type of dust can be difficult to contain even if you take all precautions. It can cause serious damage to your HVAC system and electronics if it gets in.

A microfiber cloth dampened is the best way to remove fine dust. You should not get the dust wetter than necessary. It will stick to the cloth and turn to mud. The cloth should be used to pick up any dust, not soaked. You’ll need to do this on all surfaces, including walls.

After each use, wash the cloth and rinse the water out. This will stop you from reapplying wet powder to areas that you believe you have cleaned. Let the area dry completely and then use a vacuum attachment with a brush attachment for any dust remaining. Then, wipe the floor and walls with a damp cloth.

Tip: To remove fine dust from a carpeted area, rent a dry/wet vacuum at your local hardware shop. A vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air), will remove as much dust as possible.

How to clean plaster dust and drywall

Cleaners can be difficult to use on plaster dust or drywall. You risk getting plaster on your home if you get the dust too wet. These tips will help you minimize damage if you suspect that there is plaster in the dust.

To make a cleaning solution, add two cups of white vinegar and a gallon water. Use a sponge to mop small areas with as little water possible. Dry the area immediately with a towel. You may need to repeat the process several times to remove all dust and any dullness or white residue from tiled or wooden surfaces. To prevent contamination, you should switch off the vinegar and water solution once it has become cloudy.

Tip: Use a bucket of water to wash off the plaster dust from sponges or mop – this will save you water and vinegar. If the towel becomes too damp, you should change it.

Clean up mortar and brick dust after construction

Brick dust is heavier than other dusts and can be difficult to clean up. Use a powerful vacuum’s nozzle to collect as much dust as possible. To clean hard surfaces, mix 1.5 cups hydrogen peroxide with one gallon water. Next, use soft cotton rags and dilute it in another 1.5 cups.

Brick dust can scratch wood, stone and varnish if you press too hard. Specialized cleaning is required for certain surfaces like granite countertops. Always spot-clean any inconspicuous areas first, or ask a professional for guidance.

Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub dust from carpet and other soft surfaces. Brick dust should never be left wet on any soft surface as it can cause staining. Then scrub the dust off and vacuum it up.

Pro Tip Dryer sheets are great dust collectors. Once they are full, simply run them across dusty surfaces and then throw them away.

How to clean spackling paste

This putty is commonly used to fill small cracks, holes and other defects in plaster, wood, and drywall. Because of its versatility, it is popular among DIYers as well as professional renovators. After-construction cleans are common to remove dried-on spackling. The surface of the spackling will determine how to clean it.

How to remove spackle from tile surfaces

Wipe off as much paste as you can. Use a damp sponge to clean the area. You can sponge clean any white residue.

To avoid damaging the tiles, you can scrape away any spackling that has dried on the tiles. Cover the remaining spackling in a damp towel. Let it soften for a few minutes before removing it. Next, sponge clean the remaining spackling with a damp towel and allow it to soften until it can be scraped up. 

How to remove spackle from wooden surfaces

Wooden surfaces are more susceptible to water damage than tiles, so it is important to keep them dry. Use a dry towel to remove any water-damaged spackling and a little white vinegar or window cleaner to clean up the remaining residue.

Wood oil can be used to soften the spackling after it has dried completely.

Tips for cleaning carpet spackling

You can’t wipe up spackling paste on carpets. It will only cause more damage. Let the paste dry completely before you begin cleaning. Break off the spackling and vacuum as much as possible. Spray the spackling using carpet cleaner, and then blot it with paper towels.

Final thoughts

Renovating a house can be both exciting and challenging. While you want to enjoy your new home, post-construction cleanups can be a hassle.