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Apartment Living: Don’t Unpack Your Bags Until You’ve Done These 5 Things

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Apartment Living: Don’t Unpack Your Bags Until You’ve Done These 5 Things

As you’re handed the keys to your new apartment, it’s hard not to daydream about unpacking and making the place your own. A new apartment is a fresh start, a blank slate.

However, before unpacking those bags you might want to consider deep cleaning your new home.

While your new apartment might look fairly clean, and even if the landlord promised that he hired a cleaning company, something was likely overlooked. Doing an extensive deep cleaning session before unpacking will save you time, money, and energy.

Take advantage of the empty space and start cleaning!

Snake the drains

If you live in an apartment complex, you likely share plumbing with your neighbors, which means your drains will probably get clogged at some point (your landlord may never openly disclose this).

Put on a pair of rubber gloves and use a plumber’s snake, also known as a drain auger, to get out any clumps of hair, soap scum, toothpaste, or anything else that might have been shoved down the drain. The snake will break up clumps and should snag any remaining hairballs that reside in the drain.

To avoid a clogged bathroom sink in the future, use a sink strainer. This will stop any foreign objects from entering your drain.

Spray the crevices

While most apartment complexes handle pest control for the building, sometimes a few pesky critters sneak their way in. First, let your landlord or property manager know; they may be able to get the company to respray the area. However, that could take up to a few weeks and pests have been known to cause health issues and property damage.

While you’re waiting, do a general sweep of your apartment, and look for cracks and crevices where bugs or rodents can crawl in. Common areas are around doors, pipes, and windows. Make note of where pests are likely getting in.

You can stop pests from entering your home with a natural, safe approach. Many people find the scent of peppermint oil to be refreshing, but mice and other insects detest the smell. All you need is some water, about five to six drops of peppermint essential oil, and a spray bottle. Lightly spray the repellent around the apartment, focusing more on the trouble areas.

Eucalyptus oil is another powerful pest deterrent. The powerful smell is fantastic for getting rid of sand flies but can also eliminate mites, aphids, and earwigs. Simply, combine a teaspoon of eucalyptus oil and a half-teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and a few cups of water. Using a spray bottle, apply the solution to your house plants and watch the bugs disappear.

Steam clean the couch

If you’re like most first-time apartment owners, you likely have some hand-me-down furniture. Or maybe your apartment came furnished. Before you start relaxing on the couch, you might want to give it a good cleaning. Couches are excellent at holding onto dirt, pet hair, allergens, and bacteria, as well as housing dust mites and bedbugs.

Using an upholstery cleaner or a fabric cleaner, go over the entire couch, even the pillows. The cleaner should reach about 150 degrees Fahrenheit to sanitize and 212 degrees Fahrenheit to disinfect the surface. Spend about 30-45 seconds on small sections and give extra attention to especially dirty spots. Wait until the couch is fully dry before sitting on it.

Disinfect the tub

Unlike walk-in tubs, standard tubs don’t come with a self-cleaning function. That means the job is up to you. Since your bathroom sees a lot of traffic throughout the day, it is a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria. If cleaning the tub with a bleach solution doesn’t sound like your style, there are plenty of other options.

A popular natural option is to mix a 50/50 water/vinegar solution in a spray bottle. Because vinegar is extremely acidic, it is great for killing bacteria and dissolving soap scum.

Another way is to take baking soda and water and creating a paste. Baking soda is a mild alkali and will cause dirt and grease to dissolve. Also, baking soda neutralizes acids and bases, so any odd odors will be eliminated.  

Wipe down the fridge

A ridge should be deep cleaned every three to four months. Since the fridge houses raw and cooked foods, drinks, condiments, and other random objects, it is vital that the fridge is kept clean. A clean fridge will prevent you from getting food poisoning and make the rest of your food look more appetizing — who wants to eat dinner when there’s a moldy sandwich right next to it?

Avoid using kitchen cleaners that contain harsh disinfectants — like bleach. The strong chemicals are most likely to make you or any guests you have sick. When it comes to cleaning out the fridge, stick to natural cleaners or specially formulated products.

There are few better feelings that a clean apartment, and it’s best to clean before you’re fully moved in. Not only will you not have to move furniture out of your way, but cleaning the place will give you peace of mind.

Carlee Linden is a Content Management Specialist for BestCompany.com. Having majored in Writing Studies, Carlee spends her time refurbishing furniture, watching Netflix, and dreaming of vacationing in Australia.

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