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No one wants to move into their new home only to be met with the previous owner’s stains and smells. However, by deep cleaning before you move in, you can achieve that new-house feel even if the house was built years ago. Below are five chores you need to complete to get your home clean and healthy before moving and settling in.

Change the Air Filters

Changing the heating and cooling system air filters is one of the easiest things homeowners can do to keep their space clean, but there’s no guarantee the previous owners stayed on top of this simple chore. Replace the air filter upon moving in to ensure clean indoor air for your family. Mark the date you replaced the filter so you remember to change it again after three months — or sooner if you have pets or allergy sufferers in the family. People with allergies also benefit from using a portable air purifier or adding an air filtration unit onto the existing HVAC system.

Clean the Carpets

Carpeting makes a home feel warm and cozy, but it can also play host to a range of unwanted contaminants including dirt, dead skin, pet dander, dust mites, and mold. Over time, these particles become so deeply embedded in carpet fibers that vacuuming alone can’t remove them. A professional carpet cleaning is the best way to extract pollutants from the carpet and eliminate unwanted stains and odors. Once clean, you can maintain your carpet with routine vacuuming (use a vacuum with a HEPA filter if you have allergies) and annual deep cleanings.

Replace Old Furniture

Carpet isn’t the only place that allergens and pests can live. Dust mites, dander, and bacteria settle into upholstered furniture and mattresses, where they cause odors and trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. If you’ve owned your furniture for five years or more, consider replacing it for a fresh start in your new home. Replacement is especially wise for older mattresses, which see about 3,000 hours of use per year. In fact, if your mattress is more than 7-10 years old, you should consider replacing it (though lifespans vary depending on a variety of factors).

Dust Top to Bottom

Dusting is a breeze when your new home is still empty. Grab a step ladder and microfiber cloths and dust the house one room at a time. Start high and work your way low so you don’t knock dust on surfaces you’ve already cleaned. Dusting alone is plenty for low-traffic surfaces such as ceiling fans and crown molding, but keep a mild cleaner handy for spaces that see a lot of handprints, like doorknobs, windows, and cabinet handles.

Deep Clean the Kitchen

Don’t unpack in a dirty kitchen. Clean the inside of the refrigerator, oven, and kitchen cabinets so you know your kitchenware is resting on clean surfaces and there aren’t any pests hiding out. If you prefer to use liners to keep cabinets clean, this is the ideal time to apply them.

Bed Bath & Beyond reminds homeowners to look inside and behind appliances, too. Rinsing the dishwasher food filter and deodorizing the garbage disposal are easily overlooked chores, but they go a long way toward keeping your kitchen odor-free.

In addition to these big jobs, Care.com names other chores to tackle before you unpack. Not up to the task of deep cleaning in the midst of a move? Hire pros to handle the dirty jobs for you. While a cleaning service can’t buy new furniture for you, they can clean your new home from top to bottom so you don’t have to. That way, you can focus on moving in and making your new space safe and comfortable for your family to enjoy!

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