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Moving? How to Clean your new home during Covid-19

Moving during the Coronavirus pandemic can be stressful and it’s likely you have some concerns about the entire process. From packing and loading your items, transporting them to your new home and unpacking at your new home, there is a lot to consider.

1) Have the proper cleaning supplies on hand.

Being prepared to clean all types of surfaces before, during and after your move is important. You don’t want to have to stop everything to run to a store!

The Government of Canada has dedicated a page on their website to helping you choose a disinfectant that will kill viruses. However, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your cleaning product contains the appropriate amount of bleach, at least 60%-70% alcohol (note that alcohol that is designed for consumption is not effective in cleaning surfaces!), or is a prepared product such as those sold by brands such as Lysol or Clorox (be sure to read the label to ensure it’s designed to kill viruses and bacteria). Have some rubber gloves on hand too!

2) Clean before you unload and unpack.

This may be obvious, but before you start to move items into your new home, do a thorough cleaning. We know COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted through respiratory droplets when an ill person coughs or sneezes. It’s not yet known how long the virus causing COVID-19 can live on surfaces, however, early evidence suggests it can live on objects and surfaces from a few hours to days.

Wearing rubber gloves, be sure to clean the kitchen (refrigerator, stove, oven, dishwasher, pantry, drawers, handles, etc.), bathrooms, and all high touch surfaces (light switches, door knobs, window panes, etc). Doing this before you bring items into your home will make the unpacking process much easier and faster.

3) Clean floors before unpacking.

Further to #2, don’t forget to clean the floors before you start to bring things into your new home!

It’s still unknown if, or how long, the coronavirus is able to survive on softer surfaces like clothing or carpeting. Research indicates that it’s far more likely to live on hard, flat surfaces, however, if you’re moving into a new home with carpeting, it’s never a bad idea to clean the carpets not only to eliminate traces of the virus, but to also remove any dirt or pet hair and dander from the previous owner.

4) Hiring moving help? Take steps to limit physical contact.

If you’ve decided to hire people to help with the loading and unloading portions of your move, you’ll need to consider the steps necessary to limit physical contact with them personally, as well as their contact with your items and home.

A few steps you should take are:

  • Do not shake hands when greeting movers.

  • Sign documents or agreements virtually before moving day to avoid having to sign paperwork in person when the movers arrive.

  • Have hand sanitizer by the door in case movers are not wearing gloves.

  • Keep doors propped open for movers to come in and out without having to touch door knobs.

  • Designate 1 or 2 rooms (or the garage if you have one) for “uncleaned items” to be placed as they come off the truck or out of the moving container. This will give you more control over the unpacking process and allow you to properly clean things before moving them to another area of the house.

  • Clean high touch surfaces like switches, door knobs, toilets, and taps BEFORE AND AFTER the movers are there.

5) Clean moving boxes and items.

Before opening and unpacking cardboard or plastic moving boxes you should clean the exteriors with an approved product that kills the virus. Do the same to furniture like desks, tables, chairs, bed frames, etc., before moving them to their permanent location in your new home.

As we mentioned in #4 above, if you designate 1 or 2 rooms, or your garage for “uncleaned items” as they first come into your home you’ll have more control over the cleaning and unpacking process and be able to keep track of what has been cleaned vs. what has not.


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