Home renovations require a lot of planning, coordination, and frankly, headaches. It’s generally not as smooth sailing as the professional home-flippers on TV make it look. Once your renovation project is finally coming to an end, one of the last major steps for homeowners is getting your home cleaned so you and your family can move in and get back to life in your newly upgraded accommodations.
Having cleaned thousands of apartments in post-renovation cleaning jobs over the past 3 decades, White Glove Elite can give you some pointers to keep in mind, to keep this process as smooth and low-stress as possible.
Expect Renovation Delays Until the End.
As amazing and well-intentioned as your contractor is (if you are so lucky to have a great one), never believe them when they give you an end-date. Doing so will turn your renovation headaches into migraines, and could cost you a lot of money. Having waited weeks, or sometimes months, to have all renovation work completed, homeowners are often impatient to get it all over with and aim to schedule cleaners and movers as soon as the construction work is done. Over half of our scheduled post-renovation jobs are rescheduled due to a contractor who has taken up residence in your residence. So nod your head and smile when your contractor gives you their out-by date… and then double it as you enter it into your calendar. It’s often a great idea to ensure the work is finally done, and equipment is removed, before sending in a cleaning crew.Despite the best intentions of all involved, we’ve seen countless examples of cleaners arriving on the job to find both construction workers and heavy tools still on the job (preventing cleaning from beginning), or situations where for homeowners have needed to cancel appointments the day of, due to unexpected contractor delays. Both of these scenarios would contribute to costs and time overruns…and the migraines.
One of the most frustrating realizations for affluent New-Yorkers is that bigger money can lead to bigger delays. “With the amount of money I’m paying my contractor, believe me, they are not going to be late.” are famous last words spouted by many a New-Yorker before being carted off to Belvue in a catatonic fit of rage. We once had cleaners arrive at a multi-million dollar renovation where the contractor was putting boards in places meant for windows in the master bedroom so that the client could sleep there that night having exhausted all other reasonable possibilities. To not allow for contractor delays would be like driving to a wedding in LA without leaving any time for traffic. You’d be right. It wouldn’t be your fault. You’d be late because of traffic.Fault would lie 100% on traffic. But when you miss the vows, you are going to be extremely upset… and traffic will not have a care in the world as it seeks out its next victim.
Expect More Cleaners and More Time.
Post-renovation cleanings are consistently the most labor-intensive jobs booked by cleaning services like White Glove Elite. The nature of renovation dust leaves it airborne for an almost inconceivable amount of time. In the same way that COVID has offered new awareness to the flight of water droplets, construction will leave you shaking your head at the presence of new settlements on surfaces hours, days or even a week after your contractor has left the building. It is not uncommon to schedule cleaning crews for an additional appointment after a complete and thorough cleaning. In fact, we recommend scheduling a “second clean” if you have the luxury of time before your stuff arrives.
If you plan on having your “stuff” in your home during construction, do anything you can to plan otherwise, especially in regards to all porous or intricate belongings like upholstery, tchotchke, drapery and blinds,. We have removed plastic covers from furniture in a “sealed” room, and found visible “plumes” of construction dust when we fluffed the cushions. So any arrangement you can make to pack stuff up and put it in storage would be highly advised. The “sealing” of rooms promised by contractors has limited effectiveness. Buildings have drafts and the air will exchange from under the floorboards if it must. Everyone’s tolerance for this infiltration of dust can vary so you should go over all details of the job thoroughly with your cleaning service to set appropriate expectations and ensure you have allotted enough time for your home to be satisfactorily cleaned. For the sake of your own peace of mind, it’s very important to do a walk-through both before and after the clean. Otherwise you may feel ripped-off. If you don’t see how much dust was on a surface pre-clean, you may think that surface was missed when you find a smaller amount of re-settled dust later.
Expect to Use a lot of Supplies.
Again, as construction dust tends to require numerous passes to sufficiently remove, expect to go through a large quantity of cleaning supplies. Cleaning waters must be changed ultra-frequently. Spray & wipe methods with disposable towels should be chosen over rag & bucket methods wherever possible. Ensure there are sufficient rolls of paper towels, spray cleaners and garbage bags available. There is no better tool for this job than a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, so be sure there is one with plenty of replacement bags on the job, whether using your own supplies or relying on those provided by the cleaning service. Ensure you have a buffer of these extra products. Running out of supplies mid-clean is often a recipe for delays and paying for additional cleaning time.
For the green-minded: Exorbitant amounts of paper towel use can be a tough pill to swallow in these days of conservation-minded behavior. You can start by patting yourself on the back for choosing paper towels over micro fiber cloths and dusters, which are leaking those synthetic microfibers into our eco-system. I always recommend the most thorough HEPA vacuuming as possible as the first line of defense. In fact, with the luxury of time, I’d recommend the first day spent with only a vacuum, getting all surfaces drawers, cabinets, closets and walls, hitting every inch of everything with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. This would also greatly reduce the number of paper towels needed. For additional green-ness, ask your cleaners to work only with water as much as possible and just use chemical detergent and sprays where needed.
Expect to be Needed in a Pinch.
When large cleaning teams are being coordinated this is not an ideal time for building access issues or a technical hitch in the apartment to prevent the cleaning from proceeding. Over the years we’ve seen numerous issues ranging from Doormen missing a list of cleaner names, to lights not turning on in the apartment, or the power outlet for the vacuum not working. There are literally thousands of possible complications, so it’s a great idea for you, the client, to be available in case there’s any issues. Either plan to be “on call” or designate a trusted point person to be around in case you will be traveling or unavailable on the cleaning date(s).
While there’s plenty of work to be done to make sure your post renovation cleaning is a not a nightmare, one of the easiest things you can do is to hire a cleaning service or agency that is well reviewed, has years of experience with these types of jobs, and provides the best cleaners in your area. If you happen to live in New York City and can provide your own supplies, White Glove Elite can’t be beat..
Book service online today or call us at 212-684-4460 to schedule an appointment with New York City’s top-tier housekeepers.