|We're signing on our mini-homestead tomorrow , and will hopefully spend the weekend cleaning and beginning to fix up this shambling old farmhouse. I'm in charge of scrubby, scrubby, so here are my cleaning problems:|
1. Previous owner was a horrible chain-smoker. The house smells like an ashtray (and she was even nice enough to leave us a full one on the toilet). What can I use to get that smell out that isn't going to kill my crawling baby or the dog?
2. Every surface is dirty. It feels like I should just take my mop to every surface, even the ceilings. Is there any more efficient (and less back-breaking) way to do this?
3. What natural deodorizers can I keep in the house to make sure it doesn't stink?
The house smells/looks terrible, so the first thing is going to be getting the plastic off the windows and opening the house up to the breeze, and the second will be scrubbing out the muck.
Any specific advice for me? Cleaners to use?
Well, we are readying my late Dad's house to put on the market at the end of May. He died in November.
He, too, was a chain smoker in his house for 38+ years. Hated open windows, too.
We have had the carpeting removed and are having the subflooring sealed as well as all the walls and the ceiling.
Then, after the sealing is done, everything (and I mean everything) will get primer and two coats of a high quality paint.
You can NOT simply clean the walls well enough to get rid of the tars and nicotine that cigarette smoke leaves. It becomes part of the drywall. The only way, truly, is to seal and re-paint.
What do your ceilings look like and how old is the paint? You should have testing done for lead and asbestos. My Dad's house, built in 1970, has that textured "popcorn" ceiling. I had it tested for lead and asbestos. Happily, no lead. Sadly, plenty of asbestos that must be removed. But, it has to be done before we can sell the house. There are ceiling cracks that have to be repaired from roof damage due to snow load this past Winter. The cracks cannot be repaired without scraping the texture, which is asbestos. Ugh..............
This is a job which can be done by the homeowner, but it is very difficult and MUST be done by the book. Otherwise, you will never get rid of the asbestos fibers that aren't caught in the removal process (a professional abatement company has the proper equipment and experience).
Do NOT go sweeping those ceilings if they have that "popcorn' or "cottage cheese" texture!!! Get the material tested first!!!
Even as I type this, the asbestos abatement company is at Dad's, with haz-mat suits and everything, removing the ceiling texture. Cost: $4,000+.
Do NOT bring baby or dog into the house until it has been cleaned and re-painted and any floor coverings removed/replaced. You don't want them to be exposed to such toxic contaminants.
WEAR GLOVES when cleaning anything in that house!!! I got nicotine poisoning just from cleaning some of my Mom's jewelry and picture frames/glass, I wasn't wearing gloves. Sick as anything for 2+ days, not fun. The nicotine gets absorbed into your skin very easily. So, WEAR GLOVES WHILE CLEANING!!!
I would also recommend wearing a respirator (or, at the very least, a filtering mask) while sweeping or doing anything else that will raise any dust/debris/animal dander-feces (mouse or other).
Personally, I'd hire a profesisonal to do this type of cleaning. Plenty of companies use "green" cleaning products, so you don't have to worry about toxins (other than those already present in the house, thanks to the smoker!).
At my Dad's house, I just don't feel like scrubbing down all the kitchen, bathroom and dining room cabinets and bookcases, and a cleaning crew will be going in next week to do it for me. Well worth the $$, for my time and my health.
Before I can feel comfortable selling my Dad's house, I am having the entire interior cleaned, sealed, re-painted. I am having new windows, new flooring, new counters, new appliances, toilets and a few other things installed. The new roof is being installed this week and the new deck, next week. I couldn't sell a contaminated/unsafe house on moral grounds.
The new owners will have a clean, safe home to move into (the only thing they might want to do is re-paint with their chosen colours! I am going with neutral paint for the prep).
Good luck with your new home!