The Seven Secret Steps To A Successful Post Builder’s Clean
As a cleaning company working on some of Sydney’s most expensive real estate, we never get used to seeing these prestigious multi-million-dollar properties handed over to their owners full of hidden dust post “builder’s clean.” On day one, the place may well look good after having a surface, builders clean, but when the family moves in, and all that hidden dust “leaks out,” we find that it hangs around seemingly forever. Literally.
With human beings, out of sight is generally out of mind. This is particularly true of fine particle dust. Dust is so tiny that the human eye cannot detect it under normal conditions. We’re talking nanoparticles here that can be seen en-masse when they resettle and gather on open surfaces. Or when they drift past a shaft of sunlight, and we see them twinkling temporarily before “disappearing” into the darkness.
When we clean, we disturb these fine dust particles and send them airborne, where they can stay suspended for up to five days. Then they again return to earth to be bothered and recirculated all over again the next time we clean. Even when a gust of wind from an open window or opening of a door disturbs them, it feels like we are constantly cleaning. Many people ascribe the dust as new dust coming from outside their home environment every week. The sad fact is that we estimate that up to 95% of the dust found in the home each week is the same old dust being recirculated time and again. In our view, only 5% or so is new dust either coming in from outside or being created by the residents and their pets.
However, in the case of a new build or a renovation, an excessive amount of excessively fine dust is created by the building process itself. Indeed, just the sanding and joinery, the painting, the formwork, concreting and cutting all contribute to the creation of an immense amount of immensely small particle dust. This microscopic dust is notoriously tricky to remove as it floats around with traditional cleaning methods. It will “leak out” for years to come, frustrating future cleaning efforts as a result. So getting the builder’s clean right is a must.
The seven secrets to evicting finde particle dust – post builder’s clean.
- Step One– The first thing to do is understand how this dust behaves and therefore seal off the whole area. No open windows or doors; close everything off so the dust can settle. No through traffic. Give the dust time to settle before step two. This could take days unless you have a negative ioniser.
- Step Two– Now that you have control over the environment and have given the dust a chance to settle, you need to collect as much dust as possible on this first pass. If you use an ioniser, this process is expedited, but if you don’t, you’ll need patience as dust disturbed actually floats around for up to 5 days. Get a moist microfibre cloth and wipe down every available surface in the place, rinse and repeat.
- Step Three– Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter to capture particles down to 30 microns in size at least. A cheaper vacuum without the HEPA filter will fully redistribute the fine dust into the air with static electricity. It floats again for up to five days, requiring further patience!
- Step Four– Now that the pre-cleaning is complete, we might have captured the bulk of the dust, so the real fun begins now. Presuming that you have done a great job getting at all the accumulated dust you can see, now we target the hidden dust you can’t see by bringing wind flow into the equation. Get a nice flexible feather duster. Again, with the house sealed off, go crazy dusting everything with a wild swinging action, especially into the hidden corners like the top edges of cupboards and kitchen joinery. This will allow wind flow to get into the nooks and crannies and release the bulk of hidden dust lying dormant there.
- Step Five– With the entire house sealed off and the whole place now thoroughly dusted, again give the dust time to resettle. If you have an ioniser, this should take around 4 hours or so; without one, it can take a few days. Running HEPA grade antibacterial air filters is optimal for a successful post builder’s clean.
- Step Six– Use a microfibre cloth to wipe every surface throughout the place you can and rotate these frequently. Microfibre cloths use static electricity actually to attract and capture fine particle dust. Once captured, replace these often as an abundance of dust in one cloth will again make its way back into the environment.
- Step Seven– By this stage, all the remaining dust should be on the ground, and after another Vacuum with your HEPA grade Vacuum cleaner, you need to mop, and the best way is with a flat microfibre mop head. Keep changing the water and re-mopping until you see that the water stays clean, meaning most of the dust is out of your environment and out of your future life as well! Awesome. Well done.
Now for healthier living and how to live dust-free
Now that the hard work is done, it’s important to recap. The importance of minimising the large quantity of dust particles in our homes after a construction or renovation cannot be understated. Out of sight is not out of the body. A surface clean might look nice on day one, but we will be dealing with that hidden dust for a long time if we don’t accept the reality of how hidden dust behaves and how to get rid of it.
For more information about this phenomenon, click here
The truth is that if we don’t get rid of all that hidden dust in your home on the first attempt, it will leak out into our clothes and into our lungs, and we will breathe it in over a long period of time without even knowing why we are feeling sub-optimal. It affects our sleep and well-being, and the importance of making the indoors environment pristine and dust-free is incalculable from a human perspective.
The great news is that even though this problem is confounding and challenging, science has provided a simple solution, and with care and effort, you can live dust-free and enjoy your home and life in unison as you so deserve.