If you have just purchased a foreclosed house, get ready to clean everything from floor to ceiling and everything in between. Chances are the house has sat empty for at least several months. Local teenagers may have used the house as a temporary hangout, leaving graffiti on the walls, broken windows and garbage on the floors. Scavenging rodents may have set up housekeeping, leaving droppings and nests for you to clean up. Foreclosed houses in areas with freezing temperatures may have pipes that burst or pushed apart, leaving puddles everywhere.

Foreclosure that sat vacant

Tear up dirty carpets and remove them from the house before you begin to clean. If the house has not been empty long and the carpets do not look terrible, consider steam or professional cleaning.

Sweep out the cupboards and closets, brush cobwebs off walls and ceilings, and then sweep the floors. Beginning at the top and working your way down is best, otherwise you will find yourself sweeping the floor several times.

Mix several buckets of hot water with your favorite cleaners. These should include disinfectants and stain removers. Use one bucket in each room to clean and disinfect.

Scrub ceilings, walls, and finally the floors using sponges and scrub brushes where appropriate. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when cleaning these areas. Dispose of broken, wet, or sagging ceiling tiles.

Clean windows, frames and ledges first with a sponge and your hot water disinfectant solution. Then use window cleaner wiped with crumpled-up newspaper. Crumpled newspapers will make your windows shine streak-free, honest. Remove broken glass carefully and discard by wrapping in old newspaper.

Hire professionals to help on projects that you do not feel qualified to do yourself. For example, copper pipes may push apart during freezing weather. If this has happened to your foreclosed home, you may need a pipefitter to help you. If carpets, wood floors or fireplaces seem salvageable, you may need professional help to clean them properly.