Planning for the arrival of a new baby can be overwhelming. Not to add to the already long to-do list, but tackling a few cleaning projects while you're still in the nesting phase will make life much easier in the long run. The first few weeks with a newborn are a blur, and you definitely don't want to be worrying about cleaning when you could be sleeping.
Tackle these eight areas to get rid of the mess — and the stress — so you can head to the hospital knowing you'll be bringing your baby home to a clean, clutter-free house.
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1. Washing Machine
A new baby means a lot of laundry. (Thank you poop blowouts and spit up!) Take a bit of time to make sure the washing machine is washing your clothes effectively to avoid permanent stains. Get rid of mildew, curious odors, and soap scum that could irritate baby's sensitive skin by sanitizing your washer.
Add two cups of distilled white vinegar to the detergent dispenser and run the (empty) washer through an entire cycle on the hottest water setting.
The dishwasher will be your new best friend whether you're bottle feeding or breast pumping. So many parts! Plus, you'll be doing quite a bit of eating at home, looking at your sweet newborn and wondering if you'll ever leave the house again. (You will.)
If you can't remember when (or if) you last cleaned your dishwasher, it's time to give it a deep clean with vinegar and baking soda. Scrub the removable racks and filters in the sink with soap and water. Replace them and set one cup of white vinegar in the middle of the top rack in the empty dishwasher. Pour another cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher. Then run a hot water cycle.
If you have funky odors, pour in one cup of baking soda and run the empty machine through a full cycle again.
Let people welcome the new baby by bringing lots (and lots) of food. Seriously, never turn down anyone offering to bring you a meal. And if you're feeling especially energetic, you might want to invest in a new set of freezer-friendly containers and cook a few meals in advance of your baby's arrival.
To make room for those frozen meals and leftovers, give the freezer a serious clean-out session. Start by taking everything out and ditching anything old and/or unidentifiable. No need to defrost the freezer, just give it a thorough wipe down with a wet, soapy washcloth. Go back over everything with a clean washcloth to remove any soap residue or leftover crumbs.
Return the keeper frozen items to the freezer. And when you add new items, don't forget to label and date them.
4. Floors and Carpets
Once your little one starts crawling, you'll need to vacuum constantly — because who knows what they'll find in the carpet. However, while crawling is months away, tummy time starts ASAP, and you don't want your baby hanging out on the floor with crumbs and dust balls.
Give floors, carpets, upholstery, couches, and all rugs a thorough cleaning and vacuuming. Now would be a great time to schedule a professional carpet cleaning if it's been on your to-do list for a while.
A stuffy nose on a tiny baby is the worst. You haven't felt like a horrible person until you've squeegee'd your child's nose at 2 a.m. So anything you can do to clean the air and keep dust and allergens away is a parenting win.
All that vacuuming you'll be doing? Yeah, don't forget to clean the vacuum filter every time you use it!
Change the air filters, and put a reminder on your phone to change them again in the recommended amount of time. If possible, have the air ducts professionally cleaned.
Now is the time to let your new-parent-OCD give you the energy to dust the house from top to bottom. Wipe down the blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards, pictures/frames, books, and even the plants.
6. Toys and Baby Gear
Whether it's your first baby or your third, baby gear is bound to take over the house. And since your child is guaranteed to stick everything in their mouth at least once, it's a good idea to make sure it's clean from the get-go.
Wipe down new or gently used baby gear with disinfectant wipes. Old toys should be cleaned, too. Some hard plastic ones are dishwasher safe and can go through a hot water cycle. Plush toys can go in a Ziploc bag with some baking soda and sit in the freezer overnight to kill mites. Hand-me-down clothes are amazing; just give them a fresh wash with gentle detergent before using them on your little one.
7. Guest Room
Before the baby arrives, get the guest room ready for visits from family, who will hopefully be coming to help you out. Honestly, I've never been so happy to see my mother-in-law than the week after my first child.
Now, this isn't a time for you to 'host,' it's a time for relatives to help cook, do laundry, and let you sleep, so enlist your partner to make sure everyone gets the memo. If the sheets are clean, fresh towels are available, and the room is tidy, then your work is done.
8. Toilets and Tubs
No one looks forward to scrubbing the toilet, but you most definitely won't want to wield a toilet brush when you're sleep-deprived. Bathroom cleaning is way less fun with a big belly, but you'll be glad you got these no-fun tasks crossed off the list before your baby arrives. Giving your infant a bath in the sink or in the tub is one of the best new parenting moments, so make sure you can enjoy it without worrying about yucky soap scum or mildew.
Also — let us finally say to the new parent(s)-to-be: congratulations! What a truly wonderful time this is. (Especially after you're done cleaning that toilet!)