Household Items You Must Clean Before Moving

So, you’ve signed the lease, put a down payment on the mortgage, paid off the real estate agent, and, you’re ready to clean out of your old house, but not so fast, there are some household items you need to clean out before you do. When you’re moving homes your household items come with you and that means anything inside them comes with you too, and that includes germs, bacteria, and some other pretty gnarly characters.

Household items make ideal breeding grounds for germs and insects, especially the ones in which germs can thrive and multiply.  Pests aren’t picky. Diaper disposals, cat litter, and outdoor furniture all make fine homes for pests. Bringing them to your new house is a bad idea, in some cases, it’s illegal.

The good news is: you don’t have to be a pest outlaw! Here is some advice on how you can clean out your household items, to avoid accruing penalties and keep your house, and nose clean.

Cleaning Your Outdoor Household Items for Gypsy Moths 

Gypsy MothsThe gypsy moth is one bad mother of a moth. Since these pests were accidentally introduced to the United States, they’ve been chewing up trees and causing forest devastation in most of coterminous U.S. You won’t want them coming along with you to your new neighborhood and neither does the USDA. If you don’t rid your outdoor household items of all traces of the gypsy moth, you and your moving company can end up racking up some serious fines.

The law says that if you’re moving from a gypsy moth quarantine area to a non-quarantine area, you must inspect your household items for the gypsy moth and remove all life stages of it before you go. Fortunately, the inspection can be done easily and with the many valuable resources on the web, you can even do it yourself.


Self-inspection is the least expensive way to get yourself certified gypsy moth-free, alternatively, a certified applicator can do the job, but the process is relatively easy to do yourself.

  • Visit and click on the map. If you find that you live in a quarantine area, you’ll need a self-inspection checklist. You can get this at.
  • Once you’ve got your list, carefully examine all surfaces of your outdoor household items for all stages of gypsy moth life and remove and destroy any egg masses you find. This can be done by scraping them using a putty knife or hand tool. After removing them, place the remains in a plastic bag in the sun or a container of hot soapy water and set them in the sun.
  • Bonus tip: Wearing a safety mask, safety glasses, and protective gloves are highly recommended when scraping egg masses. This action will prevent you from exposure to allergenic hairs covering the mass.
  • Check the items you inspect off your checklist as you go and complete the rest of the information on the form.
  • Keep the checklist with you during your move and be prepared to show it if a USDA official stops you along the way. This will not only show that you’ve met the legal standards, but also that you have done your part in preventing your new neighborhood from losing precious shrubbery.

Diaper Genies

Diaper GenieIn your current home, the diaper genie is a household item which protects you and your family from germs within it. When you move, it becomes an infested receptacle delivering germs into your new abode. Not exactly an auspicious beginning.

As a new home buyer, you want to make a clean start, and you won’t want a dirty diaper genie getting in the way. Dirty diaper pails can become rife with mold. Mold can cause respiratory problems, dizziness, and headaches, which can be very debilitating, especially when you’re dealing with the stress of changing locations. Here are some tips on getting your diaper pail ready for the big move.

  1. Roll up your sleeves, the gloves are staying on for his one. Nose plugs optional.
  2. Open the lid and dispose of any dirty diapers outside.
  3. Fill a bucket with warm soapy water and take up thy sponge. Make sure to get every nook and cranny, inside and out.
  4. Hose it down and set it outside for an air dry. The sun’s heat will kill any bacteria left behind.

Bonus Tip: Baking Soda

Baking soda is the key to neutralizing bad odors. Sprinkle some on after applying the soap. Let it sit before rinsing for five minutes to give it time to sink in. Dry the outside after rinsing and pack. Make sure to bring along some Ziploc bags on your trip for safe disposal while the diaper genie is out of reach.

Coffee Makers 

Clean Your Coffee Maker Before You MoveIt’s likely that as soon as you get settled in your new house, the first thing you’ll want is a nice cup of Joe, but if you don’t clean the coffee maker before you move, that could be a pretty toxic cup of coffee. According to studies, when swabbed, fifty percent of the coffeemakers showed positive for mold and yeast and nine percent had coliform bacteria.

Luckily, cleaning a coffee maker isn’t too difficult and it doesn’t require heavy lifting.  Begin by reading the instruction manual. Add four cups of vinegar to the reservoir, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then follow the procedure for brewing a regular cup of coffee. Follow up with two or three cycles using fresh water and run it through the machine until the smell is gone. 

The Litter Box

Cats don’t like change in their environments. It’s a proven fact. Moving locations stresses cats out and can even make them sick. Bringing your old litter box into your new house can help them feel more at home, but it’s one household item you’ll want to clean first.

No matter how cute your cat is, there’s nothing cute about what lurks in their litterboxes. Toxoplasmosis is the disease most commonly associated with cat litter and cats. Cats contract it by eating infected prey and walking through contaminated soil. It is especially dangerous to pregnant women, so if you’re expecting, it may be wise to leave the job to someone else.

Cleaning consists of three basic steps: throwing out the old litter, scrubbing the box clean, and replacing it with new litter.

If you don’t use a litter liner, dump the contents into a garbage bag.

Use the scooper to scrape off caked on litter beforehand making sure the mouth of the bag is opened wide enough so the litter will fall inside, rather than on the floor.

While you’re cleaning the box, don’t be surprised if your cat comes along to oversee your efforts. After all, this is his bathroom, and he wants to make sure you’re doing a good job. Wearing gloves, clean the box using dish detergent, a sponge, and warm water. Harsher detergents may be harmful to the cat. Rinse after you scrub and let it air dry or dry it with a towel. Wait to replace with new litter until you’ve reached your destination. Loose litter does not travel well.

After you move, unpack your household items and enjoy your clean new environment. You’ve done your part to keep you and your new neighborhood germ-free.

Patio Furniture

patio furnitureFinally, the often overlooked patio furniture. Your outdoor lounging oasis will definitely need a thorough cleaning before the move. Depending on where you live, there is guaranteed to be a host of critters and creatures who have left a—ehem, mark, on your outdoor furniture. You may find mold, mildew, cobwebs, spider webs, feces from lizards or rodents, even bird poop. None of that should come with you. Furthermore, a responsible moving company cannot accept furniture in this condition as it poses a health threat to all moving clients.

There are several methods for cleaning your outdoor items including using products such as baking soda, bleach, vinegar, even WD 40. Here is a great link to get you started on cleaning your patio furniture.

Products or solutions to restore your patio furniture before you move:

Teak Wood: Murphy’s Oil

Plastic or Resin Patio Chairs: White Vinegar

Aluminum: Automobile Wax

Wicker: Use small, soft bristled paint brush to remove dirt

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