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Removing Dirt & Trash after Renovating Your Home: A Practical Guide

Renovating your home can be an exhilarating process, breathing new life into your living space and potentially increasing your property's value. However, it's the aftermath of piles of debris, dust, and miscellaneous trash that can be overwhelming.

This practical guide aims to streamline the cleanup process, offering you efficient strategies and tips to remove the rubble, ensuring that your renovated space is not only beautiful but also clean and habitable.

From sorting out recyclables to safely disposing of hazardous materials, this guide will walk you through each step, making the pre and post-renovation cleanup as seamless as your home’s transformation.

Our kitchen renovation project in September 2022

Before the renovation begins

Reduce your waste by repurposing and donating

Even before any renovation work begins, it is expected that you remove a lot of products from the space that you will work in. Once the project kicks off, you will be accumulating trash every week. It is paramount - to keep your sanity - that you keep the space as clean as possible.

It goes without saying that you will need a dumpster (skip) for medium to large-size reno projects. But filling your dumpster with bulky items is not a smart strategy for your pocket. Every time your dumpster is emptied it will cost you more money.

So, as you are waiting for the demolition to begin, think about products that can be re-used or donated, if in good condition.


In our Seasonsincolour kitchen renovation, we were able to donate most of our old kitchen cabinets, all of the roof tiles, the flooring material, our dining table and chairs as well as the fridge and oven (and used this Ninja cooker for all our needs, creating a makeshift kitchen in our garage for a couple of months).

Use Facebook Marketplace to advertise products that you can give away, marking them as collection only so you don't have to pay for their removal!

Getting Rid of Junk

Anything that cannot be donated or repurposed will need to be removed as the works start. Think of parts of old walls and ceilings and insulation. This debris can be challenging to dispose of safely and efficiently.

Start by looking up rent a dumpster near me or junk removal services in your area to find reputable options. You want to make sure that your trash will not end up being discarded unsafely in a field! So please always look up the credentials of the company you hire for the job.

Also, be aware of any local regulations or restrictions on trash disposal, such as specific pickup days and weight limits.

Dealing with Hazardous Materials

Certain renovation projects may involve hazardous materials like asbestos or lead paint. Begin by identifying potential hazards before the cleanup.

If hazardous materials are found, do not attempt to clean them yourself. Contact a professional waste disposal service that is properly equipped and licensed to handle such substances safely. It's important to follow proper protocols to prevent harm to yourself and the environment.

Sorting and Separating Materials

Once your renovation is complete and before diving into the deep clean, it’s important to sort through the chaos that is left behind by your building crew. Start by separating materials into recyclables, donations, and trash. After categorizing, tackle each pile individually.

Recyclables should be cleaned and placed in their appropriate bins. This process may run for weeks, but it's free! Maybe your project was big, like a retaining walls Adelaide kind of work work or repaving your driveway. Whatever leftover material you have, try to give them away, sell or store to re-use at a later date.

Consider donating usable items like fixtures or tiles, and for everything else, make sure to use sturdy trash bags or rent a dumpster for safe disposal.

Additionally, some materials such as paint cans, batteries, or appliances may be hazardous and require special disposal methods. It’s crucial to follow proper guidelines to protect yourself and the environment. To store batteries safely, you can use lithium ion battery cabinets by STOREMASTA to help to keep batteries safe in your home.

Dusting and Vacuuming

Once the larger debris is out of the way, it's time to tackle the pervasive dust that settles after a renovation.

Begin with the top-down approach to dusting; start from the ceiling, light fixtures, and any high shelves, working your way downwards towards the floor. This ensures that any dislodged particles will be swept up in the final vacuuming stage.

Use microfiber cloths or damp rags to capture the fine dust, and don't forget to wipe down walls and any horizontal surfaces. When it comes to vacuuming, a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter is best suited for renovation cleanup. It is more effective in trapping fine particles of dust and doesn't allow them to recirculate in the air.

Start from the furthest corner of the room and methodically work towards the exit to ensure no spot is missed. Remember to empty the vacuum's filter or change its bag frequently as renovation dust can quickly clog up the system, reducing its effectiveness.

Deep Cleaning Surfaces

Once the dust is settled and vacuumed, deep clean all surfaces starting with the walls. Use gentle cleaners to avoid damaging fresh paint or wallpaper. Following the walls, move on to cleaning windows, countertops, and cabinets.

Pay special attention to grout lines and crevices where dust and debris may have collected during the renovations.

For floors, use a mild cleaner suitable for the specific type of flooring. If carpets were installed during the renovation, it's best to hire professional carpet cleaners for a thorough deep clean.

Final Touches and Maintenance

With the bulk of the cleaning complete, it’s time for the final touches. Polish fixtures, clean appliances, and wash any curtains or blinds that were in proximity to the work area.

After the initial post-renovation cleanup, regular maintenance will be necessary to keep your newly transformed space sparkling. Establish a weekly cleaning routine that addresses all areas, ensuring your home remains as pristine as the day the renovations are completed.

Some last thoughts

Completing a home renovation project is an achievement that can rejuvenate your living space and elevate your comfort and enjoyment. While the clean-up process may seem daunting, proper planning and following the structured approach detailed in this guide will streamline the process.

By separating materials, getting rid of junk, dusting, vacuuming, deep cleaning, and safely dealing with hazardous materials, you’ll ensure that your renovated space is not only visually appealing but also a clean, safe, and healthy environment for you and your family.

Remember that the effort you put into the post-renovation cleanup is the final, critical step to fully enjoying the fruits of your labor and investment.


Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.


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