White House Cleanup After Donald Trump's Departure Cost at Least $127,000

With 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors and 28 fireplaces the White House is not an easy building to deep-clean. But that's exactly what happened this week.

As President Joe Biden's administration replaced that of Donald Trump, sponges and dusters were out in force to scrub and disinfect 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The colossal operation began after Trump's staff packed up and before the arrival of Joe and Jill Biden. It cost at least $127,000, according to government contract data seen by Newsweek.

Didlake, a Virginia cleaning company that employs people with disabilities, was awarded a $127,000 contract for "2021 Inaugural Cleaning" in a deal authorized by the General Services Administration.

According to CNN, the total cost of the deep clean could have hit $500,000. The news outlet cites separate contracts, including another to Didlake for "disinfectant misting services due to COVID at the White House." That deal is worth about $29,000.

Other contracts, not specifically listed as connected to the Bidens' arrival, included $44,000 on carpet cleaning, $115,000 on replacement flooring and $30,000 on curtain cleaning, CNN reported.

The White House has been contacted for comment.

The thorough cleanup came after Trump and several of his inner circle tested positive for coronavirus. The former president often played down the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. and he and many of his officials were frequently pictured without face masks.

Joe Biden has taken a different approach, with some of his first acts as president set to include a nationwide mask and distancing mandate and a reorganization of the federal response to the pandemic.

Joe and Jill Biden at White House
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden wave as they arrive at the White House in Washington, D.C. The White House was reportedly deep-cleaned before the couple moved in on Wednesday following President Biden's inauguration. Alex Brandon/AFP/Getty

Former White House chief usher Gary Walters was responsible for the building and grounds for 21 years, overseeing the changeover from Ronald Reagan to George H.W. Bush, Bush to Bill Clinton and Clinton to George W. Bush.

In an interview with documentary filmmaker Tim Samuels for London's Evening Standard newspaper, Walters spoke of the difficulty of such an operation.

"You're planning for somebody who might be moving out, but you don't want to talk to them about moving out. Nor their staff. They don't want to entertain the idea," he said.

Removal boxes were pictured being taken from the West Wing last week, before Trump flew to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

'You can't do anything until the family that's there has gone. Families are not left with a partially bare room. It's still their house, still their home. If they have to go up and use the restroom at the last minute, they can do that,' Walters added.

The White House Historical Association has been contacted for context on the scale of the Trump-Biden cleanup.