The Ultimate Move Out Cleaning Checklist

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To clean your apartment at the end of a rental agreement can be tiresome but it’s a must for any tenant moving out. Regardless if leaving a house or an apartment, furnished or not, in order to get the security deposit back, renters are bound to leave the house in a clean and tidy condition just as it was agreed in the initial rental agreement.

That’s why at Abodo.com we tossed together the most in-depth moving out cleaning checklist for tenants to ease your leave and save you from fines and unpleasant property deductions.

The standard rental move out cleaning checklist will widely differ from the average fall dust off.

How to clean the kitchen before moving out?

The kitchen is one of the primary areas when it comes to hygiene and that’s where landlords will start any pre-move out inspection. Follow the checklist:

  • Sterilize and polish all kitchen worktops/countertops, sink and near sink areas;
  • Clean inside all buffets, drawers and shelving;
  • Get rid of food waste, carrier bags, and etc.;
  • Scrub and polish kitchen sinks, faucets,  shine taps;
  • Take care of any congest limescale;
  • Scrub, wipe-off and polish wall or worktop tiles;
  • Get rid of mold growth between grout;
  • Degrease and scrub the oven inside out or simply book professional valeting;
  • Remove grease and dirt between the oven doors and glass;
  • Scrape away filth from extractors and hobs;
  • Scrub buildup from gas rings and gas control knobs;
  • Clean your microwave both externally and internally;
  • Unfreeze the fridge – clean dirt, fungus and any food deposits;
  • Inspect the washing machine inside and out and wipe rubber insulation at the door;
  • Wash soap drawers and filters from any buildup of filth;
  • Clean the dishwasher both inside and out if easy to get through;
  • Scrub the exterior of all appliances, including the pot and the toaster;
  • Remove leftovers and rinse trash bins;
  • Wipe smudges from cupboards, shelving, and drawers;
  • Stack and arrange silverware, utensils, and tidy the other dishes;
  • Wash windows from inside, scrub window sills, ledges and frames;
  • Scrub buildups from woodwork (doors, handles, door frames, furnishing and skirting boards);
  • Wipe dust from plugs and light switches;
  • Hoover, mop, and shine your floors.

“In our humble experience, a dirty kitchen is one of the most common reasons for tenant-landlord disputes that result in unpleasant deposit deduction”, commented Riley Ellis, a professional post-tenancy expert, “That’s why you should always make sure to have appliances, storage and worktop areas spotlessly clean and shiny.”

Read the “8 Killer Cleaning Hacks to Keep Your Apartment Sparkly Clean” and save yourself as much as hassle possible

How to clean your fridge freezer as you leave the property?

Find out if you need to switch off the fridge or freezer before you move out. Details on here are most often a part of the tenancy agreement. For an efficient and thorough clean, do the following chores:

  • Thaw out your fridge before you clean whatsoever;
  • Soak up any melted ice and take water out gently not to spill inside or out;
  • Remove and wash all the shelves, grilles, and slots;
  • Clean any stains, dirt, or food leftover;
  • Scrub the fridge and freezer both inside and out;
  • Clean any dirt and dust that has accumulated underneath and behind;
  • Wash door handles and rubber seals.

If you fail to properly treat the fridge, your landlord could fuss about the details.

How to clean the dishwasher?

People think that since dishwashers are made to clean, the appliance itself stays clean all the time. Unfortunately, that is far from true, especially if you use it on a regular basis as it can amass grease, soap scum, and leftover foods. To clean the dishwasher is a vital part of the standard moving out cleaning checklist. Here’s how to do it:

  • Switch off the device and clean with an empty dishwasher;
  • Remove the racks and utensil holders, and clean food or soap buildups;
  • Disassemble the filter, the spray arm, and the grate;
  • Scrub them with a slightly wet cloth, vinegar and water solution;
  • Check-up whether your filter needs changing;
  • Clean the dishwasher from any leftover food or soap buildup;
  • Use a toothpick to eliminate any food stuck on the blades or the filter;
  • Wipe the interior of the dishwasher with a white vinegar and water solution;
  • Use a baking soda paste for any difficult stains;
  • Dry all surfaces with a towel;
  • Reassemble parts back together.

How to clean the washing machine?

As your washing machine takes care of your dirty clothes, it filters lots of dirt, hair, and other nasty particles. Its interior and filters must be thoroughly cleaned. Before you move out:

  • Remove and brush the detergent drawer from mold, filth and sludge;
  • Clean the debris filter from hair, grime and muck;
  • Add a cup of vinegar and run the washing machine through a hot water cycle;
  • Use a wet cloth to wipe around the rubber seals, handles, and dashboard;
  • Scrub the exterior of the washing machine, including underneath and behind;
  • Dry out all surfaces and reassemble both the detergent drawer and debris filter back together.

How to clean ovens and microwaves before you walk out?

If not cleaned on a regular basis, your oven and microwave will hold the history of all the meals you’ve ever cooked in them. Landlords and agencies require those appliances to be as shiny as new. So it definitely goes to the mandatory move out cleaning checklist.

  • Remove the  thermometers, pizza stones, racks, and pads;
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and nails;
  • Cover all the interior of the oven or microwave with a baking soda paste;
  • Let the paste coating overnight. Meanwhile, wipe the racks and other detachable parts;
  • Scrub and polish the handles and knobs;
  • Clean the exterior surfaces, including underneath and behind;
  • Wipe the inside of the oven with a paper towel and spray around with vinegar water;
  • Dry up and put back the racks and pads.

A peculiar note would be that appliances could disappear as a renter scam. The renters’ life is great but chores are a must. For more details and data check our national rent report.

How to clean the toaster before you check out?

The toaster is one of the most neglected kitchen appliances and can accumulate lots of breadcrumbs and all sorts of burnt food leftovers.

  • Unplug the toaster and let it cool off if you’ve used it recently;
  • Be sure to clean the toaster over the sink  or a sheet of paper as cleaning it can be a messy task;
  • Remove the tray as it is much easier to clean when it’s detached;
  • Shake your toaster so that any crumbs or big chunks of bread can fall out;
  • Use a small basting brush to get to any hard-to-reach spaces;
  • Scrub all parts clean until there are no buildup left;
  • Gloss any knobs, handles, and buttons;
  • Dry the toaster completely before re-assembling and using it again.

Truth is, once the landlord inspects the overall condition of your kitchen, he or she will definitely look into appliances inside and out. We’ve seen this happen more than once, commented Variety Cleaning Ltd. Toasters, ovens, microwaves, they should be all sparkling-clean.

How to clean the tumble dryer prior to leaving the rental?

Lots of fibers and other debris can accumulate within your tumble dryer. Inspect it thoroughly and check the filter for signs of damage.

  • Inspect the rubber seal;
  • Mop the soap dispenser drawer;
  • Inspect and wipe the filter;
  • Clean inside and out.

How to clean the bathroom at the end of tenancy?

The bathroom is also one of the most sensitive areas when we talk about hygiene. Mold and limescale are easily accumulated, thus a bit of extra effort will be required.

  • The floor must be mopped out of filth and spots;
  • Wipeout spider’s web from the ceiling and around the furnishings;
  • Wash glass shower screens and doors;
  • Scrub and sanitize the toilet;
  • Clean all fittings and polish them – hinges, damp cloth, etc.;
  • Throw out old shampoos and soap products;
  • Clean bathtubs, shower installations, tiles, sinks, basins and other bathroom fittings of mold, limescale, and fungus.
  • Bathroom furniture and mirrors should be washed and polished;

How to clean the living room before you leave?

This is the room where tenants gather the most. Cleaning companies can help with carpet cleaning as an additional service, as well as upholstery cleaning, wiping and polishing of furniture, window cleaning and more. Still, if you decide to act on your own, here is what you need to do:

  • Hoover all carpets and rugs;
  • Mop laminate and hard-floor areas;
  • Clean the tops of furniture, wall units, shelves, etc.;
  • Clean up walls and corners from cobwebs, spots, and skid marks;
  • Dust and scrub doors, frames and door handles;
  • Wipe and polish wall-hung pictures, paintings, and other art;
  • Wipe off curtain rails and dado rails;
  • Remove dust and dirt from your light fittings or shades;
  • Clean dirt from sockets, plugs, and switches;
  • Scrub the dust from bannisters and spindles (if present);
  • Cleanup the fireplace and its surroundings;
  • Vacuum any upholstery;
  • Scrub out wall spots and finger marks.

Do you have a lovely pet? At ABODO, you can also search for pet-friendly rentals, too!

How to clean furnishing after a long tenancy?

Landlords and letting agents have an eye for finding dusty and dirty furnishing. Make sure to thoroughly clean each unit prior to moving out. Here are the checklist of steps to doing so:

  • Use as little water as possible when cleaning the furnishings to avoid shrinking their surfaces or watermarking;
  • Scrub any stains or grime;
  • Vacuum curtains and window dressings on a low setting;
  • Inspect the top and hem areas where dust accumulates the most;
  • Dust your soft furnishings with a brush attachment so that no crumbs or other hard bits and pieces can damage the fibres;
  • Wash and dry clean any removable coverings by following the instructions on their labels;
  • Wipe and glaze all hard surfaces to remove any fingerprints and marks.

How to clean drawers, cupboards, and shelves?

When doing moving out cleaning, you should check each and every drawer and cupboard and clean them thoroughly. Here is how to do it:

  • Clear the entire contents of your drawers, cupboards, and shelves;
  • Clean off any leftover food, stickers and stains;
  • Mop and dust the interior, check for any webs in the hard-to-reach corners;
  • Glaze all handles and glass doors;
  • Scrub the exterior, focusing on the top and back sides.

How to clean up entrance halls, hallways, and stairs?

Other crucial areas for your move out house cleaning are the entrance and hallway.  Experienced cleaners will tel you just how problematic dirt and shoe marks can be and how floor and wall marks can negatively affect your tenancy deposit refund.

We can help you get your bond back by ensuring that your landlord’s first impression is a positive one. However, if you feel that you can do a pretty good job yourself, make sure to:

  • Scrub and glaze the front and back doors;
  • Hoover carpets and rugs;
  • Wipe up any shoe marks;
  • Mop stairs and hallways;
  • Wipe dust and dirt of skirting boards, lighting fixtures, wall-hung pictures, and other wall mounts;
  • Wipe treads, risers, balustrades, and handrails of marks, dust or other dirt;
  • Dust-off doors, hinges, radiators;
  • Remove spider’s web from walls, corners and ceilings;
  • Wash and glaze internal windows.

Make sure to polish all general areas as well.

In order to get your security deposit back in full, you need to take good care of all general property areas, such as living spaces, dining spaces and all other supplemental home or office areas:

  • Start with the furniture: sofas, chairs, table sets, shelving, bookcases, stairways, etc. Everything should be a top-to-bottom clean;
  • Mop all floors of dirt and stains with proper cleaning solutions;
  • Wipe the dust from all lighting fixtures, rails, switches, sockets, skirting, blinds and curtain rails, radiators, and furnishings, such as tables, chairs, sofas, wardrobes;
  • Shift easy-to-move furniture in order to properly hoover all carpets;
  • Lift all beds and correctly wipe all underlying surfaces of dust and marks;
  • Perform an extensive floor cleaning of all rooms in the house in line with the individual cleaning solution requirements – wood, hard floor, etc.;
  • Wipe and glaze all glass surfaces with window cleaning solutions;
  • Treat all doors for dust and grime;
  • Vacuum clean all upholstery – curtains, blinds, carpets, rugs, etc.;
  • Polish intensely coffee tables, cupboards, TVs, bookshelves, and cabinets;
  • Execute internal window cleaning of all glass surfaces, sills and ledges (external cleaning should be handled by your landlord).

How to clean the carpets at the end of your tenancy?

Landlords and letting agents often focus on the visual appearance of carpets, checking every corner with a critical eye. Cleaning your carpets while moving out is one of the hardest tasks to tackle. Use this checklist or consider hot water extraction or dry chemical carpet cleaning to surely impress your landlord:

  • Move any furniture that gets in the way of the cleaning;
  • Hoover the carpets and rugs from end to end, repeat the process in the opposite direction if needed, check the textile floor covering for dirty edges or sooth buildup around the baseboards;
  • Tackle any stubborn carpet stains (milk, blood, wine, wax, paint and more) with the accurate cleaning method, bet on the rug’s fabric;
  • Steam clean whenever needed.

The devil is in the details

It is easy to forget a task or two while doing a move out house cleaning, so here is a list of all the small finishing touches that you need to see through to complete the job up to a professional standard:

  • Wipe the dust and grease of all fans and extractors;
  • Throw off all waste and all garbage bags in your house;
  • Wipe and rinse all garbage bins;
  • Wipe and dry all kitchen tiles, along with the floor and the walls;
  • Look through the hard-to-reach areas of the furniture and wall corners for any specks of filth that you might have missed during the initial clean.

Don’t forget to clean the property on the outside, too

The outside of the home should also look equally stellar. All sheds, garages should be organized and cleaned. Driveways, paths, patios and other exterior flooring should be cleaned of any leaves, oil spills, mould, or moss. If the basement has a musty smell, you should also clean that too. You should also take pictures of everything you’ve cleaned and note the day on which you did the photo shoot in order to provide your landlord with proof if needed.

If the property curb appeal is dramatic, consider booking the window water fed pole cleaning service and tip the scale in your favor in case of a potential dispute.

  • Inspect for any rust, scratches or marks on fences, gates and borders;
  • Clean and organize the shed and the garage;
  • Shave, weed, grass, plants and trees;
  • Maintain hedges and shrubs;
  • Scrub any pathway, driveways and patios;
  • Fix any external lighting and decorations.

Check which cleaning tasks are required in your tenancy agreement and complete each one to be absolutely sure that you will be getting your deposit back. Of course, this comprehensive apartment moving out cleaning checklist is also applicable when you sell and relocate. If that is indeed the case, a few expert tips will surely help you out.