Get Your Deposit Back: A Move-Out Cleaning Checklist
The last thing you want to do before you leave one home to start another is clean out the old place. But alas, it must be done, so just throw on some tunes, grin and bear it. If your place is just surface dirty and not damaged, how well you clean could be the difference between getting back your deposit money that has been held hostage for years or not. So here is a checklist of things not to forget as you prepare your home for its next inhabitants.
Take all nails and screws out of the walls and ceiling and putty them smoothly.
Dust the ceiling fixtures.
Dust all ledges.
Clean the windows.
Clean the door knobs and doors.
Clean all light switches and outlets.
Clean the walls and baseboards.
Vacuum (get any stains out of the carpet, or get the carpet professionally cleaned).
Get rid of all cobwebs
Get soap scum off the bathroom tiles and tub/shower and bleach the grout.
Clean out the bathroom drawers and vanity, making sure you get all the hair out (and remove any liners).
Clean the toilet, sink, countertop and finally the floor (sweep and mop). If the toilet seat is unsavory looking, replace it.
Clean the mirror.
Vacuum out the surface of the exhaust fan if super dusty.
Clean out all cabinets and liners.
Wash the front of the cabinets.
Clean and disinfect all countertops.
Clean and shine up the sink and faucet.
Scrub the refrigerator inside and out. Remove all shelves and clean separately if necessary.
Scrub the oven inside and out. Remove shelving, drip pans and burners. Use steel wool, it is your friend.
Clean out the dishwasher if you have one.
Clean exhaust fan if needed.
Remove all appliances and sweep behind them.
MOVE OUT CLEANING TIPS
START CLEANING AFTER PACKING
Start your home cleaning after your furniture has been dismantled and the moving boxes have been packed. It’s easier to clean uncluttered spaces – plus you’ll be less likely to trip over things. It is also very time consuming and strenuous having to lift up heavy couches and bed frames so that you can clean under them.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL CLEANING COMPANY
We always recommend hiring a professional cleaning company to do your final clean. The reason for this is it needs to be thorough as this is not just a regular weekly clean. Experienced cleaners know where dirt and grime build up and which areas to focus on. They also have the right products and equipment for every room. If you were renting the property, having professional cleaners do the final clean will mean there is a far greater chance of receiving your rental bond back from the real estate agent
MATERIALS RECOMMENDED FOR THE JOB
Having made the previous point about hiring a cleaning company, should you want to go it alone, ensure you have the following essential cleaning supplies before starting:
- Duster • Broom, dustpan and brush • Vacuum cleaner • Glass cleaner • White vinegar • Bicarb soda • Disinfectant • Oven cleaner • Cleaning cloths and rags • Mop • Bucket • Sponges and scouring pads • Rubber gloves
EVERY ROOM COUNTS
Dust every room. Pay attention to:
- Corners • Built in shelves and wall units • Skirting boards • Window frames and sills • Door frames • Blinds • Light fittings • Vents
TAKE IT SLOW
Tackle one room at a time. Vacuum each room. Mop any non-carpeted floors. The kitchen and bathroom will probably require the most work.
checklist: move-out cleaning
When it comes time to move out of your current apartment and into something new, no doubt that you’ll be focused on getting 100% of your security deposit back (check out our tips here). And there’s no worse feeling than cleaning your heart out only to have your landlord charge you to have it re-cleaned. Why do they do this? Professional cleaning companies cover special details that tenants tend to overlook.
What usually happens is that when tenants are busy moving, they’re now invested in making their new place look great and just moving out of the old place quickly. Typically, when tenants elect to clean the apartment themselves, they’re rushed and maybe a little stressed out so things that cleaning companies scour and scrub can sometimes be missed. We’ve got you covered with our Move-Out Cleaning Checklist to help make sure that those hidden nooks and crannies sparkle.
There’s no such thing as over-cleaning an apartment and as a rule of thumb, you want to leave your apartment “as clean as the day you moved in”. If you don’t want to be charged for cleaning from your security deposit, we recommend that you leave it cleaner.
First, make sure that you have a full day to dedicate to cleaning and all of your personal belongings have been moved out. This includes taking down any curtain rods and their hardware, recycling phone books and menus left in the drawers, clearing out cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, etc. Then, with a fresh set of eyes, look at your apartment as if you were moving in to it and were putting things away. You don’t want to place your glasses on dusty shelves or hop in a shower where the walls haven’t been scrubbed down. Then, get to work room by room. We like to start in the bedroom and work our way out towards the front or back door to ensure that there are no footprints on the floor we just cleaned.
MOVING YOU HOME
When you are moving out of an apartment, one of the most pressing things to consider is how to get your full security deposit back. After the moving truck is loaded up, your landlord will likely conduct a final inspection of your unit. Based on this assessment, they will estimate the repair costs of any damages they discover and deduct that amount from the security deposit you paid with your lease application. To get your full deposit back, here is a move out cleaning checklist.
PURCHASE THE RIGHT SUPPLIES
To clean most efficiently make sure you have plenty cleaning supplies and equipment.
GIVE ALL ROOMS A ONCE OVER
Start by giving the entire place a once over
TACKLE THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is one the most highly contested areas when it comes to getting a deposit back. Errors here could cost you hundreds of dollars from your deposit reimbursement.
MOVE ON TO THE BEDROOM
Now that you’ve conquered the kitchen, you can move on to the other rooms. The bedroom should be easy
A Moving Out Cleaning Checklist for Tenants
Although every property is likely to have slightly differing cleaning requirements when it comes to moving out, we’ve saved you some hard work by putting together a collection of cleaning tips, with a bonus cleaning checklist you can use as a tenant moving out of your rented accommodation.
Some of these you may already be accustomed to doing on a regular basis, but we wanted to cover all bases to ensure you’ve got the best chance of regaining your deposit if you’ve decided to do a great deal of the move out cleaning yourself. We’ve also noted where we think a professional would come in handy to help ensure everything looks as good as new before you depart
The windows (inside and out)
Perhaps one of the larger jobs on our cleaning checklist, you’ll need to give your windows some TLC when you move out, especially if you haven’t employed the help of a regular window cleaner. When it comes to cleaning the inside of your windows, you’ll need to ensure that all dirt and dust is removed first, then use a glass cleaner generously on the windowpanes. If you prefer, you could instead make a homemade solution, using white vinegar, washing up liquid and surgical spirit or water. Use a microfibre cloth to ensure the glass is left sparkling and streak free. This solution also works wonderfully on mirrors.
Defrost your freezer
The best and easiest way to defrost a freezer is to simply turn it off, pad it with towels and newspaper and let the ice slowly melt. We highly recommend doing this in advance of moving, as it’s not something you’ll want to deal with on your last day in the property.
The inside and outside of the fridge
Not forgetting the fridge, you will want to remove all food and give your fridge a good wipe down to eliminate any grime or spillages that have occurred. If you can take the shelves and drawers out, do so, and wash those up separately, so when you put it all back together your fridge is squeaky clean. For any awkward dirt, you can use a solution of vinegar and water to break it down.