Move-Out Cleaning: A Comprehensive Checklist
When you’re moving out, giving your old place a good scrub down is essential. Whether your main motivation is to leave your former home looking nice for the new owners or simply to get your security deposit back, a top-to-bottom clean will go a long way.
To that end, we’ve brought you a comprehensive move-out cleaning checklist. If you follow these steps to the letter, you can rest easy knowing you’ve left the home looking as good as new — or even better.
What to clean in every room
In general, you’ll want to do your best to clean each room from top to bottom. That way, if any dust or debris falls on the floor while you’re cleaning, it’s no big deal. You’ll get it later when you complete the final step for each room, which is mopping or vacuuming the floor.
- Take any nails or screws out of the walls: Most of the time, all it takes is a little commercial putty and some paint to get the walls back to their original state. Be sure to use a putty knife when applying the putty for the best results.
- Get rid of any cobwebs: There’s no great secret to getting rid of cobwebs. All you need to do is take a broom or long-handled duster and knock them out of wherever they’re hiding.
- Dust the light fixtures: Carefully stand on a step stool and use a damp cloth or another duster to wipe down any ceiling fixtures.
- Dust the blinds: While you’re dusting, use a cloth or even an old sock to wipe down the blinds.
- Clean the windows: Start by sweeping any dust and debris away from the window frame. Then, apply your favorite glass cleaner generously and wipe the windows down with a microfiber cloth.
- Wipe down the walls and doors: Usually, to clean walls and doors, all you need is some water mixed with a little bit of non-abrasive cleaner. Dip a clean sponge in the mixture and wring it dry before gently cleaning the wall. Use caution because certain paint finishes, especially flat, satin, and eggshell finishes, are less durable.
- Sanitize the light switches and doorknobs: Wipe these down with an all-purpose cleaning wipe to remove any grease stains or smudges.
- Dust the baseboards: Use a vacuum or a microfiber cloth to remove any lingering dust and debris.
- Vacuum the carpet or sweep and mop the floor: The last step to cleaning a room is to clean the floor. If there is carpeting, you’ll want to be sure to spot-treat any stains before vacuuming. If it’s wood flooring or tile, you should sweep away debris before washing the floor.
What to clean in the kitchen
- Clean out all the cabinets: You can start by removing any liners. Then, spray them down with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Let that sit for a minute and wipe them down with a soft cloth. Be sure to wipe down the outsides as well.
- Clean the fridge, stove, microwave, and dishwasher: Soak any removable parts in dish soap and water. Use the water and vinegar mixture to scrub off any caked-on food with a sponge. Wipe down the outsides of your appliances as well.
- Sanitize the sink and fixtures: Plug the basin and fill the sink with a gallon of warm water and a tablespoon of bleach. Dip in a sponge and wipe everything down before rinsing it off.
- Wipe down the counters: Use hot water and dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner before rinsing them off and drying them with a microfiber cloth.
- Sweep behind the appliances: Move the appliances first to make sure you can reach all the dust and debris.
What to clean in the bathroom
- Clean any drawers: Remove any liners and wipe the inside of the drawers with the water and vinegar mixture.
- Scrub the shower/tub: Your favorite type of all-purpose bathroom cleaner will work best. If needed, you should also bleach the grout.
- Scrub the toilet: All-purpose bowl cleaner will work for scrubbing the interior. However, you should also wipe down the sink and the back of the tank with a bleach-based cleaning spray.
- Wipe down the vanity: Use an all-purpose spray to wipe down the vanity and sink before drying it off with a microfiber cloth.
- Wipe down the mirror: Glass cleaner will work just fine here. Wipe away any streaks with a microfiber cloth.
What to clean in the laundry room
- Clean the washer and dryer: Scrub away any detergent stains with a damp, soft cloth that’s been dipped in water. You’ll want to sweep behind the washer and dryer in the laundry room as well.
- Empty the vents: Check for any lint build up and be sure to remove it.
What to clean outside
- Power-wash the deck or patio: You can rent a power-washer to do the job or hire someone to take care of this task for you.
- Mow the lawn: If it’s seasonally-appropriate, you’ll want to take the time to mow the lawn so that it looks its best.
- Pull any weeds: Do some last-minute weeding and be sure to water any flowers on the day you move out.