This blog post is about following a moving out apartment cleaning checklist, in order to leave your rental spotless!
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Your belongings are packed, the moving truck is booked. The only thing you have to do is; do one final clean.
A common questions I see everywhere is “Should I clean my apartment before moving out?“ and the answer is; yes of course! It’s common courtesy and you’ll be in your landlords good books if you have the apartment tidy.
You want to make sure you do a thorough deep clean of the apartment to secure your deposit.
What Should You Clean When Moving Out Of An Apartment?
Based on common rental lease agreement, you want to leave your apartment the same way you saw it on the first day you moved into your apartment.
You truly want to clean from the top and then work your way to the bottom. In Addition to work in zones rather than cleaning all at once.
Here is a thorough checklist that you can follow in order to leave your old apartment spotless.
Apartment Moving Out Cleaning Checklist
Remove Nails and Patch in Walls
You most likely installed a TV mount, wall art, or put up curtains. After taking them down, you must fill in the hole with spackle (or called wall joint compound).
You can place the spackle on the holes and then sand it down after it has been dried. You may have to do more than one coat. Depending how big the hole is.
If the wholes are small to fill, you can purchase a drywall spackle kit.
Wipe Down Windows
You can use window cleaner and wipe down the windows. This also includes cleaning in between the window casing.
The best way to clean in between the window casing is vacuuming or you can use the Damp Duster by Scrub Daddy! I use this all the time to remove build up of dust, that a duster can’t get.
Time to look in those corners and clean up those cobwebs. You can use a duster or your vacuum to get them.
Change Wall Paint (If Applicable)
Renting your own apartment means you can change how your apartment looks. This could be repainting the walls to a color of your choosing.
Now that move out day is approaching, you may want to look into repainting the walls to it’s original colour.
Try to plan repainting the walls a couple of weeks before moving day.
Clean Walls and Baseboards
In order to clean your baseboards, I suggest vacuuming first and then using your mop head to wash the baseboards after.
For the walls, you want to make sure you use a cleaner that will not affect the paint finish (even if you just repainted the walls). Here is a cleaner that can help clean your walls without ruining the paint finish.
Kids marked on the walls? Use a magic eraser to scrub off the marks without ruining your paint.
Check The Lights
This includes cleaning the light fixtures and and replacing any light bulbs. Make sure the lights are off when changing the light bulbs and light fixtures.
Check Smoke Detectors
Prior to moving out you should always make sure the smoke detector is working. If you notice the smoke detector is not working, See if the batteries needs to be change, or let the landlord know so they can fix it right away.
Closets and Pantries
Cleaning out your closet and pantries is a great opportunity for you to declutter any belongings you don’t want to bring with you to your new place. This could be clothes, food, or items you barely used in the last year or so.
Fix Minor Repairs
Usually the landlord covers repairs, unless they were made by you. If you want to get your deposit back, that means you have to fix any minor repairs that you may have cause.
Before sweeping your balcony, you want to remove any furniture or items that you have on your balcony. Then give it a good sweep.
Clean Carpets (if applicable)
Have wall to wall carpeting? some landlords charge a carpet fee when you move out or you can settle on a deal to clean the carpets yourselves.
Some locations such as Lowes allow you to rent out a professional carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets. Remember to give it a good vacuum prior to cleaning.
Usually carpets take 2-4 hours to dry. So please take that into consideration in your moving plans.
Deep Clean Washer and dryers
If your rental unit has a washer and dryer, take the time to clean out the lint, debris, and mildew. You want to use a mild cleaner.
Want to give your washing machine a deeper clean? Purchase washing machine descaler pods. These pods will help with getting your washing machine deodorize and leave the washer smelling fresh!
In addition to use microfiber cloths when cleaning inside both machines. they’re softer on appliances!
This will be the last thing on your apartment moving out cleaning checklist. After all the cleaning, dusting, and moving everything out. If you have only hardwood floors, give each room a mop.
You can use a regular mop or a swiffer if you’re strict on time.
Apartment Moving Out Cleaning Checklist: Bathroom & Kitchen
The most common places that are used in your apartment is the kitchen and bathroom. These are the only two areas that make take time to clean and will have to be cleaned prior to your moving out inspection. Here are some areas you must clean prior to handing in your keys:
Cupboards and Cabinets
Vaccuum, and wipe down cupboards and cabinets in the kitchen. Not sure how to remove cupboard liners?
Use a blowdryer! Blow Dryers produce a heat to help lift the liners from the cupboards without having a residue left over.
Clean and Sanitize The Sink
Before handing over your keys, you want to make sure that everything is clean and sanitized. To clean the sink you want to use a sponge to wash inside the sink and than a sanitizer for the final finishes.
Notice some debris on the edge of the sink? Use an old or new toothbrush to scrub those away. bleach or vinegar are great to get rid of debris.
Wipe Down Counters
After removing everything from on top of the cupboard, take a moment to clean and sanitize the counters. Try to limit using the counters after, because you’ll be cleaning the counters a lot. It’s best to do it one last wipe down before leaving.
Showers and Tiles
Showers and tiles are super easy to clean. You can use a scrubber or a mop to clean the titles. Not to sure what to use? Use Vinegar!
Vinegar is a great bathroom cleaning hack you can use to leave the bathtub and tiles shining.
Need other vinegar cleaning ideas? Here is a blog post all about vinegar cleaning hacks you can use in your place.
Vacuum Out The Vents
Hair, dust, and sometimes crumbs gets stuck inside the vent. You want to make sure that you give it a good vacuum.
Usually the next tenant should be replacing the toilet seat. Although it is nice to clean and sanitize the toilet and the toilet seat, prior to leaving.
Wipe Down Drawers
After packing away the kitchen drawers, you want to just take a quick vacuum to each drawer to get rid of any crumbs or dust that has been building up in there.
After vacuuming, use a multi-purpose spray to wipe down the inside of the drawers.
Deep Clean Dishwasher
Does your unit include a dishwasher? Remember to give your dishwasher a nice deep clean. This includes, taking the racks out, cleaning the inside, washing the filter, and having the dishwasher go through a sanitizing cycle
Remember to also clean the outside of the dishwasher, remove any fingerprints or water marks. I use this stainless steel cleaner to wipe down my stainless steel appliances.
Deep Clean Microwave
This only applies if the microwave is included in the unit. Want to know the best way to deep clean a microwave? Read my blog post about how I use vinegar to clean inside my microwave.
Vinegar is a soft cleaning solution hack, that can help you prevent from using harsh cleaning products inside the microwave. (Which is not recommended!)
Clean Out Fridge
Before cleaning your fridge you may want to unplug your fridge and place your cold items inside a cooler.
Take out the drawers, shelving and wipe the fridge walls. Not sure where you can clean the drawers and shelving? Clean then inside the bathtub!
I do this all the time when I am giving my fridge a deep clean. So much easier than using the kitchen sink. You want to pan in a head when you are cleaning out the fridge to prevent your cold items to go spoiled.
Clean Behind Fridges and Stoves
Something a lot of people forget is this uncommon cleaning area, and that’s behind the fridges and stoves. We always focus on other parts of the kitchen without realizing that the back of the fridge and stove get dirty as well.
With fallen food and lots of dust. All you need to do is; pull out your fridge/stove, vacuum behind the fridge vent (which should be done every 3-6 months!) and the floor behind it.
If you notice the walls have stains, take the time to wipe down the walls. Mop the floors and then push the appliances back.
Clean Inside Oven
This part is what I absolutely dread but it’s a must. Cleaning inside your oven.
Some ovens have the self-cleaning option that you can use. Otherwise you’re gonna have to get in there and clean it with a oven cleaner.
Remember to check the manual of your oven prior to using the self-cleaning option and/or using any oven cleaning products.
Here’s a Tip: The oven door can be removed! Check your manual or search your oven model online for further details.
Tips To Follow While Cleaning Out Your Apartment
1. Start Cleaning In Advance
You want to make sure you give yourselves enough time to clean your apartment. Depending how large your apartment is, you may want to start a month to the latest two weeks in advance.
Moving within a month and not sure where to start? Check out my blog post about preparing to move in 30 days.
2. Refer Back To Your Move-in Pictures
These photos will be your lifesaver if anything comes up with your landlord, or use as a reference when fixing everything back.
If you have been living in your apartment for a long time, you may forget how it looked when you first moved into your apartment.
Having those move-in pictures will be super helpful!
3. Once Completed an Area, Block It Off!
After cleaning and packing up an area, I highly suggest you block it off! You don’t want to be recleaning an area over and over again.
For example, if you completed cleaning and packing up the bedroom, why not sleep in the living room for a few days? This will make your move much easier.
Have kids or have difficulties blocking off a room? No worries! Prioritize how each room will be cleaned. From the least used room to the most common area.
You want to clean the most common area last. Such as the kitchen or bathroom.
4. Do One Last Mop Through
While moving your belongings you’re going to have people walking around the apartment with their shoes on. If You have wall to wall hardwood or some areas on your apartment has tiles, try to do one last mop through.
Starting from the farthest room, all the way to the door.
You want to leave a good impression to your landlord, so that he can be a reference in the future.
Related Post To “Apartment Moving Out Cleaning Checklist”
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