You packed the dishes, de-cluttered the garage, hired the movers, and signed the papers. Now what? Performing a deep clean before moving out is beneficial to both parties – especially if you have a security deposit on the line. However, move out cleaning is easy to neglect. After all, you have bigger things to worry about – like moving into your new home or apartment!
Now that the rooms are empty – or nearly empty – it’s time to get your home or apartment looking even better than it did when you first moved in. Many houses or apartment contracts require a “broom-clean.” Others require a thorough cleaning list that covers everything from baseboards to the microwave oven.
Here is the best move out cleaning list!
First: Do Some Small Repairs Or Hire A Handyman
Making repairs before moving out is a balancing act. Odds are that your landlord will charge you more to fix something than it would cost to do it yourself, but don’t overdo it. Only make repairs you can do quickly and cheaply. For example, don’t fix anything that came broken and doesn’t improve another person’s property.
Patch Holes… Use putty and some paint to patch up any holes you made hanging pictures or curtains.
Paint… If you painted any room in the rental, paint it back to its original color.
Replace Light Bulbs and Batteries… Add light bulbs to any burned out fixtures and check the batteries in the smoke detector.
Make the Stove Look New… If you burned anything on the pans below the burners, replace them rather than clean them. These only cost a few dollars at a hardware store.
Make the Bathroom Shine… Use a bleach pen or white paint to touch up any stains or marks you caused in the sink or bathtub.
Second, Don’t Forget to Take Your Stuff
If you leave anything behind, especially something big, any landlord will have to hire someone to remove it, which will come out of your security deposit. Double and triple check storage areas, closets, drawers, and cabinets before you leave for the last time.
Third, Return Your Keys
Many tenants forget this step and it costs them. When you’re finally out of your rental, contact your landlord and set up a time to drop off the keys. Make sure you give him everything you have, including gate and mailbox keys. Otherwise, the landlord will charge you a replacement fee for every key you take with you.
Let’s Start Small: The Bathroom Cleaning List
1. Showers and Bathtubs
The shower will be much easier to clean if you remove all of the shampoo bottles, soap, razors, poofs, and toys. Combine products and recycle any empty bottles. Wipe down each item with a cloth dipped in hot water to remove any sticky messes. Remove any excessive hair from the drain.
To help ventilate any fumes from cleaning supplies and to help the shower dry quickly, turn on the bathroom fan, open the bathroom door, and any windows. Use the showerhead or a bucket to wet down the walls of the shower.
Use a sponge or plastic mesh scrubber to clean every section of the walls and floor. Never use a metal scrubber or hard-bristled brush because they can scratch the ceramic tile. Rinse the walls with clean water starting at the top and moving down.
Use a squeegee or old towels to remove any water from every surface. Skipping this step will result in water spots.
Ewww… Yucky. I know. But it’s a must on a cleaning list. I’m sorry.
The toilet is one of the most-used seats in your home, which means it requires a certain level of attention when it comes to cleaning. But it doesn’t take tons of time or loads of elbow grease to get that porcelain throne sparkling clean.
When cleaning the commode, most people tend to focus on the bowl’s interior—but every inch deserves attention.
Grab that disinfecting spray and liberally spritz the entire exterior of the toilet, including harder to reach areas like the back of the base and the underside of the seat. Also, spray the walls behind and beside the toilet. A University of Arizona microbiologist found that with each flush, bathroom particles can launch into the air before settling onto nearby surfaces. That makes the floor and walls around the toilet prime spots for microscopic splatter. After spraying, let the cleaner sit for at least five minutes.
For those difficult toilet bowl stains, grab a stiff-bristled toilet brush to scrub the bowl’s interior and under the rim. If you notice a rust-colored ring inside the bowl, the culprit is likely minerals in your water system. Cleaning experts agree the surefire way to attack the stains is with a pumice stone. Choose a stone on a stick, so your hands don’t have to get too close to the toilet bowl. A few swipes with the pumice stone should do the trick. Don’t worry, as the pumice is a softer stone, it won’t scratch the porcelain surface. Turn the toilet’s water back on, then flush to rinse the bowl.
3. ALL Mirrors
Before you remove any streaks and fingerprints, you want to remove any dirt, grime, and gunk from the mirror. Pour some rubbing alcohol onto your cotton pad and start scrubbing away any buildup. We all know you probably have some toothpaste splatters and dried-on hairspray…
Using your glass cleaner (or vinegar solution), spray down your mirror. The key here is to spray on a light layer of mist, rather than over-spraying. Applying too much cleaner will cause it to drip and run downward, which just creates a mess and more work for yourself to be completely honest.
Grab your flat-weave microfiber cloth and fold it in half, twice. Now you’ll have four clean layers of cloth to work with during your cleaning.
Place your cloth on the top left corner of the mirror and slide it to the top right corner. Then, head back to the left side of the mirror at a slight downward angle. Repeat this until you have worked your way down to the bottom of the mirror. (Think of yourself moving in a Z motion, over and over again.)
Put away any items that are cluttering up your countertop. Once that’s done, fill the bathroom sink with warm soapy water. Wet a sponge or rag and wipe down the entire countertop. After wiping the counter dry with a clean rag.
To make all bathroom cleaning easier, have the right tools handy. A caddy is a good way to collect all your supplies and have them ready to go. Useful items might include bleach, vinegar, baking soda, microfiber cloths, toothbrushes, and any of your other favorite cleaning supplies.
If you are being extra vigilant about germs, consider using a disinfecting wipe or a sanitizing spray. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. You can use a vinegar-filled spray bottle to spray your counter then dry with a clean cloth. Repeat as necessary to keep your counters free from germs.
A clunky vacuum cleaner is almost no help in a small bathroom. Instead, the best way to clean a bathroom floor is with a small broom. Sweep along the edges of the room and work to collect dust and dirt in the middle. Don’t forget to reach around the base of the toilet where dust likes to collect! An easy way to pick up your small dust pile is with a slightly damp paper towel.
Keep your cleaning bucket stowed while you clean bathroom floors. Instead of hauling it upstairs with your mop, turn your bathroom sink into a makeshift bucket. All you need to do is close the drain and fill the sink with 2 gallons of warm water. Add 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon dish soap; mix until suds form. Submerge a rag into the mixture and wring away excess water. Rinse the rag between passes.
Towel-drying your floors is the best way to make sure they’re left sparkling. But why make it any harder than it needs to be? Instead of crouching down on your hands and knees to dry them, lay a large towel on the ground. Find your balance and put one foot on the towel to move it around the bathroom floor, section by section. Large bathrooms may require two towels, depending on how wet they get.
Let’s Take It To The Next Level: The Kitchen Cleaning List
Get the filth in the bathroom out of your mind. Get it over with and check that shit off your cleaning list. Pun not intended.
Let’s move onto another section! The place where all the snacks live!
Your kitchen counter is literally the workhorse of the kitchen. Even on the days, you don’t do any cooking, you probably use your counter. It’s where you plop down the day’s mail. It’s where you stand while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew. It’s where you unpack groceries. And on the days you cook, well, then it’s getting splattered with ingredients gone astray, covered with crumbs, and more. The point? The counter takes a lot of abuse.
Use warm, soapy water, a mild bleach solution, or a non-abrasive kitchen cleaner to clean laminate countertops. Don’t use abrasive cleaning pads. Use a soft toothbrush along seams or along metal edging. Take care when using bleach solutions: They may alter the countertop color or cause other surface damage. Test first in an inconspicuous spot.
For greasy buildup, try cleaning kitchen countertops with natural cleaning ingredients vinegar and water. If the surface feels tacky, rub with a paste of baking soda and water, then rinse.
2. Stove Tops
Gas stovetops continue to be one of the most popular stove options. They use a real flame that provides responsive, even heating. Modern gas cooktops offer a range of burner sizes and shapes, so you can always find the right surface for the job. Since your cookware sits atop grates, you can use stoneware or cast iron skillets, which would otherwise scratch a glass cooktop.
Although daily cleaning isn’t as easy as the “wipe and go” method conducive to a glass stovetop, the routine is still pretty simple. When the stovetop is cool, simply wipe with a damp cloth and cleaner. Pick up the grates and wipe up any spills or crumbs that fell beneath the grates.
If you’re looking for one of the most efficient ways for how to clean a glass stovetop with tough stains, pick up a single-edged scraper and get to work. The scraper lets you target stubborn buildup and hard-to-clean edges and crevices. Soak the problem area in a cleaner approved for glass stovetops and let it sit. Then, scrape slowly, firmly, and carefully, holding the blade at a low 30- to a 40-degree angle.
Don’t press too hard and avoid holding the scraper at a high angle so you don’t accidentally crack the glass. Then, wipe the glass cooktop clean with a clean cloth.
3. Large Appliances: Refrigerator, Microwave, Coffee Machine
The space behind your refrigerator is arguably the dirtiest couple of square feet in your house. It’s a meeting place for dust, gunk, and a host of other stuff that’s fallen behind the big guy.
To clean, pull out the refrigerator and mop up whatever you find. Then, vacuum refrigerator coils behind or beneath your fridge, which will put less stress on the fridge’s motor and prolong its life.
Replace loose door gaskets — check your owner’s manual for replacement part numbers and find new gaskets at home improvement centers or by searching online. You’ll get the added benefit of saving energy with a tighter seal. Monthly, wipe gaskets down with warm, soapy water; rinse and dry.
A little soapy water or a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar will clean and shine the inside and outside of your fridge. Wipe down shelves and crispers weekly, or whenever you spot a spill. Remove fingerprints on stainless steel exteriors with a damp cloth.
The best way to remove baked-on food is to fill a microwave-safe container with water, microwave it until the water boils, and let it sit for a few minutes while steam loosens any gunk. Wipe clean.
To remove mineral deposits that can clog your machine, pour a solution of two parts water and one part white vinegar into the water chamber, insert a coffee filter, and run the solution through the machine. Then run clear water through twice to remove the vinegary taste.
One old-timey way to remove stains from your glass coffee pot — or any vase, pitcher, etc., with stains — is to cover the bottom with table salt, add ice cubes, and, when they start to melt, swish around for a couple of minutes. Then rinse.
4. SWEEP AND MOP ALL OVER
Last, But Definitely Not Least: The Bedroom Cleaning List
Don’t forget to take a break before you continue on your way. Eat and don’t forget to hydrate.
1. Start With A Once Over
Perform the tasks for a daily bedroom tidy, but don’t bother making the bed.
2. Gather What Doesn’t Belong
Collect all items that don’t belong in the bedroom and put them in one box then set it aside. Gather up any decorations or other things you no longer want to keep. Put them in a second bag/box to donate. Pick up all trash, including any under the bed, nightstand, or dresser, and put it in the garbage bag. Discard.
Remove the drapes or curtains, which gather a frightening amount of dust over a year. Strip the bed of all linens, including pillows, but not the mattress cover. Take everything to the laundry room if they’re washable, or to your car if they must be dry-cleaned.
4. Vacuum The Floor
If you can move furniture to vacuum beneath and behind it, do so. Use the floor attachment to get under your bed. Using the crevice attachment, vacuum around the base of the walls to remove dust buildup. Finally, vacuum the rest of the floor.
Empty the trash can and wash it outside using 1 cup hot water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and a stiff scrub brush. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. (Keep your trashcan clean by lining it with a plastic grocery bag, or by placing a paper towel on the bottom.) Return all items that belong in other rooms.
6. Freshen Up
Air out the room by opening the windows. If you have allergies, be sure to close them before dusk to minimize pollen. You deserve it after this cleaning list.