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  • Writer's pictureElegant Empire

"Spotless Farewell: Your Essential Move-Out Cleaning Checklist"


"Mastering the Art of Move-Out Cleaning: Your Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming Your Security Deposit and Leaving a Lasting Impression"




Have you made plans to vacate your apartment or rented residence soon?

1. The Importance of Move-Out Cleaning

Amidst the hustle and bustle, cleaning your previous apartment, condo, or apartment might be overlooked. However, it deserves as much attention as any other task on your move-out checklist, mainly if you aim to recover a significant portion of your security deposit.

2. First-hand insights from a Local House Cleaning Company

As a local house cleaning company, we have accumulated extensive experience in this field since 2011. We have worked alongside many property management companies and encountered numerous scenarios that we would like to share. We have first-hand and valuable insights on what, where, how, and why you must clean before vacating your rented apartment or other dwelling. By referring to this comprehensive rental move-out cleaning checklist, you will increase your chances of reclaiming most of your security deposit and avoiding unexpected fees.

3. Hiring a Professional Cleaning Service and Associated Costs

Moreover, we will address common queries such as the viability of hiring a professional cleaning service and the associated costs. After reading this article, you will have the essential knowledge to prepare your apartment or condo for move-out, allowing you to concentrate on what truly excites you—settling into your new place and enjoying the experience.

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If so, please check our other guides related to house cleaning.




Returning your apartment, duplex, townhome, or house to its original or even better condition is an integral part of a standard lease agreement. Just as you conducted an initial walk-through when you moved in to ensure everything met your standards, your landlord or property management staff will perform a final inspection to ensure the dwelling remains in excellent, or at the very least acceptable condition, for the next tenant. With this in mind, we present 12 steps before moving out that will leave your rental looking impeccable. Although there is no specific order to follow, we recommend starting from the top—ceilings—and working your way down to avoid the need for repeated cleaning.

4.1 Eliminate all wall nails and repair holes

Personalizing your walls with decorations is one way to make a space your own. However, removing these wall embellishments leaves behind visible damage. The same applies to additional fixtures you added to spruce up the place, such as towel hooks, hat racks, clocks, furniture anchors, shower caddies, and more. Even the holes you meticulously drilled to mount your TV will be apparent once removed. Therefore, you must fill in all gaps, repair any damage to the sheetrock or other wall surfaces, and touch up the paint. Filler Puddy is sold at most home improvement stores throughout the country.

4.2 Consider repainting if necessary

Most rental properties utilize neutral paint colors, but it is understandable if you change the colors to suit your preferences. However, now is the time to restore the walls to their original neutral hues, as stipulated in most leases, to ensure the home's appeal and rentability. If your landlord or the property management team permits the custom colors, you can retain them with written approval to avoid miscommunication.

4.3 Thoroughly clean doors and door frames

Doors, including cabinet doors in the kitchen, bathroom, and other fixed locations, often need more attention during routine cleaning. However, wiping down these doors and their frames will enhance the overall appearance during the final walk-through. You might be surprised by how much grime you remove and the subsequent improvement in cleanliness. Also, painting over clean surfaces is easy and will minimize the preparation work from the building manager or landloro.

4.4 Clean Ceiling fans

Cleaning ceiling fans tends to be neglected during regular cleaning routines, including ours. Yet, it is an essential task before moving out. Attach a duster (even temporary tape) to a long-handled object like a broom to simplify the process. If your duster is flexible, that is even better, as it eliminates the need for a ladder to reach the blades. If you have the budget, stop by your local retail store and pick up a telescoping micro-fiber cleaning tool made to reach high areas like that.

4.5 Ensure spotless windows and mirrors

While seemingly insignificant, pristine windows and mirrors breathe new life into any space. Remember to dust blinds and clean the sills beforehand, and for streak-free results, utilize a squeegee. Now, if you live in a second-story apartment complex, it is unlikely the owners or managers will require cleaning the outside part of the window panes. If they need cleaning, they will likely outsource the window cleaning task to a company specializing.

4.6 Empty and clean all cupboards and cabinets

Remove all contents from every cupboard and cabinet in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and closets. Eliminate any crumbs or debris and proceed to wipe them down. Remove pest bait, sticky traps, or air fresheners if present.

4.7 Perform a thorough cleaning of sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets

Although it may seem obvious, deep-cleaning these areas is of utmost importance. Pay attention to removing grime from grout lines, unclogging drains, scrubbing sinks, faucets, and toilet bowls. Lift and clean the toilet lids and wipe down the exterior surface. We recommend using a liquid-based acid descaler found at most retail stores for hard-to-clean calcium deposits around the bath or toilet. For tough buildup around the bathrooms, a pumice tool will remove even the toughest buildup.

PRO TIP. If your lease/rental agreement specifies grout cleaning, we highly recommend applying the cleaner one full day BEFORE the actual cleaning. Many grout cleaners take many hours to penetrate the material to the level necessary to clean it properly.

4.8 Restore appliances to their original condition

Make your appliances appear as good as new ones. This task requires substantial effort, but it is worth it. Empty the refrigerator and invest time cleaning the stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, and any other appliances to maintain their cleanliness throughout your stay. In our experience, the most time-consuming task is cleaning a greasy stove. If it is all right, use the self-cleaning option on most modern ovens. However, if it is in rough shape, an oven de-greaser and a pumice tool are your best friends. For some step-by-step tips for cleaning the inside of your dishwasher, we recommend reviewing our article with basic steps to help you out.

4.9 Dust and clean baseboards and trim

Utilize a moist cloth or duster to wipe down all baseboards and trim. Neglected areas like these can accumulate significant dust, and thorough cleaning can make a remarkable difference in the final appearance. Fortunately, there is no need for back-breaking scrubbing on your hands and knees. A flexible dust mop can do the trick efficiently. Clean baseboards and trim are also critical if the landlord or management company decides to paint this area. It is much easier to paint a clean surface.

Please read our guide here for an in-depth process to clean baseboards effectively.

A housekeeper using a vacuum cleaner on a rug during move-out cleaning.
A thorough cleaning includes carpets too. A housekeeper ensures a spotless finish, leaving no detail untouched.

4.10 Sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors

While many cleaning checklists suggest a mere sweep to leave the floors "dust and debris free," we find it insufficient in most cases. It is best to vacuum carpets thoroughly and mop hard surfaces such as tile or hardwood floors. If you have a furry, permanently remove any accumulated fur, especially from corners and under furniture that is no longer present. Look for any carpet stains, spot-clean them, or clean the entire carpet if necessary. Since most multi-family condos and apartment complexes have laminate floors, we have this whole article dedicated to the proper procedure to clean them.

4.11 Dispose of all trash

Do properly dispose of all trash. Leaving a garbage bag in the middle of a room is an unappealing sight, including checking the rooms, closets, inside cabinets, patio (if any), and the carport or parking garage. Avoid being that person.

5. Stand your ground

Unfortunately, we still have a handful of crafty management companies, and landlords refuse to accept responsibility for replacing items or surfaces that have been used beyond their helpful life surface and look hazy and dull. That is not grounds to reduce money from your deposit. We have been called upon to "re-clean" many correctly cleaned units. The most common surfaces that wear down and look dirty and dull even after proper cleaning include wood or laminate floors, stainless steel appliances, and tubs made of Porcelain Enameled Steel, Acrylic, fiberglass, or a combination of either. These surfaces will often absorb any number of liquids that cause them to look dull and discolored: shampoo, hair dyes, salt deposits, and other products people use around the bath.


PRO TIP. This should be discussed in advance to ensure clarity upon the termination of your lease or rental agreement. Be sure to write this down and have it signed by the landlord before moving into a unit.


6. Conclusion

In conclusion, move-out cleaning is pivotal in successfully transitioning between living spaces. Failing to give it due attention can result in financial consequences, risking the loss of a substantial part of your security deposit. Through the valuable insights of a local house cleaning company, we have underscored the importance of meticulous move-out cleaning to ensure a seamless and gratifying end to your tenancy. By dedicating effort to this process, you provide the safety of your security deposit and make a positive impression, making your move to your new home hassle-free.

Therefore, prioritize move-out cleaning and embrace the excitement of settling into your new place with peace of mind and utmost satisfaction.

By following the comprehensive rental move-out cleaning checklist provided, you can increase your chances of reclaiming most of your security deposit and avoid any unexpected fees. From repairing walls and repainting if necessary to cleaning doors, ceilings, appliances, and baseboards, each step plays a vital role in leaving your rental in impeccable condition for the next tenant.

While hiring a professional cleaning service is an option, this article has equipped you with the knowledge and guidance to undertake the cleaning process effectively. By paying attention to every detail and adhering to the outlined tasks, you can restore your apartment or condo to its original state, meeting the standards set by your landlord or property management.

Remember, a clean and well-maintained living space ensures a smooth move-out and reflects your responsibility as a tenant. So, stand your ground regarding normal wear and tear on surfaces and be prepared to address any damages you may have caused beyond what is considered typical use.


An image of a beautifully cleaned and vacant apartment, ready for the next tenant.
The result of meticulous move-out cleaning—A clean slate for the next tenant to enjoy.


We understand that you may have several questions on your mind. Let us address whether hiring a cleaner, the potential costs involved, and what services they typically provide.

Q: Should you hire a cleaning company or do it yourself?

A: The answer depends on your budget, schedule, stress level, physical condition, and attitude. The company is worth cleaning. Hiring professional help can be beneficial, especially if you are pressed for time. However, choosing an experienced company is crucial to avoid cleaning up after their shortcomings. If you hire a company, it is a good idea to provide them with an exact list of the items and areas your landlord or manager has on file. Often, one multi-family management company or landlord may have different cleaning lists.

Q: What is included in a move-out clean?

A: Cleaning companies may offer different services, but a comprehensive move-out clean should encompass wiping down cabinets, deep cleaning appliances and bathrooms, cleaning windows, and washing walls and doors.

Q: What is the average cost for a move-out cleaning service?

A: Although prices may vary over a large spectrum, here are some averages we have compiled from some cleanings over the past couple of years. Our historical projections show this will increase by about 2 -3 % annually.





































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