Published: May 6th, 2024
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The move-out cleaning checklist provides a detailed guide for tenants and homeowners to ensure thorough cleanliness before leaving a property. From bedrooms to outdoor areas, it covers everything and helps you to secure full security deposits.


Whether you are selling your home or returning the keys to your landlord, a thorough clean-out is typically necessary. 

If you are selling, your contract likely requires the house to be spotless for the new owners.

For renters, cleaning before moving out is integral to ensure the return of security deposit and avoid cleaning fees. 

Before you begin cleaning, clarify the expectations. Some management companies provide a move-out cleaning checklist, and leases may outline cleaning requirements and potential charges for inadequate cleaning.

Did You Know?
Did You Know?

Over 90% of tenants who use a move-out cleaning checklist report a hassle-free departure and successfully recover their full security deposit.

What is included in the Move-Out Cleaning Checklist?

When you are moving out, it is necessary to understand what is included in a cleaning checklist. It will allow you to tackle the cleaning process smoothly. 

Take a look at your rental or purchase agreement to see what is expected from you. If it is not clear, don't hesitate to ask to avoid any surprises later. 

A move-out cleaning checklist is your go-to guide because it covers everything from basics to extra details. 

It's all about leaving your place sparkling and avoiding any headaches with your deposit or last-minute cleaning scrambles.

Read also: Checklist When Moving To A New Apartment

Below are some variables that are included in a move-out cleaning checklist

Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Bedroom

To clean efficiently, start from high and work your way down. Whether it is one room or your whole home, begin with the upper floors and move to the lower ones, cleaning each room from top to bottom.

Here is a move-out cleaning checklist for the bedroom:

  • Clean Dust surfaces.
  • Clean dust from furniture
  • Clean windows and mirrors.
  • Vacuum or sweep floors.
  • Wipe down baseboards.
  • Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans.
  • Vacuum carpets and rugs.
  • Wash bedding and linens.
  • Clean inside of closets and drawers.
  • Empty and clean trash cans.
  • Check for wall marks and spot clean.
  • Inspect for damage.

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Did You Know?
Did You Know?

According to a survey conducted by a leading real estate agency, approximately 82% of landlords or property managers require tenants to perform move-out cleaning as per a checklist before returning their security deposit.

Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Bathrooms

Cleaning an empty bathroom is much easier than usual because you can clean every corner without obstacles. Lay some towels by the door, wet everything thoroughly, and apply cleaner. For tough stains, apply the cleaner and let it sit while you do other tasks. This way, your bathroom will be spotless in no time.

Here is the move-out cleaning checklist for the bathroom:

  • Clear Out Personal Items
  • Dust and Wipe Down Surfaces
  • Clean Mirrors and Glass
  • Scrub and Disinfect Shower and Bathtub
  • Clean and Disinfect Toilet
  • Clean Sink and Faucets
  • Clean and Polish Fixtures
  • Clean and Disinfect Floors
  • Empty and Clean Cabinets and Drawers
  • Replace Shower Curtain or Liner
  • Check for Mold and Mildew
  • Air Out the Bathroom
  • Final Inspection

Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Kitchen

Kitchen cleaning can be challenging, especially with stubborn stains and odors. Let oven cleaners or stain removers sit and work their magic while you tackle other cleaning tasks.

Here is a move-out cleaning checklist for the kitchen:

  • Clean appliances inside and out (stovetop, oven, range hood, fridge, microwave, dishwasher)
  • Wipe down small appliances (microwave, toaster, coffee maker)
  • Dust and wipe countertops, shelves, and cabinets.
  • Wash sinks and backsplash.
  • Wash dishes.
  • Dust all surfaces.
  • Clean windowsills and tracks.
  • Dust and wipe baseboards, doorknobs, doorframes, and doors.
  • Clean light switches.
  • Remove marks from walls and baseboards.
  • Empty garbage.
  • Vacuum and mop floors.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?

68% of landlords require tenants to repair any damages to the walls as part of the move-out process.

Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Living Areas

Clean every corner of shared spaces and living areas diligently during move-out. Check for hidden marks behind furniture and heavily used spots for a spotless finish.

Here is the move-out cleaning checklist for living areas:

  • Dust all surfaces
  • Clean mirrors
  • Wipe down windowsills and tracks
  • Dust and wipe baseboards
  • Clean doorknobs, doorframes, and doors
  • Wipe light switches
  • Remove marks from walls and baseboards
  • Vacuum and damp-mop hard surface floors
  • Empty garbage
  • Vacuum carpets and rugs
  • Clean closet fronts and interiors

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Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Out-Door Area:

Ensure the outdoor spaces of your rental or own property are just as pristine as the indoors. Follow this thorough checklist:

  • Sweep the porch, deck, or patio.
  • Clean outdoor furniture.
  • Remove any trash or debris from the yard.




Benefits of Move-Out Cleaning Checklist

A move-out cleaning checklist offers several benefits for both tenants and landlords:

  1. Receive Full Security Deposit Back: Following a comprehensive move-out cleaning checklist ensures that the rental property is returned in the same condition it was received, minimizing any deductions from the security deposit for cleaning costs.
  2. Leave a Positive Impact: A thorough cleaning job reflects positively on the departing tenant, leaving a good impression on the landlord or property manager. This can be beneficial for maintaining a positive rental history and securing good references for future rentals.
  3. Smooth Moving-Out Experience: By following a checklist, tenants can systematically clean each property area, making moving out more organized and efficient.
  4. Avoid Cleaning Fees: Landlords often charge cleaning fees if the property is not cleaned satisfactorily upon move-out. By adhering to a move-out cleaning checklist, tenants can avoid these fees altogether, saving money in the process.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?

Over 90% of tenants who use a move-out cleaning checklist report a hassle-free departure and successfully recover their full security deposit.

Cleaning Tools for Moving

When it comes to cleaning tools for moving, you will want a few essentials to ensure you leave your old place clean and tidy. Here is a basic list:

Cleaning Tools Description
Vacuum Cleaner Essential for carpets, rugs, and hard floors.
Broom and Dustpan For quick sweeps of hard floors and collecting larger debris.
Mop and Bucket Needed for thorough cleaning of hard floors.
Glass Cleaner Specifically for windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces.
Scrub Brushes Useful for tough stains and grime in sinks, showers, etc.
Microfiber Cloths Great for dusting and wiping down surfaces without leaving lint.
Trash Bags Essential for disposing of garbage and unwanted items.
Gloves Protect your hands during cleaning tasks.
Disinfectant Wipes/Spray Important for cleaning high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches.
Duster Handy for reaching high and low to capture dust and cobwebs.
Sponge/Scouring Pads For cleaning dishes and scrubbing surfaces.
Toilet Brush and Cleaner Essential for thorough bathroom cleaning, including toilets.

What Landlords Look for Before Returning Security Deposits?

Landlords carefully inspect everything before returning your security deposits. It includes:

  • Property Damage: Landlords inspect for any damage beyond normal wear and tear, such as holes in walls, broken appliances, or damaged fixtures.
  • Cleanliness: They check if the property has been thoroughly cleaned, including floors, walls, appliances, and fixtures.
  • Missing Items: They verify that all items listed in the rental agreement are still present in the property.
  • Key Return: Tenants are typically required to return all keys, including copies, to avoid any deductions from the security deposit.
  • Repairs and Maintenance: Any necessary repairs or maintenance required to restore the property to its original condition may affect the return of the security deposit.

Should You Hire Professionals for Cleaning Services?

Deciding whether to professionals for cleaning services depends on various variables such as time constraints, budget, and the level of cleanliness required. Professional cleaning services can save time and ensure thorough cleaning, but they come at a cost. Some individuals prefer the convenience and expertise of professionals, especially for deep cleaning tasks, and some may opt for DIY cleaning to save money. Ultimately, the choice between hiring professionals or doing it yourself boils down to personal preferences and specific cleaning needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When moving out, clean all surfaces, appliances, floors, and fixtures thoroughly. Don't forget to clean inside cabinets, closets, and any overlooked areas for a complete move-out clean.

If you don't clean when you move out, you may risk losing your security deposit or facing additional cleaning fees from your landlord or property management.

Before moving out, clean apartment walls by dusting or vacuuming them, then washing them with a mild detergent solution. Focus on stains, rinse them with water, and let them dry before moving anything.

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