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The Ultimate Apartment Move Out Cleaning Checklist

By: Justin Chaplin
November 25, 2019

You’ve spent a whole lease term (or more) making your apartment your home. But now, it’s time to move on. 

The prospect of packing up and cleaning your entire apartment can be overwhelming. However, it’s completely doable and can even be fun. Just put on your favorite playlist and make sure to check off every item on this move-out cleaning checklist! 

Move Out Cleaning Checklist

Before you get cleaning, you’ll need to ensure you have the right cleaning supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper Towels
  • Disinfectant
  • Baking Soda
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Cleaning Putty
  • Cleaning Spray
  • Sponges, Towels, and Dishrags
  • Broom and Dustpans
  • Mop and Bucket
  • Cleaning Gloves

Living Room

Cleaning your living room may have to begin with a long decluttering session. The living room is often one of the rooms people use most in a home. As a result, it’s a clutter-magnet. 

Once you’ve gotten a handle on the clutter, you can focus on actually cleaning your living room. 

Don’t forget to take care of these things when cleaning your living room:

  • Light Fixtures
  • Walls (fill holes and clean marks)
  • Doors (including doorknobs)
  • Floors
  • Windows
  • Blinds and Drapes
  • Air Ducts and Vents
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Baseboards

Pro Tip: Be sure to dust the place down before you do a final sweep or vacuum. Dusting can help you get rid of any cobwebs left by our eight-legged friends.

Bedroom

Luckily, there isn’t much cleaning, so much as organizing when it comes to cleaning a bedroom. You may have to call a friend to help you disassemble your bed and furniture. But other than that, your bedroom will be one of the easiest rooms to clean in your apartment. 

Make sure you’ve cleaned the following spots before packing up for good:

  • Windows (window sills and glass)
  • Floors
  • Doors (including doorknobs)
  • Light Fixtures
  • Air Ducts and Vents
  • Walls (fill holes and clean marks)
  • Blinds and Drapes
  • Baseboards

Pro Tip: It’s easy to pack clothes if they’re hanging in a closet. Simply place a garbage bag over as many clothes will fit. Then, tie the garbage bag right underneath the hangers. You’ll be able to hang bunches of clothes quickly when you unpack in your next home.

Kitchen

Kitchens are hard to clean. That’s just the truth. From grease to emptying the refrigerator (hello year-old leftovers hidden in the back), it’s easy to spend at least a day getting the kitchen back into tip-top shape. 

However, as long as you’re sure to hit these areas, you don’t need to worry too much about the kitchen. Here’s what you need to clean:

  • Countertops
  • Cabinets
  • Floors
  • Refrigerator (interior and exterior)
  • Walls
  • Vent Hood and Exhaust Fan
  • Stovetop and Oven (including drip pans)
  • Microwave
  • Windows
  • Dishwasher
  • Sink (faucet, knobs, and drains)
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Light Fixtures
  • Light Switches
  • Baseboards

Pro Tip: Choose a high-quality degreaser and a foaming oven cleaner that you can leave on overnight. This will save you time and sore arms from scrubbing — they’ll do the work for you! All you’ll have to do is wipe the product off after leaving it to sit.

Bathroom

Bathrooms can be a hassle to clean. It’s important to disinfect the bathroom when cleaning it. So, it requires a bit more attention than other areas of the house. 

Here are the things to take care of when doing your move-out cleaning:  

  • Toilet Bowl (including the exterior)
  • Floors
  • Bathtub and Shower (remove grime from grout)
  • Sink (faucet, knobs, and drains)
  • Mirror
  • Medicine Cabinet
  • Cabinet
  • Light Fixtures
  • Light Switches
  • Soap Dish (remove soap scum)
  • Windows

Pro Tip: Be sure to check the surfaces that your sink, countertops, and tub/shower are made of. You may not be able to scrub them or use harsh chemicals like bleach on them. Finding this info out first can help you avoid damaging the bathroom while cleaning it.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to help you avoid headaches during your move-out.

Getting Your Security Deposit Refunded

Cleaning before move-out isn’t the only thing that renters should have on their minds when it comes to getting their security deposit refunded. Here are some additional tips that will help you to get your security deposit back:

  • Be sure to conduct a pre-move-in inspection. 
  • Note and report any necessary repairs.
  • Avoid causing damage to the property.
  • Pay your rent on time, every time.
  • Leave a forwarding address.

Hiring a Cleaner

If you don’t have the time or energy to conduct a thorough deep cleaning, it’s a good idea to hire a professional cleaning company. They can do it for you. Professional cleaning costs will vary depending on the size of your home and your needs. 

The average cost of professional house cleaning services is $25 - $50 per hour of cleaning. Additional cleaning tasks including windows, carpet cleaning, cleaning storage areas, and other duties may cost more.

The Broom Clean Clause

Move out can be a stressful time for renters. They have to ensure that their apartment is “broom-clean.” That means it needs to be completely empty of personal effects and needing only to be swept or vacuumed clean. 

Many leases contain a broom-clean or broom-swept clause. It states the condition in which the property must be in for a tenant to receive their security deposit back.

If tenants leave an apartment in a condition that requires extra cleaning or removal of personal items, then a renter may forfeit some or all of their security deposit to cover cleaning costs. Some leases will note a fixed hourly rate for every hour it takes to completely clean the apartment. 

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to leave your apartment spotless. However, you will have to put some effort into move-out cleaning duties. 

Set aside at least a few days to handle your apartment cleaning. From hardwood floors to taking care of your freezer defrost, you’ll need to be on your toes to get the job done.

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