Cleaning a rental property prior to ending a lease is crucial for tenants to secure their deposit refund as well as for landlords who want it re-occupied as fast as possible. The best way to clean fast and efficient is to focus effort and break move out cleaning into simpler and well-defined tasks:
Note: Avoid pressure of running out of time. Start cleaning your rental at least a week (two at best) prior to moving out. Starting late is not worthy, as you risk losing your deposit.
Clean your Bedroom
Taking care of dust and dirt should be your Step 1. The best way to clean is by wiping the room top to bottom.
- Remove cobwebs from ceilings and corners.
- Dust reachable tops – wardrobes, shelving, cupboards.
- Wipe accumulated dust and dirt from top of doors.
- Wipe accumulated dust from top of picture frames.
- Wipe dirt off curtain rails.
- Properly hover and dust both sides of curtains and blinds.
- Wipe and polish mirrors, pictures and other wall-hanging.
- Wipe off dust from skirting boards and decorations.
- Dust off all light fittings and lamp shades.
- Clean and polish metal ornaments (if present).
- Wipe and polish switches and AC controls.
- Remove/repaint dirty spots from walls (if possible).
- Carefully clean power sockets and extension cords.
- Thorough vacuum all mattresses.
- Mop hard floors and laminate.
Bathrooms are where dirt and mildew are most visible and least tolerable
Toilets, showers, tiles and tubs should be cleaned and polished as well as possible. Looks are extremely important and you really better clean up to standard, for it is what will get your deposit back.
- Clean basins, taps and fittings.
- Remove hard water stains.
- Remove lime scale if present.
- Scrub and rinse soap dispensers.
- Wipe and polish radiators and towel rails.
- Scrub and rinse WC and bidet.
- Clean plumbing behind WC if reachable.
- Wipe marks and stains from shower screens or cabin.
- Scrub and rinse bathtub marks and signs of mildew (if present).
- Make sure to clean drainages from hair leftovers.
- Wipe and polish mirrors and glass surfaces.
- Descale, rinse and wipe, shower heads, faucets and metal surfaces.
- Scrub and rinse accumulated dirt from the toothbrush area.
- Clean extractor fans. It is where dirt accumulates the most.
- Wipe reachable bathroom tiles
A clever cleaning hack to cheat on manual scrubbing:
Spray all over your bathroom with any average all-purpose cleaner – countertops, walls, cupboards, etc. Turn hot water ON till you steam your whole bathroom. Leave it be for a while. Afterwards, wipe everything with a dry cloth or paper towel. You will have your bathroom fresh and clean in no time, and without any of the hassle, effort and nerves of manual cleaning. Make sure to properly ventilate!
Extra tip: Apply a coat of car wax to tiles at least once a year. It will minimise ceramic tile water marks.
Kitchen cleaning is ¼ the job
Your kitchen is most likely the or at least one of the single most used rooms, not to mention the heavy exposure to various filth and germs.
- Wash and polish all worktops, countertops and near-sink areas.
- Clean within kitchen cupboards, drawers and shelving.
- Throw food leftovers, carrier bags and etc.
- Wash and polish sinks and shine taps.
- Remove accumulated lime scale.
- De-grease and polish wall tiles.
- Remove mould growth between grout.
- Clean and degrease ovens internally and externally.
- Take down grime from extractors and hobs.
- Scrub gas rings and gas control knobs.
- Clean microwaves inside and out.
- Defrost refrigerator and dispose of grime, mildew and food deposits.
- Clean washing machine inside and out.
- Wipe rubber at the door.
- Wash soap drawers and filters.
- Clean dishwasher interior and exterior if accessible.
- Clean exterior of all appliances incl. kettle and toaster.
- Sanitize bins and remove rubbish.
- Clean smear free of cupboards, shelving and drawers.
- Stack and arrange cutlery, utensils and other dinning inventory.
- Clean windows from within and wipe down sills, ledges and frames.
- Wipe smear from woodwork (doors, handles, doorframes, furnishing and skirting boards)t
- Wipe down radiators if applicable and accessible
- Remove dust from plugs and light switches
- Hoover, mop and polish floors.
Dirty furnishing leaves a horrible impression
(Especially in terms of getting your deposit back!)
Conscientious tenants have to carefully wipe, vacuum and clean any furnished and unfurnished units.
- Wipe and polish tables, countertops and other worktop surfaces.
- Make sure you remove fingerprints and marks.
- Look out for oil stains.
- Take sofa cushions outside and pound till dust stops coming out.
- Hover once more and leave in sunlight if possible.
- Vacuum extensively under cushions.
- Relocate furnishing in order to cleanup underneath units.
- Final hoover of all furnishing.
- Wipe and polish wooden units.
Clever tip: Polish with baby oil when done with cleaning. The glaze is amazing.
Carpets are crucial for your landlord inspection
Carpet cleaning is among the hardest to tackle, especially when moving out. Without the shadow of doubt, the best way is to use a professional carpet cleaning machine or a rainbow vacuum cleaner. The next best option is to DIY and scrub it like crazy.
- Thoroughly vacuum all carpet edges.
- Relocate furnishing units to vacuum underneath and around.
- Steam clean, if possible.
- Vacuuming carpets thoroughly.
- Try hand-washing stains.
Clever Tip: Nowadays you could rent a steam cleaner.
Cleaning all windows is a mandatory chore
Everything within your rental property should be a subject to conscientious move out cleaning. Cleaning the interior side of windows is not an exception.
- Remove any marks, fingerprints and oily stains.
- Wipe down to prevent streaks when drying.
- Dust off and clean window sills.
- Dust off and wipe down frames, including the inner ledge and tops.
- Dust off blinds, curtains and shades
Clever Tip: If you do not have a decent squeegee – use old papers for your final polish. If you’ve never tried it – prepare to be amazed.
Clean drawers, cupboards and shelving
It’s quite common to forget to clear a living room drawer or clean a far back corner you barely reach. It is best to manually inspect each cupboard, drawer or shelf.
- Clear drawers inside and out.
- Remove any unneeded items or leftovers.
- Wipe dust off inside and out.
- Wipe around handles and check for dirt marks.
Empty fridge and/or freezer.
Note: In order to clean it properly, you need to defrost the freezer or at least turn it off a day in advance. Make sure to confirm with your landlord if he/she wants it ON or OFF.
- Remove grime, mildew and leftover food.
- Wipe and polish handles.
- Clean rubber seal.
- Relocate in order to clean underneath and behind.
- Dismantle, wash and rinse slots, grills and cabinets inside.
- Wipe and polish the exterior.
Take care of appliances!
The responsibility of cleaning appliances depends on what your agreement says. It could either bound you to clean those or on the contrary.
- Clean the dishwasher of food and soap deposits.
- Check internal components for signs of damage.
- Remove all grime, mildew, and food deposits
- Inspect and clean filters
- Wipe the rubber seal
- Relocate and clean underneath and behind
- Wash the soap dispenser drawer and remove marks and stains.
- Clean handles thoroughly.
THE WASHING MACHINE:
- Clean the drum from leftovers and stains.
- Inspect and clean filters.
- Inspect the rubber seal.
- Relocate and clean underneath and behind.
- Wipe the soap dispenser drawer and remove marks and stains.
- Wipe down handles, check for stickiness.
- Cleaning the washing machine.
THE TUMBLE DRYER:
- Clean inside and out
- Inspect the rubber seal
- Clean the soap dispenser drawer
- Inspect and clean the filter
OVENS AND MICROWAVES:
- Clean and degrease oven, extractor fan, hob and grill
- Clean and degrease the microwave
- Scrub off food deposits and grime
- Clean grill pan and oven racks
- Clean the inner top of both oven and microwave
- Inspect and wipe the rubber seals
- Inspect and wipe all buttons
- Clean exterior and remove stains and marks.
- Not even the toaster is left behind – you’re in a tenancy cleaning session.
- Clean, wipe and polish exterior
- Remove any food deposits and bread crumb leftovers
- Clean within as much as possible
- Degrease handles
- Remove grime
THE MINOR DETAILS:
There are many smaller tasks that don’t fit in a category. Little details count towards getting your full deposit back.
- Clean and dry all kitchen tiles
- Get rid of leftover rubbish
- Rinse rubbish bins inside and out
- Degrease fans and hob extractor
Credits: The move out cleaning checklist is written and designed by Dmitri Kara. An end of tenancy professional cleaner from London.