Move-Out Cleaning

The Ultimate Move-Out Cleaning Checklist: Everything You Need to Know

Oct 23, 2021

Preparing to move out soon? Whether ending a lease or selling your house, planning to get through the next few weeks of moving can be frustrating. Leaving your former home in excellent condition to get your security deposit back or as a courtesy to the next owners is almost always necessary. Our move-out cleaning checklist will help keep you on track for a smooth and worry-free move.

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What’s Included in a Move-Out Cleaning?

Before we dive into our move-out checklist, let us first clarify what a move-out cleaning is. Typically, it includes a thorough and deep cleaning of your entire home — from your doorstep to your patio and everything in between.

Cleaning for your move-out has more than just one benefit. Not only will you be more likely to receive your deposit back, but you’ll also be leaving a clean space for the next tenants.

6 Easy Move-Out Cleaning Steps

The following are six simple steps you can take to ensure that your move-out cleaning is up to snuff.

1. Clean from Top to Bottom

When tackling your move-out cleaning, you should dust and sanitize from top to bottom.

This process is important because it ensures that you are picking up the dirt and dust that may eventually fall down from the ceiling to the counters or the counters to the floor. If you clean your floors first then dust and wipe down counters, you are more likely to reclean the floors because now they are dirty again from fallen particles.

What to clean from top to bottom, in order:

  • Ceiling
  • Light fixtures
  • Ceiling fans
  • Vents
  • Door frames
  • Window sills
  • Walls
  • Cabinets and shelves
  • Counters
  • Floorboards
  • Floors

Gravity plays a big role in your cleaning process. When you get to the last stage of cleaning, you want to make sure that you are sweeping up all fallen dirt, dust, and debris from the earlier stages.

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2. Make a Plan of Action

Cleaning during a move-out is a bit different from your everyday cleaning.

Typically, your home has all your belongings laid out in a manner of your choosing. When you’re ready to clean for your move-out, however, your belongings are packed and most likely already in a moving truck. This means that you have more open space to deal with.

Additionally, move-out cleaning services tend to be more thorough than standard cleanings, meaning they require more time.

For these reasons, having a plan of action during your move-out cleaning will help you make the process smoother. It’s the best way to ensure that everything that needs to be done gets done. If you don’t allocate enough time for your final cleaning, chances are it won’t be of quality or done at all, lessening your chances of getting back your security deposit.

3. Tackle One Room at a Time

Cleaning per room is important in making sure that each part of the house gets the same amount of attention. The following are checklists to help guide you through ensuring each room of the home is properly cleaned.

Download a Printable Move-Out Cleaning Checklist PDF

Living Room and Bedroom Move-Out Checklist

  • Mirrors are streak-free
  • Window sills and window tracks are dust-, dirt-, and mold-free
  • Baseboards’ buildup is wiped or vacuumed
  • Door frames are cleaned and doorknobs are sanitized
  • Light switches are wiped to remove finger oils and germs
  • Walls are smudge-free
  • Garbage has been emptied
  • Carpets are deodorized and vacuumed
  • Hardwood floor areas are swept and mopped
  • Closets don’t have accumulated dust

Kitchen Move-Out Checklist

  • Appliances such as stovetop, oven, refrigerator, freezer, microwave, dishwasher, range hood, etc. look as good as new
  • Countertops and shelves are dusted
  • Backsplash is wiped and smudge-free
  • Cabinet interiors and exteriors are wiped and sanitized
  • Sink and drain don’t have stains, rust, or food splatters
  • Light switches are sanitized
  • Floor is swept and mopped to remove splashed oil and other food stains

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Bathroom Move-Out Checklist

  • Sink, bathtub, shower walls, and glass doors are spotless and sanitized
  • Toilet and toilet seat have no stains or odors
  • Mirrors are streak-free
  • Cabinets, countertops, and shelves are wiped and dusted
  • Inside window sills and window tracks are cleaned
  • Doorknobs, door frames, and doors are wiped and sanitized
  • Light switches are sanitized
  • Garbage has been emptied and the garbage can is clean
  • Floor is vacuumed/swept and mopped

4. Don't Forget the Nooks and Crannies

During your move-out cleaning, you will want to make sure that you are cleaning all surfaces.

Commonly missed cleaning spots include:

  • Interior of cabinets and drawers
  • Behind the refrigerator
  • Floorboards
  • Lighting fixtures and ceiling fans
  • AC vents and fans
  • Interior of closets

Cleaning these commonly missed spots will ensure that your home is completely dusted, wiped down, and sanitized.

5. Use the Right Tools for the Job

Utilizing the proper move-out cleaning tools and solutions will ensure that your cleaning is successful. The last thing you want is to have to repeat any steps in your process, costing you time and money.

Cleaning tools you should consider:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Reusable rubber gloves
  • Steel wool scrubbers
  • Antibacterial cleaning solution
  • Paper towels
  • Baking soda

When it comes to choosing dusters, mops, or brooms, make sure to choose what fits the task. For example, sometimes a string mop over a flat mop is the wrong choice depending on the flooring type in your home.

6. Take Your Time

Rushing any cleaning project will only cause you more stress. You may miss some spots or end up having to redo the whole process. Taking your time will guarantee that your home is properly cleaned.

In addition to cleaning, also take your time with other moving tasks as much as possible. Begin packing your belongings early. As soon as you know you plan on moving, think about packing non-essential items. You can also think about donating or throwing away unwanted items during this time.

Because move-out cleanings can be time-consuming, it’s recommended to consider all necessary steps and schedule accordingly. You want to make sure that you have plenty of time to pack, clean, and move out without being in a rush.

Do I Need a Professional Move-Out Cleaning?

If you don’t have enough time, energy, money, or cleaning supplies to ensure your former home is spotless, you may need to hire a cleaning service.

By booking move-out cleaning services, you’ll get the most detailed type of cleaning done by professional cleaners who have all the essential equipment and approved cleaning methods. Additionally, if you’re renting and hoping to get a full security deposit refund, hiring a professional move-out company may be worth it.

Explore our site for more details about hiring a professional move-out cleaner to give you peace of mind and ensure a stress-free beginning to the next chapter in your life.

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Simplify Your Move With a Move-Out Checklist

Having a moveout checklist on hand can make cleaning much easier and ensure you’re not missing anything important. A comprehensive checklist will guide you through each step of the cleaning process and help you transform your former home into better condition.

For other moving tips or to get your house cleaned by a cleaning service in your area, visit Moveout.com.

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Article written by Mia Sofia Pimentel

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