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Cleaning For Moving Out – Essential Tips to Render the Task Easier for You

Updated on January 19, 2017
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Cleaning for Moving Out
Cleaning for Moving Out

Courtesy of the world having transformed into a global village, nowadays it is common for people to move between cities for the sake of employment. As this entails complete relocation, an aspect that everyone should be aware of pertains to cleaning for moving out.

Undoubtedly everyone likes to move into a clean apartment but on the flip side this implies that when you move out, the responsibility of cleaning up is yours to fulfil. Part of this responsibility has its roots at the beginning of your tenancy, namely the bond and the deposit that you need to submit to the landlord before moving in. It is mandatory on part of every tenant taking an apartment on lease to sign a bond. Usually the signature is accompanied by a certain amount of money that needs to be paid to the landlord in form of a security deposit.

On his part, the landlord is supposed to return this deposit in full when the tenant decides to move out provided the apartment is as clean as it had been at the beginning of the lease. However, if the landlord finds anything lacking in terms of cleanliness, he would be well within his rights to deduct from the deposit and return only a part of it to the tenant. This is where the importance of cleaning for moving out comes in.

As a tenant the onus is on you to ensure that the apartment that you had been occupying till now is as clean as it had been when you walked in. If the landlord does not find even a single flaw, he would be bound to return the entire deposit money back to you.

Landlord’s Perspective on Move-out Cleaning

There are times when in spite of you having done your best in terms of move-out cleaning it still fails to match the landlord’s expectations and as a result you lose out on your deposit. By the time you realize it is too late and a major part of your bond is lost forever. To avoid falling into such a situation, it is important to be aware of aspects that landlords always tend to check and tenants often make the mistake of ignoring.

Following are areas of the apartment that your landlord is sure to check –

  • Top of the cupboard - While everyone remembers to clean the kitchen cupboards, very few tenants actually take note of the top of the cupboard. Landlords are probably aware of this psyche and hence always make it point to check if the top of the kitchen cupboard is clean. On finding it dirty, they deduct a certain amount from the bond.
  • Within the oven - Landlords are particular about the oven provided in the leased flat, specifically the inside of the oven. So you as a tenant must ensure that the bowel of the oven is spotless even if it means investing in a strong cleaning agent to get the job done.

Oven Cleaning - Landlord's Bone of Contention
Oven Cleaning - Landlord's Bone of Contention
  • Wall-stains - What about the stains on the walls? Inadvertent though these might be, their presence is truly an eyesore. Because their presence is the most obvious signs of a half-hearted attempt at cleaning, landlords keep a look-out for them and never fail to point out the slightest hint of a stain on the wall.
  • Refrigerator lining - Most tenants clean the refrigerator painstakingly but miss out on wiping its lining and seals. When the landlord finds them untouched, he takes it as a reason to keep part of the bond for himself.

Wiping of Light Fixtures
Wiping of Light Fixtures
  • Light Fixtures - Light fixtures are another aspect that landlords are attracted towards while checking an apartment and therefore the onus is on the tenant to remove them, clean them and fix them back.
  • Window frames - Windows also come under scrutiny as a part of move-out inspection and wiping streaks marking the panes as also dust off the frames is a good way to convince your landlord of your thoroughness in cleaning.

There are other aspects too which should be included in your move-out cleaning list but the ones listed above are what tenants inadvertently miss out only to regret later. Cognizance in this regard will not just render the task easier for you but also enable you to recover the entire amount of your bond.

Importance of Move-out Cleaning

Much of the importance of cleaning for moving out lies in the fact that landlords generally refuse to accept premises that are dirty and unhygienic. Adding to this is the fact that the bond deposit equals at least six months’ rent and hence is a substantial amount. By cleaning the apartment before moving out, not only will you save your landlord the trouble of preparing it for the next lease but also recover the deposit in full.

Tips for Planning Your Move-Out Cleaning

Assuming that it is time for you to undertake cleaning for moving out, you must chalk out a plan so that probability of achieving the dual objective of thorough cleaning and recovering the deposit are duly met. To this effect, following are the guidelines that you must follow before launching yourself on to the task at hand –

Teamwork – Cleaning for moving out is best achieved through teamwork and the number of members in your team would depend on the size of the apartment. Ideally a team should comprise of members between 2 and 4 wherein each is assigned a particular task and the work is divided equally among all. For example, one person can look after wiping and cleaning of windows while another one can take charge of the refrigerator and so on.

Gathering All the Requisite Equipment
Gathering All the Requisite Equipment

Equipment – Before embarking on the task, you must ensure that all the equipment and supplies which would facilitate cleaning of various parts of the apartment are close at hand through purchase or rent. In case you have rented equipment, then you need to handle it well and ensure that it is not damaged at the time of return. Likewise, any strong chemical-based cleaning agents should be handled with gloves on and kept out of reach of children and pets.

Utilities – Schedule your cleaning at a time when basic utilities like water supply and electricity are readily available as without these making any progress would be virtually impossible. If you are moving out during summer then another requisite would be that of air conditioning so that you and your team are unaffected by high temperatures.


Some of the precautions that you must take while cleaning for moving out are –

  • Wear protective equipment like gloves and goggles while handling cleaning agents.
  • Microfibre cloth is available in different colours to indicate its functionality and you must respect this colour code.
  • Glass and chrome surfaces are best wiped by white pads.
  • Green pads are abrasive and hence perfect for greasy surfaces.
  • To remove grime and adhesive, you must use a utility scrapper.
  • All appliances should be unplugged and disconnected before being cleaned.

Cleaning for Moving Out – Procedure to Be Followed

Cleaning for moving out need not be as boring, monotonous and time-consuming as it seems. In fact it could be truly short and sweet if carried out as per a systematic plan.

Outlined as follows is the step-by-step procedure that would enable you to complete the job efficiently in a timely manner –

  • Start by manually picking up all the trash that is too big to be extracted by the vacuum cleaner. These large objects should be collected and dumped in a corner close to the exit where they would be out of your way at the time of running the vacuum cleaner. From this point it would be easier for you to get them collected by the dumpster too.
  • The next step entails wiping of walls, ceilings, doors and baseboards with a flat microfibre mop.
  • Follow this step with thorough vacuum cleaning wherein you start from the high point of the room and move downward gradually covering light fixtures, top of cupboards, blinds and baseboard trims along the way. Cabinets and drawers can also be cleaned inside out with the vacuum cleaner by using an appropriate attachment.
  • Some of the surfaces like ceiling vents, light fixtures and blinds would need to be wiped even after vacuum cleaning just in case dust might have remained ensconced in crevices and intricate corners.

  • Wash doors and windows carefully so that while they are rid of stickers and grime, the surface does not suffer a single scratch. Likewise door-frames and window-frames that may have been swiped by a vacuum cleaner a short while ago should be wiped at this point using a cloth so that there are no remnants.
  • Like every dwelling, your apartment will have collected some amount of grime and dirt over the duration of your stay. This would need to be removed at the time of moving out and a strong recommendation would be to use natural and organic cleaning agents rather than strong chemicals.
  • Equally important is spot cleaning and this is achieved by spraying the cleaning agent on the spots, leaving it for about 10 to 15 minutes and then wiping it with a clean cloth.
  • Further deep cleaning of the premises entails scrubbing of counter-tops, tile floors, stoves, showers and sinks using hand-brushes and toothbrushes depending on the nature of the surface.
  • Lastly, clean the floor by running the vacuum cleaner and mopping the surface as a final touch.

Hiring A Professional Cleaning Service
Hiring A Professional Cleaning Service

Hiring a Professional Service to Handle Cleaning for Moving Out

Given the fact that cleaning for moving out is indeed an arduous task, you can give serious consideration to the option of hiring a professional service rather than undertake it yourself. Doing so would accrue the following benefits -

Time saving – Because a professional services dispatches employees in form of teams, work is completed within a few hours. Number of members in a team is directly proportional to the size of the premises – a bigger apartment calls for a bigger team and vice versa. With each team member undertaking a task as per his specialization, the entire apartment is ready for being handed over much earlier than if you would have undertaken the task yourself.

Experience – In addition to expertise in the field, a professional service is bound to be experienced courtesy of the number of jobs it undertakes as part of its operation. This is likely to work in your favour since the employees would be aware of the procedure as also the different cleaning agents that could be used for cleaning to be effective.

Equipment – When you undertake cleaning for moving out, chances are that you would either have to buy the requisite equipment or rent it after having checked its condition. In sharp contrast, a professional service has its own equipment and cleaning products both of which it keeps updating frequently in order to stay in business. This point would work in your favour because the fee charged by the service provider is inclusive of usage of equipment and cleaning agents.

After having been hired, the entire responsibility of cleaning for moving out is with the professional service which implies that you would be spared the stress involved and can channel the time and energy to other important tasks. Since the job is likely to be completed as per the highest standards, chances of your receiving your entire deposit are much higher.

Final Word

It is inevitable that your landlord will run an inventory check on the day that you are meant to hand over the apartment and whether you get the deposit or not depends on the outcome of this exercise.

Being aware of the nuances involved in cleaning for moving out would make it easier for you to chalk out a plan that would enable you to handle the task without feeling overwhelmed or burdened. It also pays to be aware of an alternative, namely hiring of a professional service, and its pros and cons so that this option can be considered in case circumstances turn out to be such.


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