7 Things You Must Clean When Moving Out of a Rental Home
If you're moving out of a rental home, you'll need to clean it well so you get your deposit back. Your goal is to put the home in the same condition as it was when you rented it. Although some wear and tear is normal, dirt and grime aren't.
Once you know what needs to be cleaned when moving out, clean from the top to the bottom, since dirt and dust will fall down from higher places like ceiling fans. Save the floors until last, or you could find yourself cleaning them only to let them get dirty again.
Here are the seven categories of what you need to clean when moving out of a rental home.
1. Clear the carpeting
If your rental home has carpet, it accumulates dirt and grime over time — even if you vacuum frequently. It probably also has some stains here and there. Spot clean using a stain remover and rent a professional carpet cleaning machine to clean the entire carpet. Since your carpet gets wet when it's cleaned, make sure it has time to dry before you move out.
2. Alter the appliances
Empty all appliances including the refrigerator, oven and washer and dryer, and clean them inside and out if they belong to your landlord. Wipe down the inside and outside of each appliance, making sure to remove any crumbs on the inside. Run the oven cleaning setting for the oven (if it has one,) but if not, buy a can of oven cleaner and do it yourself. Take time to defrost the fridge as well.
3. Wash the walls
Walls are easy to forget, but you should include them as part of what you need to clean when moving out. Use an extendable duster to clean your walls, starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. If you have any stains, Merry Maids recommends removing them by combining a few drops of dishwashing liquid with a medium-sized bowl of warm water. Use the solution to dampen a microfiber cloth, and rub the stain with it. You may have to repeat the process a few times.
If this doesn't work, buy a stain eraser and dampen it before rubbing the stain with it. Start with a small, inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn't leave any unexpected marks on the wall. And, while you're cleaning your walls, don't forget to remove any nails, hooks or other hardware you've installed. Patch up any holes this hardware has left.
4. Freshen the flooring
If you have vinyl flooring in your rental home, vacuum and mop it before moving out. Make this one of your last tasks so you don't accidentally track debris on your shoes as you come and go. If you have hardwood flooring, vacuum and then, apply a commercial hardwood floor cleaner containing isopropyl alcohol with a damp mop. Test it first on a small, inconspicuous spot before committing to the whole floor.
5. Brighten the blinds
Close the blinds and wipe them down carefully using a microfiber cloth. Open the blinds and then repeat before vacuuming up any dust and debris.
For very dirty blinds, put a clean sock on your hand and dip it in a mixture of half water and half white vinegar. Wring out the sock so it's damp but not dripping, and run your sock over each blind. Leave the blinds open afterward so they'll dry.
6. Bubble up the bathrooms
Thoroughly clean toilets, showers, bathtubs and sinks before moving out. Make sure you include towel racks, faucets and other fixtures in your cleaning. And, don't forget the tile grout, which you can clean with a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Apply some baking soda to an old toothbrush, let it sit for 20 more minutes and rinse.
7. Organize your outdoor areas
You should sweep porches, patios, sheds and any other outdoor area after removing any debris or belongings. Perform your yard maintenance according to your lease agreement, so if you're supposed to keep the lawn mown, hedges trimmed, etc., make sure these tasks are on your list of what you need to clean when moving out.
When you're finished
After you have cleaned when moving out, make sure to remove all your items when you take a final look at your rental home on moving day. Check all the doors, closets, cabinets and storage areas so you know you're not leaving anything. And, if you leave something large, like that old couch that's seen better days, you probably won't get your full deposit back since your landlord will have to pay to have it removed.
Finally, it's a good idea to take photos of your rental home to show the condition you're leaving it in. These pictures are helpful if the landlord says you left the house dirty.