You've packed up all your boxes. The furniture has been moved out of the house. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that your job is done. Whether you want to increase your odds of getting as much as possible of your deposit back or you want to leave the house in the best possible shape for the next occupant, you need to take care of those last cleaning tasks. Make sure that you haven't missed anything along the way with this critical move out cleaning checklist. Throughout the House
Ideally, you want to work from the top down as you go through the house and take care of your move out cleaning. As you dust or clean, you may disturb some of the dust or create dirt that will immediately make its way to the floor--which means that if you start your house cleaning list by vacuuming the floors, you're just going to end up having to come right back to do it again! Go through all the rooms of your house and make sure that you:
1. Remove any nails and screws from the walls. Putty over the holes and smooth them out if needed. If necessary, repaint your walls.
2. Dust off ceiling fixtures. This is where you'll start knocking dust to the floor, especially if you've lived in the property for a while and haven't cleaned your light fixtures!
3. Replace burnt out bulbs. This is especially important if you need to show the property.
4. Clear away any cobwebs. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms and closets, where they're more likely to gather over time.
5. Dust ledges and blinds throughout the room. There's more dust making its way to the floor! If you have blinds that you will be leaving on the property, you may want to consider professional cleaning services to ensure that they look clean and new, rather than trying to clean them yourself--especially if a great deal of dust has accumulated over your tenure in the home.
6. Clean the windows. If possible, clean both inside and outside. If you're trying to clean the outside windows, but can't reach them, don't worry too much about it--but do make sure that the interior of the windows is as clean as possible.
7. Dust the doors. If you have textured doors, dust can collect in the designs, especially around the bottom.
8. Wipe down doorknobs, electrical outlets, and switch plates. These areas often collect substantial fingerprints and dirt over the course of long use. Wipe them down and leave them shining and clean again!
9. Wipe down the walls, if needed. Walls can accumulate dirt just like any other area of the house. Wipe down the walls first to make sure that you've removed any surface dirt and dust. You can use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to get all that dust wiped away, but make sure that you've tested it before use so that you don't inadvertently transfer more dust! Then, make a mild cleaning solution. Keep in mind that some types of paint finishes, including eggshell, flat, or stain, are more likely to rub away as you clean, especially if you use an abrasive cleaner or have to scrub hard to remove a stubborn stain. To help protect the walls and prevent you from having to repaint, start by wiping away any stains with water. If that doesn't work, a mixture of dish soap and water may provide a little cleaning power without stripping away the paint. Always test your cleaner on a small area of the wall, ideally near the bottom, before using it on a large section of the wall.
10. Wipe down the baseboards. Like your walls, start with a dry dust cloth. If the baseboards need more detailed cleaning, try a mixture of dish soap and water. Make sure that you test a small area of the baseboards, especially if they are clearly painted or stained. If you do use a liquid cleaner, wipe the baseboards down again with a dry cloth when you finish and leave them to dry.
11. Clean the floors. In carpeted rooms, start by vacuuming the carpet. You may want to rent a carpet cleaner or, in many cases, hire a professional to have the carpets professionally cleaned, especially if you have lived in the property for a long time or notice substantial staining in any area of the carpet. With your furniture no longer in the room, you may notice a significant difference in the areas of the floor covered by your furniture, or you might no longer have a way to conceal stains. A professional carpet cleaner may be able to refresh those carpets and have them looking like new again.
On non-carpeted floors, clean them as normal: sweep, then mop with an approved cleaning solution designed specifically for the type of flooring you're cleaning. If you're using a new cleaner, test it on a small area of the floor before using it over the entire square footage of the room.
The kitchen is the heart of a home--and it's also a place that collects messes like any other. As you move through your house cleaning checklist, the kitchen is one of the most important spaces to clean thoroughly. You want to leave it shining and looking like new for the next family to arrive. Follow these steps.
1. Make sure the cabinets are cleaned out completely. Remove any shelf liners you may have put in if they are peeling up or showing signs of dirt and wear. Wipe down the insides of the cabinets. If you notice food debris in the corners, use your vacuum cleaner hose to clean out those areas. Don't forget to wipe down the top of the cabinets!
2. Wipe down the fronts of the cabinets. Take the finish on your cabinets into account. A light cleaner should be enough to remove most of the grime and stains from your cabinets without removing the paint.
3. Scrub the refrigerator inside and out. Pull out all shelves and drawers and wash them in the sink. If you have set-in stains, including stains from spilled food, dish soap is the most effective way to scrub them out.
4. Clean out the oven. If it has a self-cleaning cycle, use it first. If it doesn't, find an approved oven cleaner. If you have a glass door in your oven, you may want to take it apart and clean it, as well. Your oven sees a lot of messes--many of them contained inside the oven itself. You may need to put in some elbow grease and heavy-duty scrubbing to get your oven looking like new again. In the end, however, it's well worth the effort! Don't forget the stove top. Make sure scrub in all the corners and crevices to get it completely clean. Remove burners and wipe them down with dish soap and water if needed.
5. Clean the dishwasher. A cup of vinegar in the top of the dishwasher will take out many of the stains and food smells. You can then simply wipe down the inside of the dishwasher. Take out the filter in the bottom and remove any food particles. If the property is likely to be open for a while before the next family moves in, you may want to leave the dishwasher propped open so that it can dry completely, rather than closing it up again.
6. Clean out the exhaust fan, if needed. Many people ignore the exhaust fan while living in a property. When you're ready to move out, however, you may realize just how much grime the fan has collected. Take the time to clean it properly.
7. Pull out all appliances and sweep and mop behind them. Often, those hidden areas collect more dirt than you realize.
8. Wipe down and sanitize all the counter tops. Pay particular attention to places that were covered with your appliances or other areas, since these sections of counter top are more likely to collect stains and debris.
Like the kitchen, bathrooms have a lot of hidden spots where grime can collect quickly. Make sure your home is completely clean--and increase your odds of getting your deposit back--by checking these items off of your move out cleaning list.
1. Scrub the tub or shower completely. Remove all soap scum. If needed, bleach the grout between the tiles so that it will look fresh and new again.
2. Wipe down the insides of bathroom cabinets and drawers. Check for hair and lint in cracks and crevices, and make sure you get it all out. If you used drawer liners, go ahead and take them out.
3. Scrub the toilet. Scrub all over the outside of the toilet, including under the seat. If your toilet seat has seen significantly better days, now is the ideal time to replace it! A toilet seat is a cheap replacement, but it can make a big difference in the overall appearance of the bathroom.
4. Wipe down the counters and sinks. Leave the faucets shining!
5. Clean the mirror. Make sure you check along the top of the mirror for dust as well as polishing it to a shine.
6. Scrub the floors. Bathroom floors, especially around the toilet, can get grimier than in other areas of the house. Pay particular attention as you mop your bathroom floor to make sure you take care of those areas. Shaving cream can help remove that persistent pee smell that sometimes lingers in the bathroom: use it to wipe down the toilet and the area in front of it, if needed.
Check your lease to learn what you need to take care of as far as outdoor cleanup before you leave. If it's your property and you're selling it, or if you're responsible for outdoor maintenance, you may need to pay more attention to those outdoor cleanup tasks than if you don't have to worry about them. Your outdoor move out checklist may include several key items, depending on the size of the house and property.
1. Remove any items that belong to you. Outdoor decorations sometimes get left behind during the move because they aren't located in one of the areas you focus on as you pick up. Walk around the property and remove any personal items before you seal your last box shut. Don't forget your outdoor furniture, grill, cooking supplies, or toys.
2. Wash the porch, deck, or other outdoor areas. Scrubbing down the porch and deck can help remove dirt stains and help the property look like new. Remember, curb appeal is incredibly important when trying to sell or rent out a property!
3. Pull any weeds in the gardens and beds. While you may not be around to appreciate the fruits of your labor, you don't want to let the property get overgrown.
4. Trim shrubs and bushes, if needed. You don't want to let those tasks get out of control just when you're ready to move out!
5. Trim the grass. If you're responsible for lawn care services, you will want to make sure that the grass is trimmed and the yard is in great shape before you hand over the keys.
Those last cleaning tasks can feel insurmountable, especially if you don't have a clear list in front of you that will help you decide what to do next and what steps you need to take to make the property look its best before you move out. With this checklist, however, you can ensure that you take care of every detail of cleaning up the property. Do you need help with cleaning up your home so that you can move out? Want help with removal services? Contact us! We'll make the move out process easier so that you can focus on the important details of moving into your new property.