Ultimate Guide to Move Out Cleaning, Tips and Checklist

Moving out can be both exciting and stressful. Amidst packing boxes and organizing logistics, cleaning your old space might be the last thing on your mind. However, a thorough move-out cleaning is crucial. Not only can it help you secure your security deposit, but it also ensures the next occupants walk into a fresh, clean home. In this guide, we’ll walk you through essential tips and a comprehensive checklist to make your move-out cleaning seamless and efficient.

Why Move-Out Cleaning is Essential

  1. Security Deposit: A detailed cleaning can help you reclaim your full security deposit.
  2. Landlord Satisfaction: Leaving the property in pristine condition can lead to positive references.
  3. Good Karma: A clean home is a kind gesture for the next tenants or homeowners.

Move-Out Cleaning Tips

1. Start Early

Begin the cleaning process as early as possible. This allows you to tackle different areas without feeling overwhelmed. Divide your cleaning tasks over several days to manage your time efficiently.

2. Gather Supplies

Ensure you have all necessary cleaning supplies on hand:

  • Multi-surface cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Sponges and scrubbers
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop and bucket
  • Trash bags

3. Declutter First

Remove all personal items before starting the cleaning process. This will make it easier to see what needs cleaning and prevents you from cleaning around objects.

4. Clean from Top to Bottom

Dust and dirt fall from higher surfaces to lower ones. Start cleaning from the ceiling, fans, and shelves, and work your way down to the floor.

Comprehensive Move-Out Cleaning Checklist


  • Appliances: Clean inside and out of the oven, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Don’t forget to wipe down the stovetop and range hood.
  • Cabinets and Drawers: Empty and wipe down all cabinets and drawers.
  • Countertops and Backsplash: Scrub to remove stains and grease.
  • Sink and Faucet: Clean and polish the sink and faucet.
  • Floors: Sweep and mop thoroughly.


  • Toilet: Clean inside, outside, and around the base.
  • Shower and Bathtub: Scrub tiles, grout, and fixtures. Don’t forget the shower doors or curtain.
  • Sink and Countertop: Wipe down all surfaces and polish fixtures.
  • Mirror: Use a glass cleaner for a streak-free shine.
  • Cabinets and Drawers: Empty and clean inside.
  • Floors: Sweep and mop, paying special attention to corners.

Living Areas and Bedrooms

  • Dusting: Dust all surfaces, including shelves, light fixtures, and baseboards.
  • Windows: Clean windows inside and out, and wipe down sills and tracks.
  • Walls and Baseboards: Wipe down to remove any marks or scuffs.
  • Closets: Empty and clean shelves and floors.
  • Floors: Vacuum carpets and mop hard floors. Consider professional carpet cleaning for a deeper clean.

Other Areas

  • Laundry Room: Clean washer and dryer inside and out. Wipe down shelves and mop the floor.
  • Garage/Basement: Sweep and remove any trash or leftover items.

Final Touches

  • Air Freshening: Air out the home to eliminate any lingering odors. Use air fresheners or baking soda to keep it smelling fresh.
  • Repairs: Fix minor issues such as holes in the wall, broken fixtures, or leaky faucets.


What is move-out cleaning?

Move-out cleaning is a thorough cleaning of a rental property when a tenant moves out. It ensures that the property is left in good condition for the next tenant and helps the departing tenant secure their security deposit.

2. Why is move-out cleaning important?

Move-out cleaning is crucial because it:

  • Increases the likelihood of getting your full security deposit back.
  • Leaves a good impression on your landlord, which can be beneficial for future references.
  • Ensures a clean and welcoming environment for the next occupants.

3. When should I start my move-out cleaning?

It’s best to start the move-out cleaning process as early as possible. Begin cleaning once you have packed most of your belongings, ideally a few days before your move-out date. This allows you to clean thoroughly without feeling rushed.

4. What supplies do I need for move-out cleaning?

You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Multi-surface cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Sponges and scrubbers
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop and bucket
  • Trash bags

5. Should I clean the property myself or hire a professional service?

It depends on your time, budget, and the condition of the property. DIY cleaning can save money, but hiring a professional service ensures a thorough job and can save you time and effort. Professional cleaners are also more likely to meet the landlord’s standards.

6. What areas should I focus on during move-out cleaning?

Key areas to focus on include:

  • Kitchen: Appliances, cabinets, countertops, sink, and floors.
  • Bathrooms: Toilet, shower/bathtub, sink, mirror, cabinets, and floors.
  • Living Areas and Bedrooms: Dusting, windows, walls, baseboards, closets, and floors.
  • Other Areas: Laundry room, garage, and basement.

7. How do I clean stubborn stains and grime?

Use appropriate cleaners for each type of stain:

  • Oven and stovetop grease: Use a degreaser or baking soda paste.
  • Bathroom tiles and grout: Use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda or a commercial grout cleaner.
  • Hard water stains: Use white vinegar or a specialized cleaner.

8. What should I do about lingering odors?

To eliminate lingering odors:

  • Air out the property: Open windows and doors to let fresh air circulate.
  • Use air fresheners: Spray air fresheners or use plug-in diffusers.
  • Baking soda: Place bowls of baking soda around the property to absorb odors.

9. How can I ensure my landlord is satisfied with the cleaning?

To ensure your landlord is satisfied:

  • Follow a comprehensive checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Pay attention to detail and clean areas that are often overlooked, such as baseboards and light fixtures.
  • Consider hiring a professional cleaning service that offers a guarantee to pass the landlord’s inspection.

10. What if there are damages or repairs needed in the property?

Address minor repairs before your final move-out inspection:

  • Patch up holes in the walls.
  • Fix broken fixtures or leaky faucets.
  • Replace burnt-out light bulbs.

11. Can I get help from professional cleaners for specific tasks only?

Yes, many professional cleaning services offer customizable packages. You can hire them for specific tasks such as carpet cleaning, window washing, or deep cleaning specific rooms.

12. How do I find a reliable move-out cleaning service?

To find a reliable cleaning service:

  • Read online reviews and testimonials.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends or family.
  • Compare quotes and services from multiple companies.
  • Ensure they offer a satisfaction guarantee.


Move-out cleaning might seem daunting, but with proper planning and a systematic approach, it can be tackled efficiently. Remember, a clean home not only ensures you leave on good terms but also makes a positive impact on the next occupant. Use this guide to navigate your move-out cleaning with ease, ensuring a spotless and stress-free transition to your new home.

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