Move Out Cleaning Checklist

Why You Need a Move Out Cleaning Checklist

Simply because: moving is stressful and the cleaning process is the last thing you want to worry about. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to leave the property in tip-top shape, or you’re a renter who is trying to get your full deposit back, making sure you’re leaving a clean home is key to moving on. 

Maid Zen’s Helpful, Easy to Read Move Out Cleaning Checklist

Downloadable resources:

Here’s our cleaning list to tackle before moving out of your house.

First things first: property-wide cleaning before you move on to individual rooms:

  • Dust ceilings and ceiling fixtures
  • Dust walls (top down) and wall fixtures

Make sure you tackle all the dusting before you move on to vacuuming and mopping the floors.

Move Out Cleaning: Kitchens

When you’re moving out, cleaning the kitchen can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. Kitchen gets a lot of use and needs a lot of cleaning attention. For our list below, it’s best to make sure all cabinets, drawers, and appliances are cleaned out.

  • Wipe down countertops and kitchen backsplash
  • Tops and outsides of large appliances (ovens, fridge, dishwasher, microwave)
  • Wipe down inside and outside of cabinets and drawers
  • Inside microwave
  • Pull out your stove and clean down the sides and around, sweep floor underneath
  • Pull out your fridges and clean the sides, sweep floor underneath
  • Baseboards
  • Vacuum and mop floors

Move Out Cleaning Checklist: Bathrooms

Bathrooms require a different type of cleaning prowess and a different set of tools to get the job done. Not only are there toilets, but there’s a lot of other types of grime and goo. Here’s how to successfully clean your bathrooms prior to moving out.

  • Spray and wipe down shower area, being sure to take care of the grout and any soap scum
  • Clean shower drains and spray out the shower basin
  • Spray cleaner on the inside of toilet bowl and let it sit while you wipe down the sinks and toilet
  • Spray toilets and sinks, wipe down
  • Spray glass cleaner on the mirror and wipe down
  • Clean inside and outside bathroom shelves and cabinets
  • Vacuum and mop floors

Move Out Cleaning Checklist: Bedrooms

Similar to kitchens, by the time you’re starting the move out cleaning, it’s best that you have all of your stuff moved out so that you’re able to clean floors, walls, and windows without any of your stuff in the way. The good news? Once your stuff is out, bedrooms become pretty easy to clean.

  • Wipe down door jams, corners, window sills, etc – any surface where dust and debris might collect
  • Spray down and clean inside of the windows in the room
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Trimwork and Molding.
  • Vacuum carpet and mop if you have hardwood floors

Move Out Cleaning Checklist: Common Areas (Living Rooms, Hallways, Dens, etc)

Common area rooms often have a hybrid role in most homes – people use it for relaxation, study, dining, projects, etc. There’s a lot that can happen in common areas and they’re all extremely different, making it difficult to write a foolproof checklist. Our best advice is to use your best judgment. It will likely be a combination of the different checklists from above.

  • Wipe down door jams, corners, window sills, etc – any surface where dust and debris might collect
  • Spray down and clean inside of the windows in the room
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Trimwork and Molding.
  • Wipe down countertops or shelves and fixtures
  • Vacuum carpet and mop if you have hardwood floors

The list above should take care of most of the rooms in a standard house, however, some homes have unique areas. Be sure to take our recommendations above and apply them to any rooms not explicitly listed.

Move Out Cleaning Tools & Supplies You’ll Need

Along with a household vacuum cleaner and mop, you’ll need the following supplies to successfully clean your home:

  • Duster
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Plenty of microfiber cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags

How to Handle Small Repairs / Updates

In some cases, you’ll need to conduct small repairs and updates to get your property back to its move in shine. The most common small repair that movers will need to make will be filling holes and repainting. These often happen to most homes either from daily wear and tear, or hanging pictures or fixtures. 

Here’s how to fix damaged walls: 

  • Get spackle from the local hardware store and use it to fill in holes in the drywall
  • Get paint that matches the current color – you can peel a piece of painted wall off, bring it to the hardware store and they’ll be able to match the color
  • Once your spackle has dried, use your new paint to touch up the spots with the dried plaster

Here’s a good video on how that’s done:

Move Out Cleaning Checklist FAQs

How clean should your home or apartment be before moving?

In most cases, your apartment or home should look as clean as it was when you moved in. Most tenants or homeowners don’t have photos of what the property looked like when they moved in so you’ll have to try and clean it as efficiently as possible. If you’re unsure, your best bet is to hire a professional cleaning service to do the job.

Does a move out cleaning help me with my deposit?

Yes, a professional move out cleaning will help make sure that you get your deposit back when you move out of the house.

Does a move out cleaning help me with my asking price?

The home buying process is complex so in most cases, the new homeowners have seen the home and its cleanliness before they submit their offer. If you’re working with a realtor, they will want to make sure the home is professionally cleaned prior to any showings so that you can get the max asking price possible.

The Cost of a Typical Move Out Cleaning

The time and cost of a professional move-out cleaning service will depend on the size of the home, the number of rooms, the location, and any special requests. On average, the cost of such a service in Houston is between $4 and $6 per square foot and includes cleaning all bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, hallways, and entryways. An alternative way to estimate the cost is to assume around $75 per bedroom. The final cost may vary based on the specific cleaning service and the initial condition of the home. Homes that have had regular cleaning services may be able to get a more affordable move-in/move-out cleaning compared to a one-time cleaning. To get an accurate estimate, it is recommended to contact a professional cleaning service and provide them with details.

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