Top Ideas to Tackle Your Move-Out Cleaning Like a Boss
July 22, 2017
Cleaning up your old home can be a more daunting job than moving out. If you or your tenant occupied the place for a long time, almost everything needs a deep clean before it's ready for the next resident. Floors and walls, indoor surfaces and outdoor areas, bathrooms, and the attic all need attention during your move-out cleaning, and each takes its own suite of products to get it clean before you hand over the keys. Here's some tips for creating a moving out checklist.
Choose the Right Tools for Flooring
If your home has carpet and hard surfaces, you know that cleaning both is essentially two jobs. Take your broom and sweep the hardwood, tile or parquet in your kitchen and entryway, and then buff it with a mop until it shines. Carpets need attention too, but the tools to clean them are vastly different. A strong vacuum cleaner is a good start for lifting dust and grit out of the fibers. After that, hit the carpeted areas with a carpet shampooer. Some wet/dry vacuums operate in both modes, so you can shampoo seconds after vacuuming. If you don't have these tools for your move-out cleaning, consider renting them.
Clean the Walls Inside and Out
Walls are a special challenge for your move-out cleaning. Walls are vertical surfaces, so it's hard to pour cleaning solution over them as you can on a linoleum floor. Instead, run a dry dust cloth over the whole wall surface to sweep away dust and dirt. Follow up on painted surfaces with a moist rag to get grease stains and ground-in dirt. Use regular hand soap for a thorough cleaning. Rub down wallpaper with an all-purpose cleaning sponge but be careful not to soak through the paper.
Special Considerations for Cleaning
Bathrooms have a lot of surfaces, each with its own cleaning procedure. Floors and walls can be handled as they are anywhere else in the house, but pay special attention to corners where dust and dirt concentrate. Run a pipe cleaner over these spots to give them the scrubbing they need. Scrub the inside of the toilet bowl with a purpose-built scrubbing brush, and use as much cleaning solution as you need. Clean the outside surface of the bowl with a sponge you aren't planning to use elsewhere. Dust the counters, and scrub out the sink with an abrasive pad. Most fixtures can be cleaned and disinfected with moist wipes. Use regular window cleaner on the mirror, but wipe it with a dry cloth afterward to prevent streaks.
If your place has large outdoor areas, you might need dedicated tools for cleaning them. Clear long walkways with a push broom or leaf blower. If fallen leaves have stained your tile or brickwork, pour hot, soapy water over the affected areas and go over them with a wire brush. Spray down exterior furniture with a garden hose and a pressure nozzle. Any kind of stiff brush works for getting grit off of your brick or stucco exterior walls, but your best bet for cleaning wood trim is a once-over with cleanser-permeated steel wool. Pull on a pair of sturdy work gloves, and scoop the leaves out of your gutters. If you've already cleaned the ground under the gutters, dump the waste into a large plastic bucket for hauling to the trash.
Whether you're a landlord who's moving a new family into your rental home or a tenant who intends to get back your security deposit, giving your home a solid deep cleaning is an unavoidable part of the moving process. Once the clutter is cleared and the last box is on the truck, getting your place back into move-in condition takes tools, cleansers and several quarts of old-fashioned elbow grease. Use this checklist to help plan your move-out cleaning.
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