Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Apartment Before Moving Out
First, Understand Your Apartment Cleaning Responsibilities
Our next installment in our apartment moving tips series covers cleaning tips. But first, it’s important to understand what’s expected of you when you move out. Talk to your property manager or landlord. Many times, professionally managed buildings will handle the cleaning and restoration of the apartment to prepare it for the next resident.
Learning what you’re responsible for can also save you a good bit of money, as you may not have to hire a carpet cleaning company or other similar service providers. That will be taken care of as part of the management company’s apartment preparation process.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still clean the apartment. Not only is it common decency, but it also may be required.
If your building required a security deposit, you probably want to get the most money back that you can. Cleaning your apartment is part of that. When you moved in, you may have had to record the condition of the property. And when you move out, its condition will be checked against your original record.
So, make it a goal to clean your apartment so well that it appears you were never even there.
Of course, that’s not always possible. We understand that. Time and use mean wear and tear. Carpets get matted down. Walls get scuffs. Stainless steel gets dinged. Wood can break, and pipes can leak. Pets have accidents. These things happen.
But while those instances of damage will likely be repaired by the property management company, that shouldn’t stop you from pulling up your sleeves and putting some elbow grease into making the home that has treated you so well look great for the next tenant (more on that shortly).
All Right — Time to Start Cleaning Your Apartment
Now, when we say cleaning, we don’t mean the standard weekend room-by-room wipe-down. We mean deep cleaning. We mean doing the things that you don’t typically do just to make the place presentable for guests. We mean that you’ll probably want a shower when you’re done.
Here’s a quick rundown of some apartment deep cleaning ideas. Some can be started while you’re preparing to move out, and some may have to wait until after everything is out. If you’re super efficient, clean a room after your movers have emptied it and are loading up the next room.
Living Room and Bedrooms
- Start from the top down. For all rooms, use an extendable duster to get cobwebs out of corners and to clean ceiling fans. Clean door frames, spot clean and patch walls, and then dust and wipe down baseboards throughout.
- Clean windows and glass doors with a non-streaking glass cleaner.
- Vacuum carpet thoroughly, using a deep cleaner if needed (you can rent these from hardware stores).
- For hardwood, sweep up dust and hair, then apply a hardwood floor cleaner to remove scuff marks.
- Clean out the refrigerator and wipe down the interior with a cleaning solution. If the exterior is stainless steel, use Pledge to make it shine like new.
- For dirty ovens, here’s a tutorial using baking soda and vinegar for overnight cleaning.
- Clean a food-spattered microwave by zapping a bowl of water and lemon juice for 3 minutes then wiping the interior.
- Disinfect countertops. For stained laminate, use baking soda and water to form a paste over the stain and let it sit overnight. Stains on granite can be removed as well with different methods depending on the stain.
- Clean the sink and faucet to make it shine. Wipe out the area under the sink, too.
- Use a glass cleaner to shine up mirrors and other reflective surfaces.
- Got soap scum and dried toothpaste in the sink? Distilled white vinegar is your solution. It can also help with a dirty shower.
- Clean all the surfaces of the toilet with a disinfecting bathroom cleaner.
- Then, sweep and mop the floor.
When You Clean, You’re Helping More Than Just Yourself
Put yourself in this situation: You’ve found the perfect apartment You’ve signed a lease and are moving in. You walk into the elevator, arms loaded up with boxes, and ride up several stories to your new apartment. You can’t wait to see the view again. It’s been a month since you were here last planning the best use of the space.
When you get there, you unlock the door and walk in. Immediately, you feel dirty. Everything smells like a high school locker room. There are smudges on the wood flooring so pronounced that they look like spilled milk. The carpet in the bedroom is matted down and as cushiony as concrete. The bathroom looks like someone just used it, and the kitchen is looking like a health code violation.
This is an extreme example — one that a reputable property manager wouldn’t allow. But you get the point. Had the previous tenant bothered to deep clean, you wouldn’t be in this situation.
Remember, what you leave behind not only impacts what you could get back on your deposit, but it’s also a reflection of you. Be courteous and clean for the next person who’ll call it home.
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