When you’re moving, there’s that lingering fear about getting your security deposit back. Some places are stricter than others. If you’re in the military, expect a military-level home inspection. That’s even tougher than the mother-in-law test. With a strict landlord, you’ll be subject to more than the finger swipe across the mantel. Hiring a professional cleaning company is one option. If you’d prefer to do it on your own, cleaning professional Dmitri Kara has some cleaning hacks for you.
1. Start With Your Bedroom First
Dust and cobwebs will give you away as someone who hasn’t done a thorough job cleaning. Getting rid of the dust and dirt should be your first step.
- Remove cobwebs from ceilings and corners.
- Dust reachable tops – dressers, shelving, bookcases.
- Wipe accumulated dust and dirt from top of doors, lights, lamp shades and curtain rails.
- Properly vacuum and dust both sides of curtains and blinds.
- Wipe and polish mirrors, pictures and other wall-hangings.
- Remove/repaint dirty spots from walls (if possible).
- Mop hardwood floors and vacuum carpet.
Mr. Clean’s Magical Eraser really is magic. No, I am not affiliated with the company in any way. However, if they want to send some free stuff my way, I’d love that.
2. Tackle the Bathroom Next
Your landlord will be able to smell your dirty bathroom from a mile away. You’ll want to clean and polish everything in the bathroom to make it sparkle. Hopefully, these cleaning hacks will help.
A tip to avoid manual scrubbing from Dmitri Kara, who is part of a team of professional technicians for post-tenancy cleaning in London:
“Spray all over your bathroom with any average all-purpose cleaner – countertops, walls, cupboards, etc. Turn the hot water on until you steam your whole bathroom. Leave it be for a while. Afterwards, wipe everything with a dry cloth or paper towel. You will have your bathroom fresh and clean in no time. Make sure to properly ventilate!”
- Scrub and rinse toilet
- Clean plumbing behind the toilet, if reachable.
- Clean sink and faucets.
- Remove hard water stains.
- Wipe towel rails.
- Wipe marks and stains from shower curtains.
- Scrub and rinse bathtub marks and signs of mildew (if present).
- Make sure to clean hair from drainage.
- Wipe and polish mirrors and glass surfaces.
- Rinse and wipe shower heads, faucets and metal surfaces.
- Scrub and rinse accumulated dirt from the toothbrush area.
- Clean extractor fans. It is where dirt accumulates the most.
- Wipe reachable bathroom tiles.
Ali’s Tip: If the shower curtain is in bad shape, consider purchasing a new shower liner to avoid the hassle of cleaning the old one. You can get an inexpensive liner for a few dollars and save yourself a lot of time.
3. Kitchen Cleaning Hacks
In the last week before your move, you probably won’t be making too many elaborate meals at home. Use that time to start cleaning out your kitchen. Some of these apply to furnished rentals only. No need to arrange your cutlery if you’re about to throw it into a moving box.
- Wash and polish all worktops, countertops and near-sink areas.
- Clean kitchen cupboards, drawers and shelving.
- Throw out food leftovers.
- Wash and polish sinks and faucets.
- De-grease and polish wall tiles.
- Remove mold growth between grout.
- Clean and degrease ovens internally and externally.
- Scrub gas rings and gas control knobs.
- Clean microwave inside and out.
- Defrost refrigerator at least 24 hours in advance and dispose of grime, mildew and food deposits.
- Clean dishwasher interior and exterior if accessible.
- Clean exterior of all appliances.
- Sanitize garbage bins and remove trash.
- Stack and arrange cutlery, utensils and other dining inventory.
- Clean windows from within and wipe down sills, ledges and frames.
- Mop and polish floors.
4. Carpets are Crucial for a Landlord Inspection
According to Dmitri, “Carpet cleaning is among the hardest to tackle, especially when moving out. Without a shadow of doubt, the best way is to use a professional carpet cleaning machine or a rainbow vacuum cleaner. The next best option is to DIY and scrub it like crazy.”
- Thoroughly vacuum carpet, including carpet edges.
- Relocate furnishings to vacuum underneath them.
- Steam clean, if possible. Steam cleaners can be rented.
- Try hand-washing stains.
5. Make the Windows Sparkle
Your home will look a whole lot nicer with sparkling windows and the sun shining in on your clean place. In order to clean your windows, follow these steps:
- Remove any marks, fingerprints and oily stains.
- Wipe down to prevent streaks when drying.
- Clean window sills.
- Wipe down frames, including the inner ledge and tops.
- Dust off blinds, curtains and shades
Dmitri’s tip: “If you do not have a decent squeegee – use old papers for your final polish. If you’ve never tried it – prepare to be amazed.”
Take Photos and Follow-Up With Your Landlord
You’ve done all of the work of getting your place cleaned. Take photos so you have proof of your efforts. Ask your landlord when you should receive your security deposit back. If possible, do a final walk-through of your space with your landlord. Ask if there’s anything she feels you missed so that you can correct it. By completing a final walk-through with your landlord, you may be able to receive your security deposit in person at that time.