Move out cleaning checklist – a tenant’s guide

Move out cleaning checklist


Moving out can be as demanding as it is exciting. Among the myriad tasks to check off our list, ensuring our soon-to-be former home is as clean as it was when we moved in tops the priority list, not just as a courtesy to the next tenants but often as a requirement to secure our bond refund. This comprehensive move out cleaning checklist is designed to streamline the process, helping us cover all necessary ground from kitchens and bathrooms to living areas and beyond.

Whether we decide to perform hire move out cleaning professionals, our guide is a roadmap to a smooth move, aiming to make the transition as stress-free as possible by ensuring every corner of your abode shines.

What we’ll need?

  • Broom, brush, and dustpan
  • Duster and gloves
  • Bucket and mop
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet steam cleaner.
  • Oven cleaner and scraper
  • A variety of cleaning agents for different surfaces.
  • Sugar Soap and sponges.
  • Paper towels and old towels for drying surfaces.
  • Squeeze and newspapers for cleaning windows.
  • Ladder and screwdriver.

Schedule and planning

Successful move-out cleaning hinges on impeccable planning and scheduling. Considering professional cleaners’ standard timelines—ranging from a few hours for studio apartments to a full day for larger houses, it is advisable to start the cleaning process several days before your move.

This approach not only ensures thorough cleaning but also provides a buffer for unforeseen delays. Key to this phase is emptying our home to facilitate access to all areas, thereby guaranteeing a comprehensive clean. Splitting the workload over multiple days can also significantly reduce the stress of moving out.

Room-by-room cleaning checklist

Kitchen deep clean

The kitchen often requires the most effort due to possible grease build-up and the presence of numerous appliances. Focus on:

  • Cleaning both the interior and exterior of the oven, using degreasing agents as needed.
  • Wiping down the stovetop, range hood, bench tops, and backsplash.
  • Cleaning the sink, including handles and spout.
  • Scrubbing the pantry, cupboards, shelves, and drawers.
  • Cleaning the microwave, dishwasher, and fridge inside and out.

Bathroom scrub down

Next in effort is the bathroom, known for soap scum, toilet stains, and hard water marks. Key cleaning actions include:

  • Washing tiles
  • Cleaning bathtubs, basins, shower glass/screens, shower heads, and faucets.
  • Disinfecting toilets
  • Cleaning vanity, medicine cabinets, and polishing mirrors.
  • Dusting air vents
Bathroom sink scrubbing

Bedroom, living room, and dining room detailing

These areas often share similar tasks due to their similar layouts:

  • Vacuum, sweep, or mop floors.
  • Clean cupboards, shelves, and drawers.
  • Wash windows, sills, and tracks.
  • Detail door frames and skirting boards.
  • Dust blinds and clean accessible light fixtures.
  • Clean light switches and power points.
  • Remove cobwebs and perform carpet steam cleaning and blind deep cleaning as required.

Laundry room and balcony clean-up

Don’t overlook the laundry room and balcony, often forgotten spaces that detract from overall cleanliness if neglected. Remember to:

  • Vacuum, sweep, or mop floors
  • Wipe down washer and dryer surfaces, including removing the dryer lint
  • Clean the sink and its components
  • For balconies, sweep or mop the floor and wash sliding patio doors and tracks

Garage sweep

The garage often requires less cleaning effort but should not be ignored. Simple actions like sweeping the floors and removing cobwebs, along with cleaning any cupboards and shelves, can significantly improve its appearance. A well-executed move-out clean not only ensures the return of our security deposit but also leaves the property in a welcoming condition for the next tenant.

Final steps

Once the cleaning is done, a few final steps remain to ensure a smooth property handover to our landlord.

Final walk

Before officially moving out, request a final walk-through with our landlord. This step allows for verification that the property meets the agreed-upon cleanliness and repair standards. It’s our opportunity to address any lasting concerns directly and avoid potential disputes over the security deposit.

Repair and touch-ups

During the cleaning process, you might identify minor damages or wear and tear that require attention.

Addressing these issues before the final inspection can positively impact your security deposit refund. This could include patching small holes in the walls, touch-up painting, and fixing loose hardware.

Carpet cleaning considerations

Carpets are often a focal point for inspecting officers due to their capacity to hold dirt, stains, and odors. If our rental agreement specifies the need for professional carpet cleaning, ensure we schedule this service well before our move-out date.

Keep the receipt as proof of the cleaning for our landlord. If deciding to clean the carpets yourself, consider renting a steam cleaner to remove dirt and grime effectively.

A man is cleaning white carpet with brush

Common end-of-lease cleaning challenges

When it comes to end-of-lease cleaning, tenants often face a myriad of challenges. From ensuring all areas are spotless to dealing with unexpected damages, the process can seem daunting. However, with proper planning and execution, these challenges can be effectively managed.

Damages and repairs

One of the first steps in preparing for a move-out clean is to assess and address any damages or repairs. Normal wear and tear are expected, but significant damages should be repaired before the final inspection. This may include patching holes in walls, fixing broken fixtures, or repainting scuffed walls.

Transparent communication with your landlord about any damages—not covered by normal wear and tear—and your plans to repair them can help smooth the process and ensure you are not unfairly penalized.

Cleaning and decluttering

A thorough cleaning cannot commence until the space is decluttered. Start by removing any personal belongings and disposing of or donating items no longer needed. Next, tackle each room methodically, focusing on areas that are often overlooked, such as behind appliances, inside cabinets, and under furniture.

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Inspections and walk-throughs

Conducting a final walk-through with your landlord or real estate agent is a critical step in the move-out process. This allows both parties to assess the cleanliness and condition of the property. Prepare for the inspection by completing a detailed cleaning of the premises, using a checklist to ensure every area is covered.

Document the property’s condition with photos during the walk-through to avoid disputes over the security deposit. Address any concerns raised by the landlord promptly to ensure a smooth transition and the return of your full deposit.

Professional cleaning services vs DIY cleaning

When it comes to moving out, one of the primary concerns is leaving the property in pristine condition to ensure the return of your security deposit.

Cleaning can be done in two ways: tackling it yourself (DIY) or hiring professional cleaning services. Both methods come with their own set of advantages and limitations.

Pros and cons of DIY cleaning

DIY cleaning is often motivated by the prospect of saving money. By taking on the cleaning tasks yourself, you can allocate funds elsewhere during your move. However, DIY cleaning demands a significant investment of your time and effort. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Cost-effective: Primarily saves money.
  • Flexibility: Allows you to clean on your schedule.
  • Familiarity: You know your space and its problematic areas better than anyone.

Drawbacks include the time-consuming nature of DIY cleaning, the potential for less-than-professional results, and the need to purchase or rent cleaning equipment and supplies.

Pros of hiring professional cleaners

Professional move out cleaning services take the burden of deep cleaning off your shoulders. These services come with several benefits that often justify the extra cost:

  • Efficiency and expertise: Professional cleaners have the tools, products, and experience to efficiently handle all types of dirt, grime, and stains.
  • Time-saving: Hiring professionals allows you to focus on other aspects of moving out.
  • Stress-reducing: Knowing that a professional team is ensuring the cleanliness of your premises can significantly reduce moving-related stress.


Successfully moving out of a property involves more than just transporting our possessions to a new location. It requires a thoughtful and thorough clean-up of your current residence, especially when we want to secure a full bond refund. By following a move out cleaning checklist, we make sure every nook and cranny of the property is addressed, leaving the space in the same condition as when we moved in.

To meet the requirements set by landlords or property managers and ensure a smooth transition for the next tenants, end of lease cleaning is crucial. It involves deep cleaning all areas of the property, including floors, walls, windows, and appliances, to make sure everything looks spick and span.


Do I need to hire professional cleaners for my end-of-lease cleaning?

While not always legally required, hiring professional cleaners is highly recommended to ensure the property meets the landlord’s standards. Professional cleaners are experienced in deep cleaning and tackling tough areas, increasing your chances of receiving your full deposit back. If budget constraints make professional cleaning unfeasible, a thorough DIY approach, guided by an approved checklist, can also be effective.

How much does end-of-lease cleaning cost?

The cost of end-of-lease cleaning varies depending on the size of the property and the extent of cleaning required. Generally, the price could range from a couple hundred to over a thousand dollars. Obtaining multiple quotes from cleaning services can help you find the best deal and ensure that the cleaning meets your lease agreement’s standards.

What areas should I prioritize during end-of-lease cleaning?

Focus on high-traffic areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms. Ensure carpets are steam cleaned if required, appliances are degreased, and all surfaces are dusted and wiped down. Windows, balconies, and any outdoor areas also need attention. Using a room-by-room checklist can ensure every area is noticed.

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