How To Clean An Apartment Before Moving Out [Checklist]

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Updated February 26, 2022
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A Thorough Guide to Move Out Cleaning

After all the boxes are packed up and the moving truck is reserved, there’s still one more important step to complete before you can officially move out of your apartment. That’s right; cleaning.

If you want to receive your entire security deposit back (trust us, you do), you will need to leave your apartment in spotless condition upon moving out. Use this helpful move-out cleaning checklist to make sure you don’t forget any important areas!

Overall Move Out Cleaning Checklist

Who said cleaning has to be boring? Turn up your favorite playlist and make an event out of it! The following cleaning steps apply to any room around your apartment, whether it be the:

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Laundry room

As a bonus, many of these cleaning steps can be completed before your final day in the apartment to help lessen your workload on your last day.

woman listening to music while move out cleaning

Clear Cobwebs

This step can be completed days or even a couple of weeks before you move out. Get a long duster and dust your walls, pulling down cobwebs as you see them. Pay careful attention to corners and baseboards, as dust and cobwebs tend to accumulate in those areas.

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Dust Blinds and Clean Windows

We recommend dusting your blinds before washing them with a damp rag. This way, you’ll avoid the time-consuming mess that happens when dust gets wet.

When your blinds are clean, grab your favorite glass cleaner and spray down the windows around your apartment. Scrub away the residue with a rag or paper towel. Don’t forget to clean the window sills!

woman dusting her blinds while move out cleaning

Patch Nail Holes

Be sure to prepare for this step in advance, as you will need supplies you might not normally have around your house. If you used nails to hang wall art or mirrors around your apartment, be sure to fill them before moveout. You will need:

  • Nail filler/spackle
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint that matches your wall

Clean Lighting Fixtures

Dust light fixtures around your apartment— the long, extended duster you used for your walls will work great here. Replace any burnt-out lightbulbs if necessary.

Dust Vents

Any vents on the ceiling or along the baseboards will need to be dusted. For a more thorough clean, remove the cover and dust the interior before reattaching the cover.

Vacuum, Sweep, and Mop Floors

We recommend saving cleaning the floors for last. As you dust and clean other surfaces, debris will fall on the floor, so you can avoid cleaning the floors multiple times if you simply handle them last.

Vacuum all carpeting, and sweep and mop hardwood or tile floors. Some apartments may require you to have the carpet professionally shampooed before your lease is up.

man in headphones mopping while move out cleaning

Kitchen-Specific Move Out Cleaning

Your kitchen has additional appliances that require extra attention. Use this checklist to ensure nothing goes unnoticed in your kitchen!

Clear All Cabinets

It may seem obvious, but everything will need to be cleared out of your drawers, cabinets, and pantry. You don’t want to accidentally leave boxes of food for your property manager to toss away! When all boxes, cans, and utensils are removed, wipe down the shelves with a damp cloth. And don’t forget to check above the cabinets!

cleaning out cabinets and drawers during move out cleaning

Clean Inside and Outside of Refrigerator

Cleaning the refrigerator is a task that will likely need to wait until move-out day. Throw away all spoiled or expired food and pack up everything else you want to bring to your new apartment or house. When the fridge is clear, wipe down the interior and exterior with an all-purpose cleaner to remove stains and smells.

Clean the Oven

Ah yes, everyone’s favorite pastime: cleaning the oven. If your oven doesn’t have an auto-clean setting, this task requires some elbow grease. Follow these steps to clean your oven the DIY route:

  • Remove racks (clean those in the sink with dish soap)
  • Combine 1/2 cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water to form a paste
  • Brush the paste inside the oven (avoid the coils)
  • Let dry for at least 8 hours
  • Spray distilled white vinegar over the baking soda
  • Wipe clean with a sponge or rag

Sanitize Kitchen Sink and Countertops

Grab your trusty all-purpose cleaner and tackle the kitchen sink and countertops. Be sure to pay attention to the faucet, handles, and crevices so that your kitchen looks sparkling clean.

Clean Dishwasher

Use sanitizing wipes to wash down the door of the dishwasher and remove debris from inside. Once the debris is cleared out, run the dishwater while empty.

  • Tip: To get an ultra-clean dishwasher, place a cup of plain white vinegar on the top rack and run the dishwasher on the hottest water possible. Wipe out the interior once the cycle is done.

Bathroom-Specific Move Out Cleaning

Now, onto the bathroom! Most of these tasks can be completed on the day you move out without too hefty of a time commitment.

Clean Mirrors

Mirrors are notorious for attracting streaks and fingerprints. Use the same glass cleaner that you used for your windows and spray it onto your bathroom mirror. Wipe it down with a dry cloth.

Sanitize Sink and Countertops

Just like in the kitchen, use an all-purpose spray to sanitize the bathroom sink and countertops. Polish off all the water stains on the faucet, and wipe out drawers and cabinets in your vanity.

Move out cleaning sink and faucet with detergent.

Disinfect the Toilet

Toilet rings and other stains are a red flag during your move-out inspection. Clean your toilet with an all-purpose toilet bowl cleaner and scrub down the bowl with a toilet brush.

Scrub Bathtub or Shower

You can clean out a dirty shower or tub with a specialized shower cleaning spray, or you can make your own cleaning solution with dish soap and vinegar. Pay special attention to scrub away areas where soap scum has built up.

man is cleaning shower

Get Your Security Deposit Back and Enjoy Your New Home!

At Bigos, we are proud to be a fair and equitable apartment management company. As long as you have thoroughly cleaned out your apartment and avoided damage before you move out, we will never hold onto your security deposit unfairly.

Looking for your new perfect home after your current lease is up? Find it with Bigos!

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