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The Ultimate Move Out Cleaning Checklist, According to Experts

The boxes are packed, the movers are hired, the papers are signed, but the job’s not done until your old house is cleaned and ready to go for the next occupants. Whether you’re ending a lease, upsizing to a new home in Orlando, Florida, or downsizing to a condo in Seattle, Washington, it’s essential to compile a move out cleaning checklist so you can do a thorough wipe-down before handing over the keys.

While cleaning your entire home during a move can seem like a monumental task between all the packing, decluttering, and lifting, Redfin reached out to us and other experts for our tips and advice for the ultimate move out cleaning checklist. Check out what we had to say to ensure your move is as smooth as possible.

The Ultimate Move Out Cleaning Checklist, According to Experts

Give yourself ample time to plan your move out cleaning checklist

Designate more time than you expect. You may think move-out cleaning is more straightforward than regular maintenance cleaning because you’ve already moved out all your furniture and belongings and don’t need to work around them. However, you’ve now exposed all that surface areas that were previously hidden, and believe us, walls and ceilings get dirty! -Clean Arrival

When compiling a move out cleaning checklist, you should start ahead of your move out date. Start cleaning the areas that will probably not get dirty again, like the inside of cabinets and drawers, as well as room closets in your kitchen and bathroom. Once those have been addressed, you can move on to cleaning the walls or other areas that take longer to clean such as the inside of a fridge or refrigerator gasket. -Maggy Maid

Take a look around your home and look at everything from right-to-left. Most people naturally scan rooms from left-to-right, which causes your brain to stop recognizing some objects because they become “part of the background.” When you scan in the opposite direction from what you’re used to, things like light switches, dirty blinds, and other small details will pop out at you and make it easier to jot down what needs to be cleaned. – Daniel Olin, Easyway Maid Service

Work in stages

Survey your home to make sure you don’t miss a spot. Start at the doorway and walk around each room, left to right. Look fully up and down and work in areas shoulder-width apart before moving on to ensure every surface is cleaned. -Two Maids & A Mop

Start with the big items in your move out cleaning checklist. It can be a bit discouraging when you are faced with cleaning the whole house, especially if you have to be super detailed and meticulous about it. That’s where a bit of psychology comes into play. Start with something big, like the windows or the tiles – once those have been accomplished, you will have renewed vigor to do the rest. -Rosario Ortega, Jr., Oasis Natural Cleaning

The Ultimate Move Out Cleaning Checklist, According to Experts

Give your home exterior a once over

Look for cracked or broken siding boards, vinyl, brick, stone, or other masonry and repair any problems you find. The EPA estimates that 50% of homes have mold problems. Make sure to check and clean weep holes to prevent trapped water behind walls, as well as fix damaged exterior hose bibs – even those with minor leaks. Seal open or unsealed exterior wall penetrations (including wiring, plumbing, telephone, cable, and HVAC lines) with an appropriate caulk, foam, or sealant. – Bob Ederer, MICRO

The Ultimate Move Out Cleaning Checklist, According to Experts

Focus on the kitchen

Pull out your appliances and clean behind them. Don’t forget to clean under the burners to get dirt and grease and food debris out from underneath. Most stoves have a top that opens up so you can access these areas easily. -Kevin Shanahan, Sanitorial Janitorial Services

Make sure the top of your fridge is included in your move out cleaning checklist. Dust and grime can collect on the top of the fridge over time, and it’s an easily missed spot, especially if you have a tall fridge. -Alessandra Mendes, Cleaning Glow

Check behind your appliances. When we live in one place for a while, it’s easy to think about only clearing out what you can see, but there might be items, beyond just dust, trapped behind large appliances. Personal cards, cutlery, and even rotting foods are some of the items often found behind fridges and ovens. You’ll want to be sure to double-check for any lost necessities and wipe out anything that might attract bugs before you officially walk out of your space. Rob Truglia, MakeSpace

Clean the inside of your dishwasher before your move out. This is important because food, grease, and dishwasher soap can cling and form deposits inside. Check the drain trap to make sure there is nothing left behind that can leave a bad smell. -Busy Bee Cleaning Company

Clean appliances inside and out. Having clean appliances is essential when moving out. Remember to clean the oven, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher. Don’t forget to include the dishwasher vent, the rubber seal around refrigerator doors, and underneath bottom drawers in your move out cleaning checklist. -Ultimate Sparkle Cleaning

Move on to your home interior

Clean your baseboards. Baseboards are usually one of the most overlooked areas in a home. Although cleaning your baseboards may not be the most exciting task, it will leave your home looking and feeling better! When prospective buyers walk through your home, you want a positive impression of the home that sells, not a dirty one! -Tiger Cleaning Services

The inside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets are often missed during move-out cleanings. These areas can collect remnants of used toiletries or food particles. Vacuum inside of cabinets and drawers with a brush attachment and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth thoroughly to clean them of leftover debris, dust, and grime. -Maid Bright

Remove hard water stains in your bathrooms. Use an acidic cleaning solution, like Gel Scrub, to remove those persnickety hard water stains that make your glass shower doors look like a foggy morning in San Francisco. Apply the solution, agitate it with a hard-bristled brush, let the solution sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse. Beware! Your glass door might look invisible, and you run the risk of walking face-first into your invisible glass shower door. -Eloise’s Cleaning Service

The Ultimate Move Out Cleaning Checklist, According to Experts

Don’t forget the hard-to-reach and high touch point areas in your move out cleaning checklist

The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ doesn’t apply during a move-out cleaning. It’s important to clean every nook and cranny to ensure you get your security deposit back or help establish your house’s market readiness! Make sure window panels, blinds, sliding tracks, trim and ledges, ceiling fixtures and fan blades, light switches, behind and under appliances, inside and top of cabinets, and even your HVAC system are cleaned before you leave. -Spekless

Don’t omit the high touch point areas such as doorknobs, light switches, faucets, cabinets handles, stair railing, and alarm buttons during a cleaning. We check on these areas after every cleaning we deliver, and it’s essential to ensure that they’re correctly sanitized during these times to reduce and mitigate any risk. -Carolina Rodriguez, Ecoverde Maids

Call in the pros if you need extra elbow grease

Decide what you can handle and what you need help with based upon your financial situation, skills, and time. If you’re financially able, hire a reputable expert for those tasks you are not properly equipped to handle. Remember, cheaper is not always less expensive! Hire the “cheapest” carpet cleaner out there, and there’s a good chance you’ll need to pay double for a real expert to get the stains and soils out. -Stephen Jaenchen, Summit Cleaning Services

Hiring professional cleaners for your move-out cleaning service is a thoughtful way to hand over the keys; ensuring the new residents can move in with ease. It takes a lot off your plate and also makes refunding your full security deposit more likely.  

Since move-out cleanings usually take longer, try to schedule service well in advance so your cleaners have enough time in their schedule to account for any surprises. We advise our customers to schedule other professionals (movers, handy people, carpet cleaners, landscapers, HVAC specialists and chimney sweepers), to come at least two days before we arrive. This ensures a seamless process with no dust, footprints or dirt left behind after the move-out cleaning.

A move-out cleaning assumes the home is completely empty. Start by making sure all furniture, décor and personal items have been removed from the home. Also make sure closets, cabinets and drawers are empty and nothing has been left in the refrigerator or freezer.

Professional House Cleaners will make sure the home is cleaned top to bottom. Everything will be cleaned: high dusting, baseboards, wall and ceiling vents, doorknobs, light fixtures, interior windows, inside of closets, cabinets and drawers, interior of the refrigerator, etc. Everything that’s usually inaccessible when the home is occupied can be cleaned during the move-out service.

Now take a deep breath and enjoy your new home! -Jennifer L Troyer, Seattle Green Cleaner

 

Originally published by Redfin