We have moved all over the place in our 10 years of marriage including across the country twice. While moving isn’t my favorite thing, we have gotten it pretty well down to a science. I am pretty proud of the fact that we have gotten our security deposit back at every place we have rented. Cleaning each apartment well enough to get our security deposit back is usually a full days work, but considering it is usually hundreds of dollars back it is worth it! For less than about $25 I can get everything from the New Home Clean Collection at Walmart from the that I need to clean up the apartment.
- Tide Laundry Detergent (if you apartment came with a washer)
- Swiffer WetJet (for the floors AND the walls)
- Bounty Paper Towels
- Oven Cleaner
- Dishwasher Detergent
Know your contract. Most places are pretty specific about what they want when it comes to cleaning. Some rentals just want you to sweep and vacuum because they hire people to clean after you leave, while some want you to clean every nook and cranny. Read over your contract to know what you are responsible for. For instance, we had one apartment that didn’t mind if we put holes in the walls for pictures but they didn’t want us to fill the holes, they wanted to fix them themselves.
Clean from top to bottom. Start with the highest place so that as you dust and clean, excess will fall down onto the still dirty surfaces. Starting with the ceiling fans is usually a good idea since they create so much dust. To minimize the dust, simply place a pillow case over each blade in turn and pull the dust off.
Give yourself time to let cleaners sit. It is going to be much easier to clean an oven or fridge if you have let cleaner sit on them first.
Use a Swiffer WetJet to wipe your walls. Have you ever tried wiping down yours walls with a rag? It takes forever. Cut the time in half by using a mop like the WetJet on the walls.
Run a empty load in your washer and dishwasher. If your apartment came with a washer and dryer, make sure that you run an empty load with a high quality detergent like Tide to make sure the inside is clean. Then leave the lid or door of the washer open so it can dry completely out. The same goes for you dishwasher run a load with high quality detergent and then leave the door ajar to dry out.
Vacuum Everything. Vacuum your baseboards, your blinds, your vents and your dryer vent to make wiping them down even easier.
Pay Attention to High Use Areas. Make sure to scrub around door knob, your light switches and your faucets. These are places that are touched frequently and often very dingy. I like using Bounty ® Select-a- Size for these areas so I don’t waste paper towels.
Patch holes. Patch the small nail holes from hanging items on the wall with a little bit of spackle.
Clean large appliances. Take out the drawers and shelves from your fridge and scrub them down. If you are lucky enough to have a self cleaning oven, set it to self clean and then make sure to wipe out the ash and tidy it up after it is done.
Clean the cupboards inside and out. Scrub down the front of the doors and scrub the insides too. This is a great place to clean with Bounty Paper Towels instead of a rag so you don’t spread crumbs around.
Spot Clean any carpet stains. Most landlords have the carpet cleaned for new tenants but make sure to spot clean any noticeable stains to keep it from dinging your deposit.
Clean the windows. This include the window sill. The tracks on windows can be very dirty, so using a paper towel is probably a good choice.
Clear any drains. Make sure the drains are free flowing. If they aren’t, clearing a clog might help in getting your deposit back.
Scrub the toilet. Don’t just scrub the inside of the toilet, make sure you scrub around at at the base too.
Clean or replace blinds. It seems like every rental we have lived in, at least one set of blinds have been broken by one of our kids. Luckily they are usually affordable to replace. Replace any broken blinds and scrub the other ones clean.
Clean the Microwave. Place a bowl of vinegar in the microwave and microwave for 2 minutes. Allow it to sit for 2 more minutes and then wipe out the microwave with a paper towel.
Garbage Disposal. Pour baking soda down your garbage disposal and then use a long handled kitchen brush to scrub down there.
Add a spritz of Unstoppables Air Refresher before you walk out the door to give your apartment a fresh smell. With this entire list combined, we have always received our security deposit back, which makes paying the deposit on the next place that much easier!
What would you add to the list?