Your Guide To Apartment Move-Out Cleaning Checklist

Maids cleaning the kitchen of an apartment for move out cleaning
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Do you have your apartment move-out cleaning checklist? Moving out of an apartment can be stressful. As the move-out day approaches, there is so much to do. Packing everything up and making sure all of your items get loaded onto the truck is a big job. With everything going on, it can be easy to forget one important task – cleaning your apartment.

You want to make sure you leave the apartment in good shape when you move out inspection before you hand over the keys to the new owners. The move-out cleaning is essential if you want your full security deposit back. Your landlord or property manager will do a final walk-through after you move out. They will look everywhere to see if the apartment is clean and undamaged. If they find issues, it can affect how much of your security deposit you get back.

A detailed cleaning checklist can help make sure you double-check everything. Before you hire a cleaning service, use this guide of must-do cleaning tasks by area so your apartment is fresh and clean for the next residents. Tackle the dirty work room by room and hire a cleaning out so your move-out day goes smoothly.


Dust and Spot Clean Kitchen

Thoroughly dust and spot-clean the entire kitchen by dusting ceiling fan blades, light fixtures, tops of door frames, and vents. Use a damp microfiber cloth to spot clean kitchen walls, cabinets, and appliances – removing any dirty spots or food residue.

Be sure to clean dust that builds up on top and underneath the fridge from the refrigerator. Give the floors a good vacuum and mopping to clean into the corners.

Clean Inside Kitchen Appliances

The inside of kitchen appliances needs cleaning too. As recommended on HomeAdvisor, be sure to scrub away grease buildup in the oven and shine up any stainless steel appliances.

Wash inside the microwave fully including the turntable, walls, and racks. Spray oven cleaner over-baked on food or grease inside the oven and on the door – let it sit before scrubbing clean.

Pull out removable parts like racks and drawers from the dishwasher to wash away debris and grime, before cleaning the inside tub and gaskets. Finish by polishing all appliances with stainless steel spray cleaner to make them shine.

Deep Clean Kitchen Counters and Sink

Give all countertops and the kitchen sink a deep cleaning. First clear counters completely. Apply an all-purpose cleaner spray and use scrub pads to remove stains, stuck food, and other dirt from countertops and backsplashes.

Get into the grout lines with a brush to lift grime. Clean the sink basin well with a scrub brush or pad to remove build-up like soap scum and mineral deposits around the drain and faucet fixtures.

Check bottom shelves of nearby cabinets for spills and wash cabinet doors and handles while you’re at it.

Scrub Kitchen Floor

Finally, sweep then thoroughly mop the kitchen floors. Scrub a broom to clean corners and tight spaces to lift surface dirt. Get on hands and knees with a scrub brush to clean floor edges along baseboards, under cabinets, and around appliances.


Dust Bathroom

  • Dust light fixtures, bath exhaust fan covers, and tops of door frames

  • Use a dry cloth to wipe down walls, carefully moving any wall hangings to clean behind

Deep Clean Shower and Bathtub

  • Spray shower walls, tub surface, tile, and grout with cleaner – let set for 5 minutes

  • Scrub walls and tub surface with a brush, rinse cleaner away

  • Use a grout brush or old toothbrush to scrub grime out of grout lines

  • Clean soap scum and residue off of tub and shower fixtures with a scrub pad

Disinfect Toilet

  • Flush toilet and add pumice stone to toilet tank – let sit overnight to clean tank

  • Use a toilet brush and bowl cleaner to scrub away stains inside the bowl and underside of the rim

  • Wipe the entire exterior surface of the toilet removing dust, grime, and splatters

  • Clean the base of the toilet where it meets the floor using a small scrub brush

Shine the Sink

  • Remove everything from the countertop around the sink

  • Use spray cleaner and scrub pad to remove soap scum, toothpaste, and residue from the sink basin

  • Clean the faucet fixtures with a scrub pad to make them sparkle

  • Use a grout brush to clean any dirty grout lines around the sink

  • Don’t forget the counter backsplash and clean it with a damp microfiber cloth

Make Floors Shine

  • Sweep and mop the floor starting with corners and along edges to remove built-up dirt

  • Get a bucket of clean water and add some floor cleaner – mop the entire floor until clean

  • Check baseboards and use a scrub pad to remove any grime or splatters

Common Areas and Living Spaces

Vacuum All Rooms Thoroughly

  • Make sure to move and lift any furniture to vacuum underneath

  • Vacuum along baseboards and edges of rooms

  • Use a hose and crevice tool to vacuum corners, closets, and ceiling corners for cobwebs

Wash Walls and Clean Switches

  • Spot clean walls with a damp microfiber towel

  • Carefully wipe light switch plates removing fingerprints and dirt

Dust and Spot Clean Everything

  • Run damp microfiber cloth along the top of door frames and vents to capture dust

  • Move furniture and electronics to dust hard-to-reach spots

  • Lift and dust under any lamps, decor items, or tables

Scrub Floors and Baseboards

  • Sweep and mop hard surface floors like laminate, wood, and tile

  • For carpet, rent a cleaner or hire a professional carpet cleaning service

  • Scrub baseboard corners and edges to remove built-up grime, dust, and dirt

Wipe Down Doors and Door Frames

  • Carefully wipe down interior doors – don’t forget the tops and sides

  • Clean sliding door tracks that may have dirt buildup

  • Use a damp cloth to capture dust on the fronts of cabinets and closet doors

Finish with the Windows

  • Wash interior window glass and sills with cleaning spray and microfiber cloth

  • Carefully remove window screens and use mild soap and scrub brush to clean debris

The Spruce, a leading home and cleaning company, and the website suggest that renters wash windows, dust ceiling fans and fixtures, and spot-clean walls and baseboards before moving out.

Laundry Room

Clean Inside Washer

  • Use a hot water cycle to wash inside the drum and rinse away residue

  • Pour 2 cups bleach into the empty drum, and run a clean cycle to disinfect

  • Wipe the exterior of the washing machine removing dust, drips, or residue

  • Pull the machine out and clean the floor underneath

Dryer Requires Attention Too

  • Ensure the lint trap is cleaned out

  • Use a vacuum hose to remove lint from the trap housing

  • Pull the dryer out and remove lint buildup behind using a vacuum

  • Wipe the exterior of the dryer and control console removing dust and fingerprints

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is cleaning my apartment before moving out so important?

Thoroughly cleaning your apartment before moving out is crucial to getting your full security deposit back. Landlords and property managers will complete a final walk-through after you vacate.

They will inspect everything closely looking for dirt, damage, or other issues. The condition you leave the unit in directly affects how much of the deposit they refund.

What cleaning tools and supplies do I need?

A basic move-out cleaning toolkit includes an all-purpose cleaner, scrub pads, and brushes, glass cleaner, disinfecting wipes, grout brush, oven spray cleaner, gloves, and microfiber cloths. A vacuum, mop, and broom are also cleaning supplies and must-haves.

How much time will cleaning take?

It depends on the size of your house and your unit, but plan to spend 10+ hours thoroughly cleaning a 1-bedroom apartment from top to bottom. Recruit friends to help tackle floors and common areas! Consider hiring a professional cleaning crew if short on time.

What parts of the apartment do landlords pay closest attention to?

Landlords will thoroughly inspect kitchens and bathrooms. Grease, food residue, soap scum, dirt, and stains are red flags. They also look closely at floors, baseboards, windows, walls, and ceiling corners for dust and cobwebs. Damage anywhere will also draw scrutiny to determine if larger security deposit deductions are needed.

Should I take pictures when the cleaning is completed?

Yes, date-stamped pictures proving the move-out condition of the unit are highly recommended. Detailed pictures can help counter any landlord disputes should parts of your deposit be withheld. Photos let you share clear evidence that you left the apartment clean and damage-free.

Overall Recommendations for Move-Out Cleaning

As you tackle cleaning each room, make sure to pay special attention to some areas that are easy to forget. The condition of these spots can affect getting your full security deposit back.

Make sure all personal items and trash are removed fully from the property including the yard and any sheds or detached garages. Any furniture or items you don’t take must also be removed.

One last recommendation is to have a professional cleaning service and take pictures of the clean property when finished. Having date-stamped pictures proving the condition you left the apartment in can help protect your security deposit.

Tackle this detailed move-out cleaning checklist and you’ll cover cleaning tasks in every area. Putting in a hard work room by the cleaning services room will help get the security deposit you deserve from your landlord before turning over the keys.


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