Moving In and Out? Here’s Your Ultimate Cleaning Checklist for Washington DC

Ultimate Moving In and Out Cleaning Checklist for Washington DC Homes
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Moving is always a hassle. Not only do you have to pack up all your belongings, but you also need to thoroughly clean your old place before moving out. And who wants to move into a dirty new home? Getting your old and new places sparkling clean for move-in and move-out will make your relocation much smoother.

As a Washington DC resident, you want to make sure you properly clean your rental home or apartment before moving out to get your full security deposit back. And you’ll want to clean your new DC digs before unpacking your boxes. Follow this comprehensive move-in and move-out cleaning checklist to ensure your Washington DC spaces are pristine.

Why Clean Before Moving Out?

When your lease ends, you want your full security deposit back – cleaning thoroughly before moving out helps guarantee this happens. Your rental agreement likely stipulates leaving the property in the same condition as when you moved in.

That means thoroughly cleaning even areas that look already clean. Remember, you’re not just cleaning for yourself. You need to clean to your landlord’s standards. Overlook a dirty spot and you could lose a chunk of your security deposit.

Aim to make your Washington DC rental look move-in ready for the next tenants. This means getting rid of dirt, grime, and damage that accumulated during your lease. Leave it cleaner than how you found it to get your full deposit back.

Checklist For Cleaning Your Old Place Before Moving Out

Checklist For Cleaning Your Old Place Before Moving Out

Here’s an overview of what you need to clean in your Washington DC rental before moving out:

  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Living Spaces
  • Laundry Room
  • Garage

Go through each room systematically to ensure you don’t miss anything. Here’s a detailed move-out cleaning checklist for Washington DC rentals:

Kitchen Cleaning

  • Wipe down the outside of cabinets and drawers
  • Clean cabinet and drawer interiors
  • Wash the inside of the refrigerator thoroughly
  • Clean behind and underneath the the refrigerator
  • Clean inside, outside, above, and underneath of oven. Don’t forget the oven vent.
  • Descale and disinfect the sink. Clean down the sink disposal if you have one.
  • Mop and vacuum floors
  • Wipe down countertops, backsplash, and walls
  • Spot clean walls and ceilings
  • Dust light fixtures, fans, vents
  • Clean switch plates and outlets

Bathroom Cleaning

  • Scrub the toilet thoroughly inside and out
  • Clean all wall and floor tiles with a grout brush
  • Disinfect and wipe down vanity and drawers
  • Clean mirror and medicine cabinet
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Clean tub, tile walls, and shower track
  • Dust light fixtures, vents, switch plates
  • Spot clean walls and ceilings

Bedroom and Living Space Cleaning

  • Vacuum carpets, mop hard floors
  • Wipe down window sills and tracks
  • Clean windows inside and out
  • Remove cobwebs from walls and ceilings
  • Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents
  • Spot clean walls and ceilings
  • Clean out and wipe down closets

Laundry Room Cleaning

  • Clean inside, outside, above and below washer and dryer
  • Clean out the dryer vent hose
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Dust vents, light fixtures, switch plates

Garage Cleaning

  • Sweep out dirt, dust, leaves, spiders
  • Remove cobwebs from walls and ceilings
  • Clean floors with all-purpose cleaner
  • Vacuum walls, shelves, workbenches
  • Dust light fixtures
  • Organize tools and supplies

DIY or Hire Pros?

If you’re planning to move, always consider your time when doing move-in/move-out cleaning Washington DC. Are you willing to spend hours deep cleaning? Or will you do a rushed, surface-level job?

Professional cleaners have the supplies and knowledge to thoroughly clean your old and new places. Some things they can do that you may overlook:

  • Clean window tracks
  • Wash walls
  • Clean ceiling fans
  • Vacuum carpeting and vents
  • Professionally treat stains

Cleaning companies take the hassle out of pre and post-moving cleaning. And their deep cleaning services ensure you get your security deposit back and start fresh in your new place.

Expect to pay $250-$500 for professional move-out or move-in cleaning in Washington DC. The price depends on your home’s size. It’s worth considering for the security deposit savings and reduced stress.

Move-In Cleaning Tips for Your New Washington DC Home

Move-In Cleaning Tips for Your New Washington DC Home

Once you get the keys to your new Washington DC place, the cleaning isn’t over. Before moving in your belongings, do a thorough cleaning of your new space. This ensures you aren’t unpacking your stuff into a dirty home.

Follow this Washington DC move-in cleaning checklist:

Clean Floors

Get on your hands and knees and scrub tile, laminate, and vinyl floors. Vacuum wall-to-wall carpeting. Mop hard floors. This prep work makes the rest of your cleaning easier.

Dust First

Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents, baseboards, and windows first. This stops dust from redistributing as you clean. Work top to bottom when dusting.

Wash Walls

Walls accumulate dirt, smudges, and grime. Give them a top-to-bottom wash before hanging photos or art. Tackle scuffs with a magic eraser.

Clean Windows

Wash inside and outside of windows and tracks for streak-free clarity. Consider hiring window washers for exterior cleaning if you’re above ground level.

Scrub Kitchen and Bath

Disinfect sinks, counters, appliances, showers, bathtubs, and toilets. Washing these first prevents the spread of germs as you unpack.

Wipe Out Cabinets

Remove shelves, wash interiors, and wipe down the outside of cabinets. Shake out and wash the pantry.

Finish Floors

With dusty cleaning done, finish floors by vacuuming and then mopping again. Now your floors are ready for move-in.

Freshen Air Ducts

Consider having the HVAC system cleaned before using vents. Or freshen vents yourself with vent clips infused with essential oils.

Check Appliances

Turn on and test appliances, HVAC, sprinklers, and smoke detectors. Document any issues immediately.

Moving into a New Home? Call the Clean Pros

Moving into a New Home? Call the Clean Pros

As with move-out cleaning, consider hiring professionals to clean your Washington DC home before moving in. Appliance cleaning, vent cleaning, and wall washing are perks of hiring cleaners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How clean should my apartment be when I move out?

Your rental apartment should be cleaned to the level of cleanliness it was when you moved in. Refer to your lease agreement for any specific cleaning requirements. At a minimum, thoroughly clean all rooms, scrub bathrooms, kitchen, appliances, floors, and and windows, and wipe down all surfaces.

How clean should you leave your house when you move out?

Do a deep clean of every room in your home before moving out. This includes washing walls and ceilings, cleaning fans, dusting thoroughly, and scrubbing bathrooms, kitchens, and appliances. Leave the home looking ready for new owners to move into.

Why is move in move out cleaning important?

Thorough move-out cleaning ensures you get your full security deposit back from your rental or landlord. Move-in cleaning lets you start fresh in clean new living spaces without other people’s dirt or damage. Cleaning for move-in and move-out makes your transition smoother.


Moving into and out of a home in Washington DC requires diligent cleaning for a smooth transition. Follow these checklists to ensure your move-out cleaning passes inspection for a full deposit return. And your move-in cleaning lets you unpack into a pristine space.

Hiring professional Washington DC cleaners can take the hassle out of intense pre and post-moving cleaning. Their deep scrub services ensure your rental and new home meet standards.

What parts of your Washington DC home do you dread cleaning before a move? Are you considering hiring professional cleaners? Share your moving cleaning plans and advice below!


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