When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Best Practices For Cleaning A Rental Before You Move Out

The move is finally finished, and now it’s time to clean up before you leave your old place for the last time.  You’ve probably worked to keep the rental clean while you were there, but when you leave, the landlord will be looking for specific things to be done before the deposit is returned.  If you give some cleaning attention to these items before you leave, you will likely get most or all of your deposit back.

General Cleaning

You probably know the basics of generally cleaning, but there are things you don’t want to forget while you’re cleaning up the place.  Dust off the light fixtures and ceiling fans.  Clean the baseboards and any places on the walls that stand out.  Often a couch or chair next to the wall will leave a dirt line that can easily be wiped off.

Wipe down the window blinds and clean out window sills and window tracks.  Vacuum and sweep the entire house, and don’t forget the garage and porches.  Replace any missing or burnt out light bulbs.  Get a broom and go around the whole house swiping corners and other areas where cobwebs might have developed.  Remove all nails from the walls or other devices used to hang things.


The kitchen is one place they will look for certain things to be cleaned.  Wipe out all the cabinets and drawers, and then wipe down the front of the cabinet and drawer fronts.  Clean out the refrigerator and freezer.  Be sure to take any drawers or shelves to clean where the tracks are and remove any spills that might be hiding.  A great cleaner for the refrigerator and freezer is a vinegar and water mix.  It works well, and it won’t leave an unpleasant chemical smell.

Clean the oven, and many oven cleaners are messy to clean up, so be sure to clean up the mess as you go.  A piece of cardboard slid under the oven door can help.  Don’t forget to open the lid of the stove to clean.  Move the appliances out to clean behind and underneath.  Use a good degreaser to clean the fan, vent, and hood over the stove and replace drip bowls on the stove if they can’t be cleaned.  Finally, wipe down the countertops and the face of all the appliances.


In cleaning the bathroom, be sure to use a cleaner designed to take care of hard water buildup.  Scrub everything down, and use a bleach-based cleaner to manage moldy grout around the tub if needed.  Wipe down the walls of the shower, light fixtures, window sills, cabinets, drawers, and don’t forget the medicine cabinet. Clean the mirrors well, making sure there are no smudges.  Get a stone to clean the toilet bowl ring if you have hard water.

Rooms and Closets

Follow the general cleaning guidelines for each room.  Dust all closet shelves and don’t forget the closet baseboards.  Clean the window sills, tracks, and blinds.  Clean any areas on the walls that seem dingy or have marks. Wipe down all light switches, plug outlets, and doors.  Don’t forget to wipe off the top of the door itself and the trim over the door; these are places landlords often check.

Professional Cleaning

Most rentals must have professional carpet cleaning evidence before it can be re-rented.  Don’t waste your time and efforts doing it yourself because they will need to be professionally cleaned.  Hire a carpet cleaning service, and it may be a good idea to check with the landlord to see if they have a carpet cleaning service they prefer.  Sometimes you can get it done at a discount if they have an exclusive deal with the cleaning service.  Also, check to see if they want the windows professional cleaned because some will not accept general window cleaning that you might do.


Wash down porches and outdoor window sills if needed.  Wipe down any shelves in the garage and clean it out if necessary.  Clean up any oil spots in the garage and on the driveway.  A simple way to clean oil spots is to leave kitty litter on the spot for a few days, and if that does not take care of it, use some Borax to make a paste.  Scrub the spot with the paste and leave it until it dries, then wash it away.  Rake up any leaves, pick up trash, and pull any weeds from the yard.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.