7 Essential Tasks for Cleaning Your Old House After You Move Out

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Moving can be an exhaustive chore. Between all of the planning, sorting, organizing, packing, and finally moving everything, you’re more than likely completely exhausted after the process is over. And then you have to put everything back together in your new place.

Just don’t forget to leave your old digs as clean as possible when you move out, especially if you are anticipating a refund of a security deposit. Here’s a quick checklist of the seven most important things that you should clean.

Start at the Top

The most efficient way to clean an entire house or apartment is to start at the top. You also have the advantage of cleaning an empty space. All you need is a broom or a long duster to attack the ceilings in every room. Then, you can clean everything that falls to the floor as you go.

Detail Clean the Bathrooms

Grab a pair of cleaning gloves and some powerful cleaners and have at it. Bathrooms are one of the most common rooms that a landlord will deduct a cleaning expense for from your security deposit. And, leave a roll of toilet paper as a courtesy.

Clean All of the Appliances

Refrigerators, stove-tops, ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers will all need to be spotlessly clean. You can really start cleaning most of the appliances days before you actually move out. But, everything will need one final clean at the end.

Walls and Doors

Your walls and doors take a lot of abuse. And, most of the smudges and dings have been covered by your furniture and decorations. Now that all of the rooms are empty, you’ll really be able to see what needs to be cleaned. You might need to clean the entire surfaces, or maybe just a little spot-cleaning.

The easiest way to clean them is to start in one corner and work your way around the room. A cleaning towel and an all-purpose cleaner should be all that you’ll need. Here are a few other things to look for.

  • Trim and baseboards: A lot of dust can settle on the woodwork and trim. It will usually wipe right off.
  • Door knobs: A quick pass with a cleaning cloth is probably all that they need.
  • Outlet covers: They may need a little touch-up.
  • Vents: Make sure to dust any vents along the walls.

Cabinets and Closets

Any cabinets or closets in the bathroom should be pretty simple to clean. And, the rest of the closets shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But, the kitchen cabinets could be another story. Here’s a good approach to getting them cleaned.

  • Start at the top and work your way down. If the cabinets don’t reach the ceiling, make sure to get the dust off of the top of them.
  • Clean the insides of the cabinets and drawers first. Then, close the doors and drawers to keep them clean while you work on the other surfaces.
  • Detail clean the exterior surfaces.
  • Put a little shine on the knobs and drawer pulls.

Glass Surfaces

After all of the other areas, rooms, and surfaces are cleaned, it’s time for the glass. All of the windows should be cleaned inside and out. You might even need to give the window sills some attention. And, any mirrors need to be shined as well.


The last thing that you want to clean before you leave your old home for the last time is the floors. You’ll want a very thorough vacuuming and sweeping of any hard floors as well as a spotlessly clean mopping on the tile or wood floors.

Your goal when cleaning your old house is to impress the landlord when they do their final walk-through after you are gone. It’s always a good idea to take some pictures of how clean you left everything, just in case. But, most owners will gladly refund your entire damage deposit if they are able to immediately rent out your old home instead of having to clean it first.

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