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Tenants Cleaning Checklist for Moving Out and Getting Your Deposit Back

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end of tenancy cleaning checklist for moving out
Table of Content
February 28, 2023

If you are moving out of your rented house or apartment, you will want to ensure that the landlord doesn't keep part or all of your security deposit. One of the essential things that guarantee they are satisfied with the state of the home when you leave is to do a thorough, top to bottom, inside and outside house cleaning.

There are a few ways to approach this. What most people do is resort to end-of-tenancy cleaning services, even if the tenancy agreement doesn't include that. It is the best way to ensure deposit protection since professionals can likely do a better move-out clean than any DIY approach. In other cases, tenants opt to clean the property without hiring professionals. 

It is always recommended to establish a system and follow an end of tenancy cleaning checklist. This is what cleaning companies do, as it ensures all living spaces as well as outside areas receive adequate attention. The property needs to be cleaned to a professional standard. If you don't mind a little elbow grease, making a cleaning checklist is a useful way to ensure you get the cleaning job done and get your deposit back. 

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    Following is a cleaning checklist for tenants that you can use to optimise your cleaning process. 

    Cleaning the bedrooms 

    Young woman cleaning bedroom with green cleaning products

    Every cleaning task is best done top to bottom, meaning you start from the highest part of the room and move lower. Cleaning a bedroom is very straightforward in most cases. Move the bulky items out of the way and deal with clutter. Then, it is time to do some cleaning. Below you will find a few pointers, but if you really want to do a thorough cleaning, we suggest reading our bedroom cleaning checklist.

    • Check for cobwebs and remove any 
    • Clean ceiling fans, if any are in the room 
    • Wipe down the doors, including the top side and knobs 
    • Clean dust from the skirting boards and other woodwork 
    • Clean the wardrobes and cupboards inside and out 
    • Wipe down picture and curtain rails, coving, cornices, etc. 
    • Clean and polish the mirrors with a glass cleaner 
    • Wipe down the ledges and windowsills, clean the internal part of the windows 
    • Clean fittings, light switches and plugs 
    • Dust the lamp shapes 
    • Vacuum behind and under furniture items 
    • Wipe down any radiators in the room 
    • Vacuum clean the upholstery by using the appropriate attachment
    • Vacuum the carpets and mop the hardwood floors 

    Hiring a professional cleaning company is a good idea because they can help with carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning. They will use the right cleaning products for the task and do a steam clean of the area for the best results. 

    Cleaning the bathroom

    House cleaning. Woman is cleaning in the bathroom at home.

    The bathroom is trickier to clean than the bedroom. Gather your supplies and products in a caddy and keep them within easy reach. Here are the items you should not leave out of your cleaning session of the bathroom: 

    • Carefully remove the cover of the extractor and wipe down the dust 
    • Clean the skirting boards, ledges and windowsills
    • Check the tiles for mould and wipe down the area thoroughly 
    • Clean the limescale from the bath and shower area 
    • Thoroughly clean the toilet, inside and out 
    • Polish the taps and other stainless steel components of the room 
    • Polish and wipe down the mirror
    • Polish the towel rail 
    • Clean any cupboards, both on the inside and outside 
    • Vacuum the floor 
    • Mop and disinfect the floor 

    Check out our tips for cleaning the bathroom.

    Cleaning the hallways and stairs 

    These are areas that will mostly require vacuuming and dusting. 

    • Remove any cobwebs 
    • Wipe down the railings, stairway and bannister 
    • Clean all of the furniture items present in the area, including their insides, top sides and underneath 
    • Wipe down the picture frames and rails, cornices, etc. 
    • Polish and dust flat surfaces 
    • Vacuum and mop the floors 

    Cleaning the kitchen 

    Woman wipes tiles in the kitchen

    No ultimate end of tenancy cleaning checklist is complete without details on how to clean the kitchen. In fact, this is the room you should concentrate a great deal of time and effort on if you want your full deposit back. 

    • Clean the skirting boards 
    • Wipe dust off the counters and other surfaces 
    • Clean plugs, switches and other wall-mounted components 
    • Clean and polish the windows 
    • Check the skink, taps and splashback for limescale 
    • Clean the kitchen cupboards and their topside (if possible)
    • Remove drawer contents and clean inside 
    • Defrost the fridge and clean its interior and exterior 
    • Clean the microwave 
    • Clean the washing machine, check the filter for lint and wipe the detergent drawer 
    • Degrease and wipe down the extractor fan
    • Clean and polish the hob 
    • Degrease the oven and wipe down on the inside and outside 
    • Wipe down all countertops 
    • Check small kitchen appliances and clean them up 
    • Vacuum, mop and disinfect the floor 

    Now that you have a better idea of what cleaning tasks you will do during the end of a tenancy, let's focus on some of the specifics.  Lot of people use oven cleaner when they clean their coutnertops, but before you do - make sure to know the effect of oven cleaner on countertops.

    Furnishings 

    You have to be careful to wipe, vacuum and clean all furnishings in the house, or the landlord will pick it up on their inspections. That is why you need to wipe down and polish all worktop surfaces and tables around the house. Make sure there are no finger marks and oil stains. Take out all of the cushions and give them a good shake. One common mistake tenants who clean the rental property by themselves make is to not vacuum underneath furniture items. 

    Carpets

    Carpets are another thing that inspectors and landlords put under scrutiny. If you are cleaning without professional aid, you have to consider at least renting a steam cleaner. It may not be enough to simply run the vacuum cleaner. If there has been a lot of traffic, the carpet must be cleaned with steam. Begin by first vacuuming the area thoroughly. Move furniture around and vacuum underneath. 

    Windows

    You must not forget to clean the windows, blinds and shades before you leave. Inspect for oily stains, fingerprint marks and other stains. Wipe down with a microfibre cloth to avoid streaks. Don't forget to also clean the windowsills and window frames, as well as curtains, blinds and shades that may have accumulated dust over time. 

    Shelves, cupboards and drawers 

    Some moving out checklists fail to include cleaning drawers and cupboards. This is especially the case when you haven't used them all that often. But you should inspect each and every drawer, shelf and cupboard and clean it. First, remove the contents to clear some space. Then wipe down the interior and the exterior of the area before returning the contents back in. 

    If you're a landlord or an estate agency, you may be interested in our article "What is tenancy deposit scheme?".

    Other articles you may be interested in: How long does end of tenancy clean take, Do Landlords Have To Clean Between Tenants in the UK or How to Clean Your Room or our apartment cleaning checklist.

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