The day has come! You are done packing, the movers have arrived, and you are on your way to your new home. Once your old place is empty, you look around and notice all the scuffs and marks on the floor and walls. Of course, your place needs a thorough move-out cleaning, but what does that entail, why does it matter, and can you do it yourself, or do you need to call in a professional cleaning service?
What is a Move-Out Cleaning?
A move-out cleaning is a thorough cleaning done after a person has removed all their belongings from their residence before a new occupant has moved in. The resident can complete it, or an outside cleaning service can be hired. Typically, it is a deep cleaning instead of a routine cleaning.
Why is a Move-Out Cleaning Important?
Moving out can be emotionally draining. When we have lived in a home for some time, we devote ourselves to it, making it an extension of who we are. However, once we have packed all our items into boxes and carted them away, the empty rooms and walls echo with the last vestiges of our previous days…and the smudges, marks, and dings from our days of living there.
We need to remove all traces of our time there, to get it ready for its new owner. Due to the breadth and depth required of this cleaning, it is sometimes necessary to hire a cleaning service to do it.
Here are a couple of reasons that move-out cleaning is important:
- Security deposit
Getting Your Security Deposit Back
If the home is a rental, how does move-out cleaning assist with getting your security deposit back? Quite simply, your security deposit hinges on whether or not there is any damage to the residence while you are living there. Therefore, when doing a move-out cleaning, you can review every inch of the space and ascertain whether there is anything broken that you can quickly fix.
Also, you can clean out drains, such as sink and shower drains, to ensure they are running cleanly, without any stoppages. All scuffs, marks, and stains can be reviewed and cleaned before the landlord or site maintenance does their walk-thru so that when they go over their checklist, you will have an unsullied slate!
Prospective Buyer or Renter Appeal
If you still need to solidify a renter or buyer for your apartment or home, a move-out cleaning will markedly increase the chances of locking in one. When they come to look at your residence, it will be sparkling clean. Hiring a professional cleaning service will ensure that your home will impress potential buyers and be shown to the best of its ability.
Are You Responsible for Move-Out Cleaning?
If you are renting, you might be surprised to find that the cost of a move-out cleaning may be included in your lease! To avoid added stress and potentially save time and money, you might want to do a little investigation before starting or paying for a thorough move-out cleaning.
Renter Tips: Move-Out Cleaning Lease Requirements
- Before hiring a professional cleaning service, check your lease or call your management company and confirm that this is required.
- If you are responsible for move-out cleaning, ask your management company or landlord if they have a cleaning service on staff or if they can recommend one. They may have a company that can do it for a reasonable rate.
- Inquire if move-out cleaning is part of your lease and non-negotiable. See if the cost that was included is non-refundable.
- See if the cost of a professional cleaning service’s move-out cleaning is more or less than what your management company or landlord would charge for the move-out cleaning.
3 Hot Tips for Tackling a Move-Out Cleaning Yourself
Moving is exhausting, even when it is highly anticipated, and after packing everything up, the last thing you want to do is clean. Here are three cleaning tips to help you if you aim to do it independently without hiring a cleaning service:
- Top to bottom
- Small tasks
- Last-minute items
1. Remember to Clean from Top to Bottom
As you do with your regular cleaning, remember to start dusting from the high surfaces and work your way down. This is because you don’t want dust to waft from your high surfaces, like ceiling fans, down to counters and have your prior work go to waste.
2. Break Up Your Work
Don’t try to conquer your entire place in one shot. Move-out cleaning can be overwhelming, not just physically but emotionally. Try and start ahead of time with areas of your home that aren’t used as frequently, such as spare bedrooms, so you can work before moving out day.
3. Be Aware of Last-Minute Items
No matter how much foresight you have put into packing and moving, last-minute items crop up. You will have to wait for the last pieces of furniture and boxes to be moved out for you to do the final vacuuming and dusting. Allot time and energy for these items and others you can’t foresee. Hiring a professional cleaning service to come out after you have vacated the property can be helpful.
What is a Good Move-Out Cleaning Checklist?
If you’re looking for a comprehensive checklist for your move-out cleaning, follow our trusty list to ensure you have covered all your bases.
In the Main Living Spaces
- Dust the ceiling fans
- Remove any nails or screws from the walls
- Wipe down walls and molding
- Clean windows and wipe window ledges
- Wash the doors, wiping them with a damp microfiber cloth
- Sweep and vacuum and then mop the floors
- Dust all vents and exhaust fans
- Dust blinds and window treatments, if leaving them
In the Kitchen
- Empty and clean the refrigerator
- Clean oven and stovetop
- Clean dishwasher
- Scrub and disinfect the sink and garbage disposal
- Wipe down and disinfect all countertops
- Vacuum up all crumbs inside cabinets, then wipe down, including fronts and knobs
In the Bathroom
- Scrub the shower
- Clean the sink and faucet handles
- Scrub the toilet, bowl, outside, and tank
- Clean any cabinets, both inside and outside
It is also helpful to open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate and allow any stale scents to dissipate. One last thing you should do is wipe down all doors, door handles, and light switches, as they are some of the most-touched surfaces.
When is the Best Time to Schedule a Professional Move-Out Cleaning?
You’ve decided that you would rather a professional cleaning service do your move-out cleaning for you, but when is the best time to call to schedule them? If you are looking to have a professional cleaning service do your move-out cleaning, you should aim to call them at least two weeks ahead.
While many people might not know this, it has become an industry standard for leases to offer a five-day grace period for moving out. This means that the beginning of the month is the busiest for move-out cleanings. So, make sure you plan ahead and get on the schedule as soon as possible.
If you got too excited about your new move and forgot to call the cleaners in advance, we’ve got a few tips to get that last-minute move-out cleaning scheduled:
- When calling cleaning services, make sure to speak only to reputable ones. Fly-by-night companies may take advantage of your desperation and never show up.
- If your schedule allows the flexibility of having the cleaning service come outside of traditional working hours, please alert the cleaning service scheduler. Your flexibility may be rewarded with a last-minute appointment!
- Though you may pay a surcharge of up to $100 (and perhaps more), ask about weekend availability. Many times, cleaning services will have weekend appointments with the additional surcharge.
- Often, landlords do not have your space rented out right away. Inquire about it, and, if your place is not rented, ask if you can have a few extra days to get your move-out cleaning completed.
Move-out cleaning, whether you do it yourself or you hire a cleaning service, is the last step to take when moving out of your current home. You might feel as if you can’t handle one more humongous task on top of all the excitement of moving, but it is essential that you tackle this and leave your home sparkling for the next resident.
If you need a hand with this step, call in the assistance of a professional cleaning service. It is a source of pride that you cared enough to allow the next occupant to enter the home when it’s fresh and ready for them to start their life’s story there.
Pure House Cleaning, a professional cleaning service serving communities in and around Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland, is available to assist you in your move-out cleaning. Check out our website to learn more about our cleaning process, prices for cleaning in Seattle and our other coverage areas, what goes into spring deep cleaning, and more.