A Definitive Guide to Perfect Move-Out Cleaning

When relocating, many people think that it is enough to have long-distance movers pack and load their possessions, lock the place, and drive away. However, house move-out cleaning is an essential part of every relocation. No matter how much a person tries to keep everything tidied up when all possessions are packed, you will be able to truly see what years of living can do to a home.

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June 14, 2022 Posted in How-to

Why Is Apartment Move-Out Cleaning Necessary?

People who are relocating for the first time often make the relocation mistake of not tidying up the place before leaving, and as a result, create the following unnecessary troubles.

Losing deposit

If you have been renting your place, the landlord has most likely demanded a deposit. In case you leave the place in a messy and unclean state, you will most likely lose your money.

Having difficulties to rent or selling

If the place is yours, before relocating to a new state, you will probably look to rent or sell the place. However, if the condition of your home is poor, there will be a lot of trouble in finding people who want to move in. Moreover, such an untidy state can often significantly lower the price of your place.

Delaying relocation

Move-out house cleaning entails disinfecting all your belongings as well. You mustn’t forget when hiring long-distance moving services and their packing service that there are items that movers won’t move because of their poor condition. Such a situation will negatively affect relocation efficiency.

Should I Have a Move-Out Cleaning Checklist? When Doing Everything by Yourself, You Should

If you don’t want to worry about issues such as “How much does a move-out cleaning cost?” you can assume responsibility for this task. It is absolutely viable. However, “acquiring necessary tools and supplies has to be added to the relocating to-do list. Here are the necessary items:

  • Different types of chemicals for all types of surfaces,
  • Rubber gloves,
  • Any type of cloth (you can use your old clothes),
  • A feather duster,
  • Broom and dustpan,
  • Vacuum cleaner (steam cleaner is even more effective),
  • Mop and a bucket.

Don’t forget that there will be more house cleaning after moving out. Once the cross-country movers have unloaded everything, unpacking after the move can’t start immediately. The new place has to be cleaned as well, and you are free to use all the tools. All in all, buying these supplies and tools should not affect your relocation budget a lot since a lot of things are probably already present at your home.

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You First Need to Clean All Your Household Possessions

After you have browsed the internet for “long-distance movers near me” and hired a company, it is time to begin making a relocation inventory checklist. You will decide what to get rid of (you can always donate or try to organize a garage sale,) and the rest will have to be packed for transportation. These items all have to be cleaned. By doing this, you will be able to pack more efficiently and unpack afterward, but also, as mentioned before, items in poor condition are not accepted by cross-country moving services. Here are the items that will require to be dusted at least:

  • Furniture – If you have booked a long-distance moving company, furniture relocation won’t be a problem. But before movers come and start dismantling everything, each furniture piece will require dusting or vacuuming at least. If a certain piece has been stained, you will need to buy special chemicals for the fabric in question.
  • Kitchen appliances – Professional movers will never accept relocating a filled fridge for various reasons. Therefore, before relocating, make sure to disinfect each kitchen appliance.
  • Kitchenware and other small objects – There will be a lot of small, fragile items to be packed. Most of these objects will most likely just require dusting, but it’s overall a good thing to do since you will have one less obligation after relocating to the new place.
  • Children’s possessions – If you are relocating with kids, don’t forget to clean all their toys, especially the bigger ones. Children can get quite messy with their toys. This will also be a great opportunity to donate all toys that your kids have outgrown.

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After Everything Has Been Sorted and Packed, You Are Ready to Start Tidying up the Rooms

Once the movers have loaded the boxes onto their trucks, it is time to begin cleaning all the free space. First, check whether everything has been packed, and then we are ready to start with the work:


This room will most likely require the most time (besides the bathroom,) depending on what is being relocated. As mentioned, you will have to clean each appliance thoroughly. Fridges and freezers will have to be defrosted and each compartment disinfected individually. Use degreaser spray wherever it is needed (the area around your cooker will have a lot of grease stains). Then all cupboards should be emptied, vacuumed, and disinfected. Faucets should be scrubbed using limescale spray in order to restore sparkliness. Then, the kitchen counter should be disinfected and wiped. Finally, take a mop and bucket and wipe the floor.


The bathroom will also require a lot of time if you want to disinfect everything properly. Again use any type of toilet disinfectant and scrub everything thoroughly. It is advisable to have the bathroom ventilated while doing this since toilet chemicals can be toxic. Limescale spray should also be used for all faucets. Finally, mop the floor. The bathroom has to be spotless, especially now when we are relocating during coronavirus. Otherwise, the price of the property could significantly be lowered if you are planning to sell.

Other rooms

The living room and bedroom will not be as difficult as the aforementioned two, but still, time is needed. A feather duster and vacuum cleaner will be the two most important tools here. Start by dusting everything beginning with the ceiling (there are bound to be cobwebs in the corners). If there are some indelible stains on the walls, you should consider painting at least these parts. Before vacuuming the floors, it is recommended to first sweep the entire place.

It Is Best to Wash and Wipe Every Window in Your Home

If you are planning to sell your home, it is necessary to know that the outer appearance of a house can contribute a lot. Windows are especially important, as they are often the most prominent outer features of a home, both clean and dirty ones. Therefore, take a window spray and wipe them thoroughly in order for them to be shiny. You mustn’t forget about window sills and frames as well. They most likely have a lot of dirt and grime on them, so a few pieces of cloth will be needed for each window sill. Here is a useful video on how to clean your windows properly.

Besides Moving Services, You Can Contact a Professional Cleaning Service as Well

Relocating across the country checklist is usually a long one, no matter what type of relocation is in question. Professional cleaners are especially useful for last-minute relocations, but in general, they save a lot of time. However, they are not free, and if you are looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, hiring professional cleaners probably won’t suit your budget. Nevertheless, a professional cleaner will bring all necessary supplies and tools and do everything that has been stated above. Hiring them can certainly be considered a relocation hack.

Professional Cleaners Often Have Two Types of Services

The first one is usually referred to as “classic” service. Basically, this is for all places that are in overall decent condition and just need basic dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing. In other words, this type of service should be enough to get your deposit back at the very least.

The second option is usually called “premium” service. With premium, all rooms will be deep cleaned using steam cleaners and various types of chemicals. If your place has lost its appearance from ten years ago, you should definitely consider having everything deep cleaned, especially if you are planning to sell your apartment or house.

Avoid These Mistakes if You Want to Clean Everything Properly

Thanks to the people who have shared their relocation experiences, we can now learn what to avoid doing. This will greatly reduce the relocation stress and speed up the entire process. Here are some frequent mistakes.

Starting late

One of the most common relocation tips is to start organizing your move at least two months before. Although you shouldn’t immediately pack everything up, it is advisable to start slowly downsizing your belongings, and one month prior to the relocation, you should have a clear inventory list. That is exactly when you should start tidying up your belongings as well.

Late searching for professional help

If you have decided to hire the service of professional cleaners, you must contact them a week or two before the relocation day. These companies are often quite busy, and you will most likely have to contact a few different companies in order to find the available ones.

Using chemicals inappropriately

When disinfecting your possessions and rooms, different types of materials and surfaces will require different chemicals. So, you have to be careful to use everything appropriately. Otherwise, you could easily ruin your furniture upholstery or wash basin if you apply something that is not suitable for a particular surface. Therefore, you should carefully read the instructions on the back of each bottle.

Being careless with electronics

Electronic devices are quite fragile in their own way, especially those that have screens. Therefore, if you have decided to clean your TV and PC monitor, you must be sure that the right spray is being used. But also, with all other hardware, you should be careful not to soak anything in water as that can cause irreparable damage.

Packing chemicals in boxes for relocation

We have mentioned that dirty items are banned by movers, but all combustible materials are banned as well, and all kinds of chemicals fall into this category. Therefore, you will have to unpack and remove everything that goes against the company’s policies which will be irritating, to say the least.

Being negligent

Finally, whatever has to be done should be done properly, especially if you have to sell the property or get the deposit back. Simply put, landlords or potential buyers will have a strong argument against your demands or prices if the condition of the property is poor.

With or Without Professional Service, This Task Has to Be Performed Before Relocation

It is up to you to decide, according to your financial situation, how to deal with this task. Whatever the choice might be, the apartment or house has to be tidied up before relocation. In this way, you will be sure that your landlord will not have the opportunity to file any potential complaints, nor will the potential buyers have any strong arguments against the price of your property. But most importantly, you will ease the process of relocation greatly.


Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.



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