You found a new place, notified your landlord about the move, cancelled all your subscriptions, talked to your utility providers, packed your stuff, and left the rest to the movers. Now, all that remains before you turn the page is to clean the property you used to call home. Simple, right?
And that’s when most tenants realise just how much they underestimated this task. Cleaning a property to perfection, especially a house, isn’t easy. But even if you think you did a great job, your landlord can still end up denying your deposit because you’ve missed a few tricky spots.
If you want to get your deposit back without hiring a professional end of tenancy crew (although it is highly recommended), check out the 8 critical areas you definitely need to clean.
1. Liberate Windows from Smudges and Dust
Sounds obvious enough. However, we are not talking about the window panes themselves, since you probably took care of that already. What we have in mind is the space where the window glass meets the screen. It’s a bit dusty, isn’t it?
Make sure to grab a bucket with soapy water, since you can expect lots of hidden dirt to suddenly reveal its true, messy colours. You should also wipe the window sills and their underside area to ensure that your windows pass the “finger swipe” test.
2. Deal with Stains and Holes on Walls
Nails. Hooks. Skid marks. After already moving all your paintings and family photos to your new nest, what used to be your walls may now look more like the landscape after an epic battle. This, however, can be easily fixed with a bit of putty, a putty knife, and a small painting brush.
If you are facing skid marks, spilled coffee stains, or just accumulated dust that has been hiding behind the furniture all this time, you can try out any of the eraser-like products on the market. These contain melamine foam which, combined with water, can dissolve almost any stains.
3. Take Care of Dusty Carpet Corners
If small portions of your carpets were previously trapped beneath furniture, it’s very likely that you’ve never disturbed the dust there up until now. So, how do you deal with dirt and grime build-ups that have been sitting there ever since the beginning of your tenancy (if not earlier)?
Well, one way to do this is to use a slightly damp cloth and meticulously wipe the dirt away. If your carpet is made of non-water-resistant fabric, be on the safe side and set your vacuum cleaner on the highest setting to unstuck the dust and grime hiding deep within your rug’s fibres.
4. Polish Skirting Boards and Crown Moldings
Skirting boards are one of those things you rarely stop to think about until your landlord points at them with a disappointed (and slightly repulsed) expression. Make sure to wipe these thoroughly since they can mean the difference between receiving your bond and walking off empty-handed.
While you are at it, you should also grab a ladder and carefully dust the crown mouldings (if your property has any). If you don’t know what “crown mouldings” are, these are essentially the distant cousins of skirting boards – they frame the areas between the floor and the ceiling.
If you don’t have a ladder or are afraid of heights, an extendable duster will do just as well.
5. Wipe Hard to Reach Surfaces
You can probably guess what those are already. The interior of your cabinets, the top surfaces of your door frames and fridge, ceiling fans, light fixtures and chandeliers… the list is pretty long. The good news is that you can clean most of these surfaces using your trusty extendable duster, although ceiling fixtures will usually require a more “up close and personal” approach.
For fan blades in particular, you can get a sturdy ladder or a special type of ring-shaped duster whose bristles are specifically designed to clean them. You can also “encase” each fan within a pillowcase as you clean to prevent a shower of dust bunnies. If you are sprucing up light fixtures, remove the chandelier crystals and glass covers first and clean them on the ground.
6. Descale the Kitchen Sink
When cleaning the kitchen, we usually rinse all dirty surfaces and sponges in the sink, but forget to do the same with the sink. If the walls of your sink are covered in gunk and your faucets are rather greyish in appearance, then you’ll need to don your rubber gloves and get down to work.
Use a bit of liquid soap, a soft cloth, and warm water to wipe all grime from the faucets, drain, and the sink’s exterior away. You can also use a soft toothbrush to polish the edges of the sink. If by that point the stains haven’t already raised the white flag, use the good old baking soda and lemon juice formula and carefully scrub them into the soiled areas, then rinse away. Here you can also check some other quick kitchen cleaning tips.
7. Clean the Vent Covers
During your tenancy, you probably went past your vent covers more times than you can care to admit. But in how many of these instances were you curious enough to check if they were actually doing their job? If the answer is “never”, then you have lots of work ahead of you:
- Switch the A/C off. Use your vacuum cleaner to suck away the surface layer of dust.
- Refrain from using water. The dust will leave muddy marks if it lands on your walls.
- Grab a screwdriver. Unscrew the bolts that hold the corners of the covers in place.
- Place the covers inside a tub. Soak them in warm water and two tablespoons of washing detergent for about 15-20 minutes, then scrub with a soft bristle brush.
- Allow the covers to air dry. Ensure they are completely dry before placing back.
8. Organise the Outdoor Space
If you have a yard or a garden, it’s imperative that you make it look as good as possible prior to your landlord’s inspection. If you added chimes, bird feeders or other decorations, consider taking them with you since your landlord can potentially fine you for leaving clutter behind. You should also consider cleaning the outdoor furniture, at least the dirtiest pieces.
Cutting the grass and pulling pesky weeds that may have cropped up should also be high on your to-do list. Collecting decaying leaves, spraying the deck down, and generally brooming the area are a few extra things you can do to leave your landlord pleasantly surprised.