Move Out Cleaning: Hire someone or Do-It-Yourself?

move out clean  Moving day!  Whether you’ve just sold your home and movin on up or your lease is up and its time to have a fresh start somewhere new, everyone hates the dreaded Move Out Clean.   In all the planning and excitement of moving to the “NEW” most of us completely forget the meticulous details of the mess we are leaving behind.

After the boxes are packed comes the awful, seemingly endless cleaning phase.  Filling nail holes, wiping down the insides of drawers, bleaching the refrigerator, and all the other  miscellaneous B.S.  that you innocently looked over out of pure excitement to get into your new home!  Who can blame you!  You already know where everything is going and probably cant wait to start decorating!

Now comes that nasty collection letter invoicing you for ridiculous fees beyond your initial cleaning deposit, which they are now keeping.  For example, if you left a bag of trash behind for the garbage man, it isn’t unheard of to be charged a $25 fee for the removal of each bag.  Some landlords charge up to $8 per nail hole needing to be filled.  Many leasing agencies bank on this so be sure you have what is expected for your move out clean in writing.

So…  Should you hire someone or do it yourself?Move out cleaning

That’s a great question and will depend on:

  • How much time will it take you to do it yourself?  (Be realistic, and then add 2 hours)
  • Will the returned deposit outweigh the cost for a cleaning service
  • How much will I spend on cleaning supplies if I do it myself?

Most cleaning companies will gladly accept a job for a one-time move out clean.

Move out cleans tend to be fairly easy for a cleaning service because…

  • The location is empty and clear of obstacles.
  • They don’t have to work around other people


These jobs typically shouldn’t cost you more than a regular one time clean. Keep in mind, if your carpet is soiled you will need to consider shopping for carpet cleaning bids.

Whether you decide to use a cleaning service or do it yourself, always request a move out check-list from your leasing agent, land lord or Realtor.  Walking into a home that’s being inspected for a move out clean is not something anyone looks forward to, but having this list ahead of time should relieve some of the stress.

Regardless if you choose to Hire a Move Out Cleaning service or to Do-It-Yourself, we’ve put together a checklist to help you out.

Every Room:

  • Remove all nails, pins and screws. Plaster and sand holes. (Most places will not require painting, but double-check just to make sure)
  • Clean all the ceiling fixtures. Including removing light fixtures and cleaning out any deceased bugs that may have found their way in.
  • Wipe down all surfaces, rails and baseboards.
  • Clean the windows. This includes the Window sill and window tracks.
  • Clean the door knobs and doors.
  • Clean all light switches and outlets. Replace any broken.
  • Vacuum (get any stains out of the carpet, or get the carpet professionally cleaned).
  • Get rid of all cobwebs.


  • Get soap scum off the bathroom tiles and tub/shower and bleach the grout.
  • Clean out the bathroom drawers and vanity, making sure you get all the hair out (and remove any liners).
  • Clean the toilet, on top, behind, under and replace the toilet seat if needed.
  • Clean Sinks
  • Clean the mirror.
  • Clean all light fixtures and replace dead bulbs.


  • Clean out all cabinets and liners.
  • Wash the front of the cabinets.
  • Clean and disinfect all counter-tops.
  • Clean and shine up the sink and faucet.
  • Scrub the refrigerator inside and out. Remove all shelves and clean separately if necessary.
  • Scrub the oven inside and out. Remove shelving, drip pans and burners. Use steel wool, it is your friend.
  • Clean out the dishwasher if you have one.
  • Clean exhaust fan if needed.
  • Remove all appliances and sweep behind them.

Bedrooms/Living Room:

  • Dust, sweep, vacuum and mop these empty rooms.


  • Should be completely empty and swept.

Often times these checklists become a matter not only getting your deposit back, but preventing the opportunity to be stuck with additional “fees” that can turn into collections and judgments to your credit in the future.  Again, make sure you know what’s expected before you agree and set your final walk through.  Following through with these steps whether you’re the Hire someone or Do-It-Yourself type can save you headaches and money as you enjoy your New place.

By the way, Congrats on the “New” place!

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