End of tenancy cleaning advice

Not sure whether to hire a professional or to try end of tenancy cleaning yourself? Use our guide to get top tips and make the right decision for you.


Patterned carpet being hoovered to signify end of tenancy

Key steps

  1. It’s possible to save considerable money by undertaking the job yourself rather than hiring professional services.
  2. Start at the top and work your way down, from the ceiling to the skirting boards.  
  3. Remember last-minute details before you leave, such as taking out your rubbish.

End of tenancy cleaning can be a harrowing experience. Your deposit is at stake, and you’ll probably find yourself wondering if you should hire a cleaning service or try it yourself. To help keep your options open, we have put together a comprehensive list of what to do when moving house to help you get a full return of your deposit, no matter how big or small.

This list is a combination of personal experience and suggestions from the UK’s government authority on housing and tenancy called Shelter. We hope you will find it not only thorough, but also useful in whatever way you choose to use it.

Remember, when you’re using cleaning products, you need plenty of ventilation so leave windows and doors open as you work your way around the property. Make sure you cover your clothing and skin with protective items, such as rubber gloves, too.

Try to plan your move so that you can do the end of tenancy cleaning after all of your belongings have been removed. This way you can avoid having to work around furniture and boxes, and eliminate any risk of cleaning products getting on things they shouldn’t!

What to do when moving out: DIY end of tenancy cleaning

  • Wait until most (if not all) of your belongings have been moved out to begin this process. It helps to have open space and empty drawers when you’re trying to clean thoroughly.
  • As a rule of thumb, start at the top and work your way down: ceiling, corners and fans, windows all the way down to the skirting boards.

Safety Warning

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

  • Inspect drapes, blinds, and curtains to decide not only what kind of cleaning they need, but how best to do it. This may require professional cleaning – read this article on curtain cleaning for some helpful advice.
  • Take on the kitchen: Every appliance and surface needs cleaning and degreasing. Start with the oven – it’s usually a sticking point for inspection, so ensure you’re using a reliable product, like Cif Oven Cleaner. Move on to the hob and ventilation hood, refrigerator and freezer, microwave and dishwasher.
  • With the appliances looking like new, take a moment to disinfect kitchen surfaces like countertops, backsplashes and cupboards. Take care to degrease any food stains with a quality detergent like Cif Cream White.
  • Open all the cupboards and drawers to make sure they’re not only empty, but also clean enough to pass inspection. A clean sponge or towel should do the trick.
  • Lucky you…. Time to clean the bathrooms one last time. This is the last big obstacle, so do it well! Bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toilets need individual attention. Check out the products from Domestos for a deep clean. Afterwards, ensure the tiles and nozzles are sparkling. Microfibre cloths are great for wiping down taps.
  • Bigger rooms are next: bedrooms, dining room, living room, etc. Check the closets, cabinets and drawers for anything left behind. Wipe down and empty as needed.
  • Floors: mop, sweep, and vacuum everything. Remember, you’re working for a full return of your deposit and anything less than perfect will cost you. A good way to check is to wipe the floor with a damp towel – if it comes away clean, job done! Wipe down skirting boards as a finishing touch.
  • You’re nearly there so take a moment to disinfect doorknobs, handles, and light switches with an antibacterial spray like Cif. Take care to wipe down mirrors, windows and other reflective surfaces.
  • Walk through the space with a discerning eye: any smells and sights that catch your eye are likely to do the same for the inspector. Wipe down and air-out as needed.
  • Take out the rubbish, and you’re done!

If you are intimidated by this list, just consider how much it would cost to hire a professional service versus how much time it would take you to do it yourself. If the benefits of hiring a professional cleaner outweigh the time it would take, then don’t hesitate to do so.

Make sure you have an agreed list of items that will be checked when you move out. Many cleaning services have the own end-of-tenancy package, but it is worth taking a few minutes to cross check these lists and make sure nothing gets forgotten or overlooked.

End of tenancy cleaning is neither simple nor quick, but it is entirely possible to do yourself if you have the time … and the inclination.

Originally published