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How to clean up at the end of a tenancy

Changing address can be stressful, but our guide to cleaning when you move out will help you get everything in order and make sure your deposit is returned promptly.


Hoover on blue carpet

Don’t forget to:

  1. Remove grubby fingerprints from light switches, power outlets and extension cords.

  2. Clean inside the oven and the fridge.

  3. Dust skirting boards, picture and mirror frames.

When you leave rented accommodation, the premises will be assessed to make sure it has been deep cleaned for the new tenant. Making sure the property is fresh and hygienic is essential for getting your deposit back, and disputes over cleaning will mean it takes longer for your money to be returned. If the landlord has to organise further cleaning, the cost can be deducted from your deposit.

Investing in some effective cleaning products and rubber gloves is a good idea before you start. Also look around and note anything that needs to be replaced, such as broken crockery, and make sure you have these items before you move out.

General cleaning checklist

Before leaving, make sure these areas are immaculate:

  • The front door.   

  • All appliances, inside and out.

  • Dispose of any food stored in the freezer and defrost it. For tips on cleaning a fridge, see this guide.

  • Taps and tiling in bathrooms and kitchens – remove lime scale, and polish.

  • Showerheads – remove lime scale by tying on a plastic bag of vinegar overnight.

  • Shower curtains.

  • Flooring, carpet and rugs.

  • Check corners, ceilings and light fittings are free of dust and cobwebs.

  • Cupboards – empty them and wipe out.

  • Replace light bulbs, broken mugs or missing cutlery.

  • Walls and skirting boards. Dirty marks on walls can make an otherwise clean space look dirty and unhygienic.

Remove all personal belongings and place any rubbish in bin liners and take them away.

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It’s best to treat spills – especially red wine, coffee or curry – as they happen, but sometimes they get overlooked.  Examine all walls, and deal with any marks before you leave. Also, thoroughly check:

  • Upholstery

  • Carpets

  • Curtains

Stains can vary a lot, but if unsure how to proceed, start by dabbing with cold water and a clean cloth. Hot water can set stains containing protein, such as blood. Further information on removing tough stains can be found here.

The kitchen

This is an important area in any home, and may require extra effort to remove all traces of grease. To ensure the kitchen is clean enough, remember to:

  • Degrease extractor fans and replace filters.

  • Scrub pan supports on the hob.

  • Ensure oven doors are clean, interior light bulbs work and trays or racks are gleaming.

  • Remove all traces of food from the fridge and wash shelves, crisper drawers, and any removable parts.

  • Switch off, defrost and empty the freezer, making sure shelves are clean and all ice is cleared away.

The bathroom

All traces of limescale, mould or mildew must be removed. Remember to:

  • Polish all surfaces, including glass doors and mirrors.

  • Clean grouting.

  • Remove limescale and any stains from the toilet, basin, and shower.

  • Scrub the bathtub if you have one.

  • Check drains for hair and other debris.

  • Dispose of all shampoo bottles, toiletries, and personal products.

It’s a good idea to take pictures of all rooms, walls and large fixtures, once everything is clean, as these will be good references, should any disputes occur after you move out.

Take photos of the property when you get the keys, or check the inventory, so you can leave the property as it was when you moved in.

Originally published