What Should I Clean When I Move Out?

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated May 26, 2022
Couple cleaning house before a move
Photo: BalanceFormCreative / Shutterstock

Tackle your move-out cleaning tasks easily with a checklist

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Unless your lease or home sale contract says otherwise, you’re on the hook for cleaning the entire house. Renters, be especially careful if you want your full deposit fees. And home sellers, turning over a clean house is the right thing to do. Plus, a dirty house in disarray could hold up closing day. 

Your move-out clean depends on several things, like your budget, free time, the house’s size, and its current condition. You might consider hiring a local cleaning service to take care of the move-out cleaning for you. In fact, reread your rental agreement; it may require a professional cleaning. 

A professional cleaning team could knock out in a day what would take you three. But, if you have plenty of time, want to cut your moving costs, or just have a knack for deep cleaning, you’ll need a strategy to get started, like the move-out cleaning guide below. 

Ultimate Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Your Home

Moving and packing is a dirty business, so start cleaning from the top down. Floors get dirtier each day, so don’t waste your time sweeping and mopping high traffic floors like the kitchen until you’re finished with the rest of the house.  

It’s easiest to clean room by room, starting with the least used, like guest bedrooms. You can even start small with linen and bedroom closets. Finish the job, shut the door, and mark one room off your list—instant motivation to keep going! 

"If you are a renter who is moving out, be sure to ask the rental company about their expectations of a final cleaning,” said Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.  “Many rental companies suggest cleaning all appliances (inside and out), blinds, and windows (inside and out) to receive a full deposit fee."  

Use the handy move-out cleaning guide below to make this task as easy and efficient as possible.

Cleaning Tasks for All Rooms

You can count on doing these chores in all rooms for a move-out clean.

 9 move-out cleaning tasks for every room, including dusting high and low and washing walls

Linen, Storage, and Hall Closets 

Start with the easy rooms first.

  • Dust and wipe down shelves and light fixtures 

  • Remove shelf paper 

  • Use the vacuum cleaner attachments for crevices and trim

Laundry and Utility Rooms

Don’t forget these essential spaces.

  • Change the furnace filters 

  • Empty dryer connections 

  • Clean utility sinks 

  • Sweep the dust bunnies from the corners 

Living Spaces 

High-traffic rooms need extra attention.

  • Check your living room, den, or rec room ceilings for cobwebs and dust 

  • Clean the ceiling fans and light fixtures

  • Wipe down the walls and baseboards if dirty and scuffed from shoes and furniture 

Young man in wheelchair cleaning bookcase
Photo: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock.com

Bedrooms and Spare Rooms

Bedrooms need privacy, so don’t forget to clean window coverings. 

  • Some window coverings are removable; others you’ll need to clean attached 

  • Dust the sills and sashes 

  • You might need soap and water or a household cleaner if moisture and dirt seeped in  


The kitchen takes a lot of time to clean because of daily use, so give yourself a few hours to clean all the appliances.

  • Vacuum exterior refrigerator coils

  • Wipe down the range hood and bottom drawer of the stove

  • Degrease the walls, backsplash, cabinets, exhaust fan, and pantry 

  • Don’t forget to wipe down the pantry shelves 


Cleaning the bathrooms is time-consuming because it needs a deep clean every time. 

  • Disinfect all parts of the toilet, bathtub, and sink.

  • Clean the shower walls and under the bathroom sink. 

  • Watch out for mold and mildew stains, and dirty grout. 

Entry Ways

You’ll need a strong cleaning solution and scrubbing sponge for the entryway surfaces.

  • Scrub stairs, doors, and walls that take the brunt of rain, mud, and wet dog shakes. 

  • Front and back doors collect dirt and grime every day. 

  • Clean the floors last. 


No one expects a pristine garage, but you should do these routine move-out chores.

  • Sweep the floors. 

  • Cleaning doors and windows.

  • Spot clean stains on walls and floors. 

  • Take hospitality to the next level and leave the new residents a new battery in the garage door opener.

Your Guide to an Efficient Move-Out Cleaning

If at all possible, clean an empty house. Cleaning around boxes and furniture is a tough job, and you’ll probably have to do it more than once, especially after the movers leave. 

You’ll also see everything more clearly without furniture in the way. Leave yourself at least two to three days (if not more) to get the job done before the new residents arrive and you move into your new home

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