If you’re ready to move apartments and you’ve handed over a good deal of cash for your security deposit, you’ll want to make sure you get that money back. This will entail some cleaning on your part if you don’t want your landlord keeping the deposit to fix or clean the place.
But where should you start? And what should you even spend time cleaning?
Deep Cleaning Your Apartment Kitchen
Whether you’re a professional chef or the king of ordering takeout, you’ve likely used your kitchen a number of times to prepare, clean, store, throw away or even eat food. Over time, this can lead to buildup which needs a little elbow grease to remove.
Before you move, be sure to give your kitchen one last deep-clean, leaving the surfaces smelling and looking as fresh as the day you arrived.
1. Crusty Stovetops
Stovetops often take the brunt of splatters and spills while you’re cooking. Oil, crumbs and other liquids may be caked onto electric coils, burner grates and the drip bowls underneath them. Carefully use a razor blade to scrape food off glass burners, spray with vinegar and wipe clean.
For electric stoves, cover the drip bowls with baking soda and vinegar. Let them sit for five minutes, then wipe them down. If they’re too crusty to clean, you can pick up new ones for just a few dollars.
2. Smelly Dishwasher
Does your dishwasher stink even when it’s empty? If so, it’s probably time for your dishwasher’s monthly cleaning.
Start by emptying your washer and take out the bottom rack, removing any food or buildup from the drain. Next, place a container of white vinegar on the upper rack and run a hot water cycle. Finally, sprinkle baking soda across the bottom and run a shorter hot water cycle to keep it smelling and looking fresh.
3. Splattered Microwave
If you were fortunate enough to move into an apartment with a microwave, you’ll have to clean the appliance before you leave.
Place one cup of water filled with lemon slices in the microwave and let it run for two minutes. Then, allow it to sit for another minute or two so the steam loosens any buildup. Remove the glass plate and wipe the inside and outside down with soapy water.
Cleaning Your Apartment’s Floors
You walk, dance, sit and even sleep on them — and so do your pets if you have any. Your floors have the potential to become extremely dirty. While a regular vacuuming or sweeping will remove a surface layer of dust and crumbs, you’ll have to deep clean the floors if you want that security deposit back.
1. Scuffed Wood Floors
If you and your guests regularly wore shoes on your hardwood floors, you’ll likely have some scuff marks to remove. Luckily, fixing them is relatively simple. Grab a tennis ball, cut a hole in it and stick a broom handle down into the hole. Then, spin through your apartment removing scuffs with the tennis ball as you go.
2. Stained Tile Grout
If you have tile instead, you may run into stained grout. Begin removing the stains and any dirt by vacuuming and mopping first. Then, spray the floor with grout cleaner, using a small brush to scrub in between each tile.
Be sure to test the cleaning product first on a small area, as some vinegar solutions may harm the grout. Finally, steam and reseal the grout, and check out this beginner’s guide if you need more tips!
3. Dented Carpets
Some landlords don’t recarpet a space every time someone moves out, so you may have to work out those unsightly carpet dents before you leave.
After your apartment is clear of heavy furniture, take some ice cubes and place them on carpet dents. Allow them to melt, then use a metal spoon to re-straighten and lift the fibers.
Cleaning Your Rental Bathroom
Arguably the dirtiest and least fun to clean part of your apartment, the bathroom can suck away your security deposit if you aren’t careful. To ensure you receive your deposit in full, you’ll want to deep clean your bathroom and perhaps use the help of some end of lease cleaners. So grab some rubber gloves and get to work!
1. Slimy Showers
Soap scum from shampoos, body washes and more can leave your shower walls, ledges and tub feeling slimy. There may even be a thin layer of pink slime between the wall tiles.
Mix together one part vinegar and one part water and spray the solution onto all shower surfaces. Then, leave it to soak for about 10 minutes and scrub away the pink bacteria with a sponge or brush.
2. Clogged Drains
If the sink or tub drain is clogged and you don’t want to go out and buy chemical drain cleaner, you can make your own solution with vinegar and baking soda. Mix equal parts of both and pour a cup of the solution down the drain. Then, bring a pot of water to boil and pour it down the drain as well.
3. Grimy Toilets
Ah, yes. The dreaded toilet. Months of use have probably left it a little grimy, especially if you’ve gotten lax on cleaning it.
Luckily, cleaning your toilet doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply pour a cup of vinegar into the bowl and let it sit for at least an hour. Then, you’ll only need to scrub the rim and flush.
Scrubbing Your Windows and Walls
Just like other parts of your apartment, windows and walls can get dirty and damaged, especially if you have pets or children. So, before moving out, inspect windowpanes and all walls for holes, cracks and dirt or dust buildup. Then, you can begin patching, cleaning or fixing.
1. Streaky Windows
Use a microfiber cloth to clean your windows. This material won’t leave behind streaks and you can use either window cleaning solution or a mixture of vinegar and water. Fold the cloth multiple times and unfold it as you wipe so you always have a clean cloth to work with.
2. Grungy Blinds
Dip a sock into a homemade solution of half vinegar and half water and put it on your hand inside out. Then, wipe down each blind slat. This is much more effective than using a feather duster, which will only remove dust and not stains or dirt. Keep dust off by spraying the blinds with static guard immediately after wiping them down.
3. Holey Walls
You likely put in a good amount of effort to hang up shelves, photo frames and other homey touches. But when you go to move and begin taking everything off your walls, you leave behind holes where the nails used to be. Fill these holes with white toothpaste and wipe them with a paper towel.
Get Your Security Deposit Back With These Apartment Cleaning Tips
Typically, if you leave the place in good, clean condition, your landlord won’t withhold too much of your security deposit. However, it’s important to revisit your lease agreement to find out which areas of your apartment will need to be cleaned more thoroughly.
Landlords will use your deposit if they find anything that’s extremely dirty, damaged or stained due to negligence or misuse. But if you take good care of the place and clean well before you move, you’ll likely recoup most, if not all, of your security deposit.