This post contributed by Sam Radbil, a member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace.
Moving is stressful. You’ve got boxes to pack, moving vans to rent, and furniture to disassemble … all BEFORE the deep cleaning mandated by almost every lease. And if you don’t clean before you move? Be prepared to fork over that security deposit.
Whether you’re moving from a Minneapolis apartment or a luxury unit in Manhattan, you still need to take the proper steps to make sure your place is clean and ready to be passed on to the next renter. But it’s easy to overlook a few key spots during the stress of moving. Here are 5 things you should always clean before moving out.
1. The oven
Ovens are hard to clean. That’s probably why so many people get charged for cleaning them incorrectly (or incompletely). Start with the range top, where you can use regular household cleaners and sprays. Be sure to remove all grates and burner tops and soak them in hot water to loosen caked-on grease and oils.
Normal cleaners won’t do much for inside the oven, however, and that “self-clean” feature will only do so much. For a proper cleaning, you’ll need industrial-strength chemicals. First, brush out any debris from the bottom of the oven. Then soak each shelf in hot, soapy water. Apply the oven cleaner, making sure you open windows and circulate air to diffuse the fumes. Put on a pair of gloves and wipe everything down. Repeat as necessary — sometimes it can take a few tries.
2. The dishwasher
The dishwasher washes my dishes, you might be thinking. I don’t need to wash it! Wrong. Dishwashers can get nasty. Think about it — they’re moist, enclosed, dark environments with bits of food waste.
To clean your dishwasher, remove the filter and soak it in warm, soapy water. Then pour a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and run a low cycle. After that, leave a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher overnight to remove the odor of vinegar. Run a normal cycle and you’re done. (Now that you’ve put all this work into cleaning the dishwasher, don’t forget to wipe down the front panel and seal too.)
3. Cabinet fronts
You’ll probably be so focused on emptying out your cabinets and cleaning the shelves that you forget about the outer surfaces. But cabinets can get surprisingly dirty, especially if they’re near stovetops. Think about it: you often open them when you’re cooking, which means stains, smudges, and fingerprints are common.
To clean them, use a mild all-purpose spray and a sponge. And if you’re cleaning wood cabinets, remember to take special precaution.
4. Top of the refrigerator
Ah, a classically forgotten spot. You’ve been putting cereal boxes and pans on top of the fridge for so long that you haven’t even thought about what else could be up there. Usually, it’s a lot of dust, but check to see if it’s something more. Then give it a thorough wipe down.
5. Holes in the wall
Sure, you vaguely remember your lease mentioning that any holes you make in the wall will have to be refilled. But what’s one nail? Okay, 2. Okay, 3. Fine, a whole system of brackets. Where else were you supposed to hang your flat screen?
Don’t get charged for each hole you leave. Be sure to fill them all, no matter how small, with spackling or wall joint compound. Allow it to dry, then sand it down. Depending on the size of the hole, you might need a patch, which you can then cover with more spackling. Touch up and cover the area with paint, if you know the shade used on your wall. If not, leave that to your landlord.
Overwhelmed? Remember, you can always outsource your cleaning duties to a team of professionals. But taking these proper steps can make your move and new apartment hunting process much more enjoyable.
Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. In just 3 years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees and helps more than 500,000 renters find a new home each month.