Cleaning is a contentious subject to many people. Some find meditative value in the exercise, while others really despise it. But no matter where you fall on that spectrum, certain circumstances will make the action unavoidable. With that in mind, we wanted to take a minute to explain the importance of deep cleaning a new home before you move in and making your old place pristine before you move out.
Do You Need to Do a Deep Clean Before You Move Out?
When you’re planning a move, cleaning is the last thing on your mind. Usually, people are too preoccupied with the logistics of packing and transporting their stuff as well as the financial side of things. No one has time to care about the condition of their surroundings in those circumstances.
But once the movers take the last piece of furniture out of your old home, the things you’re leaving behind will seem more evident. Without carpets and furniture covering the floors, the dust bunnies will become glaringly obvious. The bare walls will still remember every fly you ever swatted during your time there. Even the windows, devoid of curtains or blinds, will show every smear and smudge your kids might have made while excitedly waiting for the movers.
As you take in that kind of scene, you’ll find yourself wondering whether you should do something about it. If leaving behind a clean apartment is just a matter of common courtesy, you might choose to opt-out of it. However, that is not always the case.
In her role as the General Manager of an NYC moving company, Nancy Zafrani has seen all sorts of move-out scenarios play out. She’d be the first to tell you that cleaning your place after the movers leave isn’t a legal requirement. Still, many lease agreements contain a section about restoring the property’s original condition upon the tenant’s exit.
So if you want to get your security deposit back, you’d better start cleaning. In fact, even if you own the property, you should still give it a good scrub before you go. After all, doing so would make it more attractive to potential renters or buyers.
What Do You Need to Do on Your Way Out?
After the movers take your boxes to their vehicle, you’ll be able to see what remains to be done. In the best-case scenario, you’ll just have to remove some cobwebs, clean the windows, and mop the floors. Also, if you’re leaving behind kitchen and bathroom appliances, you could give those a pass as well. Chances are, the next tenant will do it all again anyway.
However, if your lease states that you have to put everything exactly the way it was when you moved in, you may have to go through a few more steps. For example, you should fill in any screw holes you needed to hang artwork. Depending on the state of the walls, you may even have to repaint them. But since you’ll probably be preoccupied with getting the new place ready for your arrival, you might want to hire a professional crew for that kind of work.
What Should You Clean Before You Move Into a New Place?
Even if you take the time to clean your old home before moving out, you shouldn’t assume everyone will do the same. That’s why cleaning your new home before you move in is equally as important as leaving your old place spotless! In fact, that step is crucial if you’re coming into a fully furnished rental.
Alternatively, if your new home is sparsely furnished, cleaning will give you an opportunity to inspect it thoroughly. Before your boxes come in, your new home will probably only have a few essential pieces of furniture in the kitchen and bathroom. Taking a second to scrub it all down should make the process of unpacking much faster.
Remove Dust From All Surfaces and Fixtures
When you first enter your new home, you’ll want to go through it with a trash bag and dispose of any items the previous tenant might have left. Once that’s done, you can use a duster to shake off any cobwebs that might be on the ceiling or around any of the big cabinets that may be taking up space. Working from the top down is one way to ensure that you’re not contaminating clean surfaces with dust from above.
Once the dust settles, you’ll want to get a bucket of warm, soapy water and some rags. Make sure to wipe down all the surfaces and fixtures, including tables, chairs, baseboards, lampshades, and fans. If the place has a fireplace or a balcony, you’ll need to put in some extra effort, as those areas can be especially filthy.
After that first pass, you can finish off by going through the whole place again with a clean rag and a spray disinfectant.
Focus on the Kitchen and Bathroom
Whether your new place is furnished or not, it’ll probably have some items in the kitchen and bathroom. If it had a previous tenant, you’ll want to pay special attention while cleaning those areas.
In the kitchen, you should scrub any cabinets and appliances inside and out. Remove drawers and shelves to clean the inside of the oven, fridge, and cabinets. If there’s a microwave, you should take the tray out and thoroughly clean the inside. You’ll also want to make sure the exhaust fan in the kitchen hood is cleaned out.
If you didn’t have rubber gloves on while you cleaned the kitchen, now is the time to get some. The bathroom is one space you can go all-out with the industrial-strength cleaners. Make sure to disinfect the sink and countertop, as well as the toilet and bathtub (or shower).
Polish the Windows and Floors
Last but not least, you can finish your cleaning session by cleaning the windows and floors. After cleaning the glass itself, you’ll want to wipe down the inside of the window sill. Then, all you have to do is sweep or vacuum the floor.
Unless there are layers of grime on it, we recommend mopping up after the movers deliver your boxes. Alternatively, you can ask them to split up into two teams and have one carry your stuff up the stairs. Meanwhile, the others could be inside helping you unpack. Either way, your new home will feel much more livable if you clean it before the movers come in!
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