So, you’re a landlord, and your current tenants are moving out. Now, you have to prepare the home or apartment for the new tenants. That would make you wonder: how long does a move out cleaning take?

Or, you’re a tenant, moving out of your current home or apartment. You want to make sure that you get your security deposit back. You’re asking the same question.

We hear both sides. Find your answers below.

what is move out cleaning

What Is Move Out Cleaning?

Let’s start with a short explanation of moving out cleaning first. As the name gave away, it’s simply the cleaning you do when you or someone moves out of a property. 

Simple enough to grasp, right? 

But here’s a surprise. Move out cleaning is not like your regular cleaning. It starts from the floors and goes all the way to inside the oven and behind the refrigerator. 

Yes, it’s even more painstaking and time-consuming than spring cleaning. 

regular vs standard cleaning / weekly cleaning of apartment & living room

Why Is Move Out Cleaning Important? 

Your next question may be, if it’s so tedious, why do it in the first place?

Several reasons. 

As a landlord, you need to make sure that the property is in excellent condition before you rent it out to the new tenants. The cleaner your home is, the higher your chances of scoring a well-paying tenant. 

As a tenant, you want that fat security deposit you put in when you first moved in. Moreover, some letting agents need your past landlord’s references. 

If you leave their home looking like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie, you can kiss your deposit and references goodbye. 


move in move out floor cleaning


How Long Does a Move Out Cleaning Take? 

Now that we’ve got the smaller questions out of the way, let’s get to the main one. How long does a move out cleaning take? 

The answer depends on several factors, such as: 

  • Size of your home 
  • How long you’ve stayed 
  • The dirtiness of the property 
  • Number of occupants in your home 

Let’s look at all these factors in detail. 

Property Size 

Here’s a general breakdown of how long it will take to clean homes of different sizes: 

  • Studio: 2 hours 
  • One Bedroom Apartment: Up to 3 hours
  • Two Bedroom Apartment: 4 to 5 hours 
  • Three Bedroom Apartment/House: 5 to 6 hours 
  • Larger Than Three Bedrooms: 6 to 8 hours 

However, these numbers are just a rough estimate and can go up or down depending on the other factors. 

Cleanliness of Your Home 

If you are a clean queen (we avoid ”freak” because we worship cleanliness), the move out cleaning won’t take too much time. Your home is most likely already clean. 

You only need to get into the nooks and crannies, like inside the cabinets and drawers, behind the refrigerator, and so on. 

Hard Stains and Pet Hair 

Unfortunately, the move out cleaning is not just about dusting and wiping the surfaces. You may also need to deal with any pet hair, hard water stains, stuck-on dirt, and other messes. 

These require special cleaning techniques that can add a few hours to your move out cleaning time. 

move out cleaning process

Step-by-Step Move Out Cleaning Process 

You know the basics now. It takes a few hours to clean the whole place. So, how do you make these hours worth the elbow grease? Here’s the process. 

Step 1: Tackle the Kitchen 

The kitchen usually takes the longest. Start by clearing the countertops and wiping down all surfaces. Then, clean out the cabinets, drawers, pantry, etc. 

Don’t forget the fridge and oven. Take the garbage out and empty all trash cans. 

Step 2: Clean the Bathroom 

Make sure the bathrooms are squeaky clean before you move out of a place. Begin with the showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets. 

After you’ve cleaned these surfaces, mop the floors and sweep dust from the corners. Empty all cabinets and drawers in the bathrooms as well.

Don’t leave your dirty towels in there. 

Step 3: Clean the Bedrooms 

By this time, the hardest part is over. You can now clean the bedrooms. 

Remove the bedding from the beds. If you’re taking them with you, it’s up to you if you want to wash them before packing or not. But if you’re leaving them behind, soak them in hot water to kill all germs. 

Then, move on to the carpets or floors. Vacuum the carpets, mop the floors, and dust all surfaces. 

Take out your stuff from the drawers, cabinets, and closets, too. Clean the inner surfaces of these furniture pieces. 

Step 4: Tidy Up the Living Room and Other Rooms

Finally, you can start cleaning the central part of the house now. Vacuum the floors and dust everything from the furniture and shelves to the baseboards and window sills. 

Take your time to clean the windows, too. Dust the curtains and blinds, too. 

If there are any other rooms in the house (e.g., dining room or basement), clean these along with the living room. 

Step 5: Do a Final Walkthrough 

When you’re cleaning the whole house at once, it’s not uncommon to miss a spot or forget something along the way. Do a quick walkthrough to check if you’ve missed something. 

handy tips for mouve out/ move in cleaning

Tips to Make Your Move Out Cleaning a Success 

Use these tips to ensure your move out cleaning leaves the house spotless. 

Designate Enough Time 

We all have that instinct to rush through the clean-up process. But resist the urge. Trust us; it will help. 

Instead of leaving the clean-up to the last minute, plan ahead and set aside enough time to do the job properly. 

Pack As You Go

Part of the reason moving out cleaning is so stressful is that you’ve got boxes everywhere. Your clothes are sprawled across the house, and your furniture is still in the wrong place. 

To make things easier on yourself, pack as you go. What we mean is that when you’re cleaning a room, box up whatever stuff is left in the room so that it’s out of your way. 

Make a Checklist 

Apart from the endorphin rush of ticking an item off your to-do list, having a checklist ensures that you don’t forget anything. 

Here’s a standard one: 

  • Cleaning the refrigerator (inside and out) 
  • Vacuuming and mopping floors 
  • Cleaning the windows 
  • Dusting furniture and shelves 
  • Wiping down baseboards, window sills, door frames, etc. 
  • Dusting curtains and blinds 
  • Cleaning carpets/rugs (if needed) 
  • Cleaning the oven 
  • Removing all cobwebs 
  • Wiping down walls, doors, and light switches 
  • Cleaning the bathroom (sink, bathtub, shower) 

You can always make a checklist according to your needs. 

Get the Right Tools/Supplies 

The right tools and supplies make all the difference.

You’ll need a vacuum cleaner, mop and bucket, cleaning cloths, window cleaner, furniture polish, and a few other items. If you don’t know where to start, Forbes has a list we love


When to Hire Professional Cleaners for Move Out Cleaning?

Moving out cleaning can be super overwhelming. It’s just a lot to do, especially when you’re already under the stress of packing and moving. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just don’t want another task on your hands, hire move out cleaning services. A professional cleaning service will know where to start and what to do. 

They will also leave the house in sparkling clean condition. More importantly, they use the right cleaning solutions and tools to tackle every kind of stain — yes, even that stubborn spot on your countertop that you can’t seem to remove.

At Sunlight Cleaning NY, we do a stellar job at it. It’s not just us saying it about ourselves. Our customers share the same sentiment. Want to learn more? Give us a call

sunlight house cleaning services nyc company

Hire Move Out Cleaning Services To Make Your Life Easier 

If you’ve come this far in the guide, you must realize how tedious the task of moving out and cleaning can be. Hiring a professional could save time and headaches. 

Sunlight Cleaning NY is your go-to professional service when it comes to moving out cleaning in New York. We have helped many customers leave their former homes in mint condition. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Long Does It Take To Do Move-Out Cleaning in a Condo for One Person? 

It shouldn’t take longer than 3 hours for a one-bedroom condo. The time may vary depending on the size of the condo and the condition it is in. 

How Long Does a Move Out Cleaning Take For Professional Cleaners?

Professional cleaners are usually much quicker than you working on cleaning your home alone. They work in a team, with every cleaner dealing with one room or part of the house. That cuts the move out cleaning time in half. 

How Much Does a Professional Move Out Cleaning Cost? 

It depends on the size of your home. At Sunlight Cleaning NY, we charge $35 per hour for apartment units under 1,000 sq. ft. and $50 for units over 1,000 sq. ft. Check our moving-out cleaning services page for more information. 

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