Moving out of a rental property can be a hectic experience, but ensuring that you leave the place spotless can save you from additional charges and secure the return of your security deposit. Move out cleaning is a critical step in this process, and knowing what to focus on can make the task less daunting. If you overlook this, landlords can bill you for any necessary cleaning or repairs even after you’ve moved out, often at a higher rate than if you had done it yourself. These additional charges can significantly cut into your budget and cause unnecessary stress. Therefore, understanding the importance of thorough move-out cleaning and knowing exactly what needs to be done can make a huge difference. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you through it.

Importance of Move Out Cleaning

Before diving into the to-do list, it’s essential to understand why move-out cleaning is so crucial:

  • Security Deposit Return: A thorough cleaning can ensure that you get your security deposit back in full.
  • Maintaining a Good Reputation: Leaving the property in good condition reflects well on you as a tenant and can serve as a good reference for future rentals.
  • Avoiding Additional Charges: Most landlords will charge for any cleaning or repairs needed after you leave, often at a higher rate than if you had done it yourself.
  • Preventing Conflicts and Disputes: A spotless property reduces the chances of disputes with your landlord over the condition of the rental. Clear, clean spaces leave little room for disagreement, ensuring a smoother transition.
  • Health and Safety: Ensuring the property is thoroughly cleaned also addresses any potential health and safety issues for the next tenant. This is particularly important if you had pets, young children, or if anyone in the household was sick during your tenancy.

For more detailed information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, including guidelines on move-out procedures and security deposits, it’s important to consult the official resources. Visit the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario to ensure you are fully informed about the legal aspects of renting and moving out. This can help you avoid any unexpected issues and ensure a smooth transition.

Things to Keep in Mind

Check Your Lease Agreement:

  • Review for Specific Cleaning Requirements: Carefully go through your lease agreement to understand any specific cleaning requirements set by your landlord. Some leases may outline particular tasks, such as steam cleaning carpets or cleaning air vents.
  • Note Any Damages: Identify any damages or areas needing special attention as stipulated in the contract. This can include minor repairs that you can address yourself, ensuring they don’t become costly deductions from your deposit.

Take Before and After Photos:

  • Document Property Condition: Take detailed photos of the property before you start cleaning and after you finish. This provides clear evidence of the state of the rental, which can be crucial in case of disputes with your landlord.
  • Focus on Key Areas: Pay particular attention to areas that are often points of contention, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and any areas where there was pre-existing damage.

Gather the Right Cleaning Supplies:

  • Comprehensive Cleaning Kit: Ensure you have all necessary cleaning products and tools, such as sponges, brushes, mops, vacuum cleaners, and eco-friendly cleaning solutions.
  • Eco-Friendly Options: Consider using eco-friendly cleaning products to minimize environmental impact and to avoid harsh chemicals that could damage surfaces or affect the next tenant’s health.

Plan Your Time:

  • Allocate Sufficient Time: Schedule enough time for thorough cleaning, especially if you have a large property or it’s particularly dirty. Rushing through the process can result in missed spots and additional charges.
  • Create a Cleaning Schedule: Break down the cleaning tasks room by room and create a schedule to ensure every area gets the attention it needs.

Inspect for Damages:

  • Identify Minor Repairs: Before you start cleaning, inspect the property for minor damages that you can fix yourself, such as filling nail holes, patching small wall dents, or replacing broken fixtures.
  • Prevent Costly Deductions: Addressing these minor issues yourself can prevent them from becoming costly deductions from your security deposit when the landlord hires professionals for repairs.

Move-Out Cleaning To-Do List

General Cleaning

Dust and Wipe Down Surfaces:

  • Dust All Surfaces: Begin by dusting all surfaces, including shelves, countertops, baseboards, and any decorative elements. Use a microfiber cloth or duster to capture dust effectively.
  • Wipe Down with Appropriate Cleaners: After dusting, wipe down all surfaces with appropriate cleaners. This includes using a mild cleaner for wood surfaces and a disinfectant for areas like kitchen counters and bathroom surfaces.

Clean Windows and Mirrors:

  • Glass Cleaner for Windows and Mirrors: Use a quality glass cleaner to clean all windows and mirrors. Spray the cleaner directly on the surface or on a cloth, and wipe thoroughly.
  • Ensure No Streaks: Make sure to buff windows and mirrors with a dry, lint-free cloth to remove any streaks and achieve a clear, polished finish.

Vacuum and Mop Floors:

  • Vacuum Carpets and Rugs: Thoroughly vacuum all carpets and rugs, paying special attention to high-traffic areas and under furniture.
  • Sweep and Mop Hard Floors: Sweep all hard floors to remove debris, then mop with a suitable floor cleaner. Focus on corners and under furniture where dirt tends to accumulate.


Clean Appliances:

  • Refrigerator: Empty and clean inside and outside of the refrigerator. Remove shelves and drawers to wash them separately. Defrost the freezer and ensure it is completely dry before closing.
  • Oven and Microwave: Clean the inside of the oven and microwave, removing any baked-on food. Wipe down the exterior surfaces as well.
  • Dishwasher: Run a cleaning cycle on the dishwasher, and wipe down the interior and exterior surfaces.

Wipe Down Cabinets and Drawers:

  • Clean Inside and Outside: Remove all items from cabinets and drawers. Clean the interior surfaces, ensuring no crumbs or spills are left behind. Wipe down cabinet doors and handles.

Scrub the Sink and Countertops:

  • Disinfect the Sink: Clean and disinfect the kitchen sink, making sure to remove any stains or buildup. Pay attention to the faucet and handles as well.
  • Countertops: Wipe down all countertops, ensuring they are free of debris, stains, and any sticky residues.


Clean the Toilet, Sink, and Tub/Shower:

  • Toilet: Scrub and disinfect the toilet, including the bowl, seat, and tank. Make sure to clean around the base and behind the toilet.
  • Sink and Fixtures: Clean and polish the bathroom sink, faucets, and any other fixtures. Remove any buildup around the edges.
  • Tub/Shower: Scrub the bathtub and/or shower thoroughly. Remove mold, mildew, and soap scum from tiles, grout, and glass doors.

Clean Mirrors and Medicine Cabinets:

  • Mirrors: Use glass cleaner to wipe down mirrors, ensuring there are no streaks or smudges.
  • Medicine Cabinets: Empty and clean the inside and outside of medicine cabinets. Wipe down shelves and surfaces, ensuring no residue is left behind.

Bedrooms and Living Areas

Dust and Clean Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans:

  • Dust Fixtures and Fans: Dust all light fixtures and ceiling fans, making sure to get into any crevices where dust can accumulate.
  • Replace Burnt-Out Bulbs: Replace any burnt-out bulbs to ensure all fixtures are functioning properly.

Clean Closets:

  • Empty Closets: Remove all items from closets. Clean shelves, rods, and any drawers within the closet.
  • Wipe Down Surfaces: Wipe down all surfaces to remove dust and debris.

Final Touches

Take Out the Trash:

  • Remove All Trash: Ensure all trash is removed from the property. Check all rooms, closets, and outdoor areas for any remaining garbage.
  • Dispose Properly: Dispose of trash properly, following local regulations for waste disposal and recycling.

Do a Final Walkthrough:

  • Ensure Nothing is Missed: Walk through each room to ensure nothing has been missed. Check all nooks and crannies, including behind doors and in cabinets.
  • Double-Check Personal Belongings: Make sure you haven’t left behind any personal belongings. Look in all drawers, closets, and storage areas.

Move-out cleaning can be a demanding and exhausting task, but with the right approach and a detailed checklist, you can leave your rental property in excellent condition. This not only helps secure your security deposit but also leaves a positive impression on your landlord. Remember, Good Cleaner Co is here to assist with professional move-out cleaning services in Orleans, and Ottawa, ensuring a hassle-free experience for you. Trust our expertise to make your move smoother and stress-free. Visit Good Cleaner Co to learn more about our services and book your move-out cleaning today.