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Move-Out Deep Cleaning Checklist: Top 11 Forgotten Cleaning Spots

Aug 3, 2022

Move-out cleaning is stressful, and what’s expected of you can vary on a case-by-case basis. This blog will outline the most common places that are overlooked during the move-out cleaning process and help ensure that you don’t miss a thing during your move-out cleaning. Guarantee that you secure your deposit back by running through our deep clean move-out checklist.

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How Do You Deep Clean a House When Moving Out?

When you’re moving out, deep cleaning takes on a whole new meaning.

Whether you’re deep cleaning an apartment or a house, the cleaning doesn’t stop when the property is empty. Even after all your personal belongings have been removed, the dust has been swept, and your decorations have been taken down, you will still have a long list of chores left to do.

A common standard will be to return the home in nearly pristine condition, leaving it almost exactly as you found it. Every home will have forgivable wear and tear, but landlords will have different expectations as to how they want the property to be left. Before you grab your cleaning supplies, make sure you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you.

Despite varying expectations of landlords, you can almost always anticipate having to make the space look brand new. Make sure to plan accordingly when moving out, giving yourself enough time to deep clean every surface and check for any damage you may have caused in your rental property.

Why Do I Need a Move-Out Deep Cleaning?

When you first moved into your rental, odds are you gave your landlord an extra month's worth of rent. That extra amount served as a security deposit, which is an extra layer of financial reassurance for landlords in the event of damage, missed rent payments, or other tenant liabilities.

Depending on the terms of your rental agreement, the security deposit is generally refundable as long as you meet the landlord's expectations throughout your stay. Aside from following rental agreements during your lease, you also have to leave the property in good condition or else your landlord can withhold some or all of your security deposit.

Of course, apartments are meant to be lived in so landlords expect a certain degree of wear and tear. However, if the property is left in a condition where the landlord has to pay for a substantial amount of cleaning, the costs will be taken from your deposit.

Rent isn’t cheap, and when you’re paying usually a whole month’s worth of rent in the form of a security deposit, you want to ensure you can get that money back. Complete a detailed and deep move-out cleaning to avoid the burden of extra costs.

Top 11 Forgotten Move-Out Deep Cleaning Spots​​

When you’re moving out, you’ve got a lot on your plate and it’s easy to let things slip your mind. We’ve created a list of the top 11 forgotten spots when it comes to move-out cleaning so that you don’t miss them, and your security deposit won’t have to pay for them.


  1. Light switch plates
  2. Sink and faucets
  3. Behind the toilet

Fixtures are the objects that are permanently attached to the house or apartment. Light switch plates, sinks, faucets, and the toilet are all fixtures that we use every day, meaning they quickly build up germs and grime.

cleaning faucets.jpg

Despite their everyday usage, these fixtures are often overlooked during the cleaning process:

  • Light switch plates aren’t usually cleaned regularly despite continuously building up bacteria through turning the lights on and off every day, multiple times a day.
  • During your regular cleaning routine, you probably scrub the inside of your toilet bowl, but the backside doesn’t receive the same attention.
  • We use sinks and faucets to clean our hands and our dishes but often neglect the bacteria and grime buildup that comes as a result of regular usage and disregard the idea that something used for cleaning can get dirty.


  1. The underside of kitchen chairs and table
  2. The underside of couches
  3. The inside of cabinets

“Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply when you’re completing a move-out cleaning. Though, this in-depth cleaning of furniture only applies to those living in a furnished space.

If the furniture belongs to you and is moving with you, cleaning the inside and underside of the furniture isn’t necessary but can prove beneficial in the long run of your move.

As for the inside of cabinets, the buildup of dirt and dust is often overshadowed by the assortment of items that goes inside of them. Once you’ve moved all your belongings out of the cabinets, be sure to give the inside a thorough clean.


  1. The top of the fridge
  2. Inside the oven
  3. Inside the washing machine

Similarly to the furniture, meticulous cleaning of appliances is only necessary if they came with your rental property. Move-out cleaning needs to leave your rental looking brand new, and deep cleaning appliances is one of the most important and overlooked steps in the process.

In addition to wiping down the exterior of appliances, make sure you’re cleaning off all the dust that has collected on the top of the fridge, getting rid of grease and burnt crumbs found inside the oven, and freeing the inside of the washing machine from soap residue and mineral buildup.

The Nitty-Gritty

  1. Walls and baseboards
  2. Window tracks

Deep cleaning walls and baseboards goes beyond your regular mopping or dusting. Make sure these areas are free of any stains or imperfections. In many rental properties, you will be required to fill any holes you may have put in the wall (from thumbtacks, nails, etc.).

cleaning baseboards.jpeg

Window tracks are also an area that is often overlooked, despite regularly collecting dust, pollen, and dead bugs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving-Out Deep Cleaning

What does a house deep cleaning consist of?

Deep cleaning a house consists of targeting the nitty-gritty chores that we normally ignore when doing a regular house cleaning. This includes:

  • Wiping down light fixtures
  • Cleaning behind appliances, the underside of your furniture, baseboards, and window and door frames
  • Sanitizing trash cans
  • Scrubbing down tiles and grout
  • Targeting other areas we consider “out of sight, out of mind”

Deep cleaning also includes addressing the items that we normally use for cleaning. For example, shower and faucet heads build up soap scum, washing machines and dishwashers collect debris and other gunk, and drains are often due for an unclogging.

Deep cleaning is all about attention to detail and targeting locations that are normally overlooked.

How much does a deep cleaning cost for a house?

If you’ve ever paid for regular cleaning, you can expect to pay a premium price for deep cleaning. Deep cleanings are meticulous, take more effort, and require more time, making the higher price justified.

However, there is no standard rate for a deep cleaning service. Attributes such as house size, type of furniture, specific needs, house condition, and other additional services will all contribute to the quote you will receive for your home’s deep cleaning.

Another important factor will be the cleaning company you choose to work with, as some companies charge a flat rate depending on the square footage of your home, whereas others will charge by the hour.

How much does it cost to deep clean an apartment?

Similar to the cost of deep cleaning a house, there is no industry standard as to how much an apartment deep cleaning will cost. The same factors of size, specific needs, and current condition will all apply to the cost.

However, apartment deep cleaning services often provide a standard rate based on room count.

What’s the difference between a move-out clean and a deep clean?

The main difference between a move-out clean and a deep clean is the goal in mind. For deep cleanings, the intentions are generally similar to a spring cleaning where you’re finally getting around to household tasks that have been disregarded daily.

Deep cleaning involves diving into the nooks and crannies of your living space and tackling the unseen build-up of dirt, bacteria, and grime. Deep cleaning can be refreshing, and rewarding, and is generally done for self-satisfaction.

On the other hand, move-out cleaning is carried out to satisfy a landlord. The goal is generally to get your security deposit refunded, and it requires extra steps beyond a deep cleaning. For move-out cleaning, your objective will mainly revolve around making the space look brand new rather than just clean.

​​Get a Head Start on Your Move-Out Deep Cleaning Process

Move-out cleaning is not a simple task, and the effort that it will take to complete a proper move-out cleaning should not be underestimated.

With this in mind, it’s important to participate in regular deep cleanings throughout your stay at your rental property as a preventative measure to ease the time and effort demanded from a final move-out clean.

The move-out deep cleaning checklist above can serve as an outline to prepare you for your move-out cleaning, ensuring that no area of the living space is left unnoticed.

Moving is stressful, tiring, and time-consuming on its own, so the move-out cleaning process is sometimes best left in the hands of a professional.

You can ease the pressure of your move-out by hiring a professional move-out cleaner through Moveout.com. Our experienced and reliable cleaners will take care of the meticulous cleaning and help you get your security deposit refunded.


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Article written by Megan Phung

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March 2023

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