Guest Post: Want To Get Your Security Deposit Back? Be Sure To Deep Clean These Overlooked Areas
Guest Blogger: Kate Hart, Home & Office Relocations Manager at Fantastic Removals. Mother of two, passionate traveller, love to do sports and read digital marketing related books. Kate is sharing her expert advice about move-out cleanings.
If you are a resident and the time to move out has come, you are expected to take care of two very important things. To avoid move out hassles and get your security deposit back, you will have to give your landlord a proper notice and leave your rental unit in a good condition.
Once you notify your landlord, it is time to do a full, top-to-bottom cleaning job. If possible, come back and clean after you move out. This way, you’ll be able to sweep the dust behind hard to clean areas or apartment items.
Knowing how difficult move-out cleaning can be, we have prepared a guide that you can use during the cleaning process to ensure you haven’t missed a spot.
Start with an External Clean of Your Rented Property
You know how important it is to make a good first impression, and this is why you should start cleaning your place from the outside. Begin by giving your entrance door a good clean. If you are renting a house that has a lawn – mow it, if you have a porch – sweep it, and don’t forget to polish the windows. Try to see your property from your landlord’s perspective and walk up to your place like they will to see if you can spot any dirty areas that might cost you your deposit.
Kitchens are considered to be the most visited rooms in any given apartment or house. Most of the dirt is usually located there, usually consisting of leftover food that you cooked last night or of numerous crumbs from all the party animals that you fed there over the years. The kitchen is often the place where the whole family gathers for dinner as well, which further makes the already dirtiest place in the house even more so. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind when cleaning your kitchen.
Cabinets and Drawers
These should be cleared of crumbly bits and wiped down with an all-purpose cleaner, inside and out. Use a product like Goo Gone or WD-40 to remove any grease from the front of cabinets near the stove.
If you have one, open it up and do a full inspection. If you haven’t been attending to it recently, there may be a lot mold that needs to be taken care of. Many of us don’t think about cleaning something that is supposed to clean something else, but think about all of the yucky stuff that the inside of your dishwasher sees day in and day out. To clean your dishwasher, place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run a normal cycle.
Your fridge is one of the appliances in the house that never stops running, which attracts a lot of grease, dirt, and stains. To fully clean the fridge, you will need to unplug it first and then move it away from the wall. This will usually reveal big grease, dirt, or mold build-ups so you will want to scour the wall clean to avoid any future structural damage. While the fridge is unplugged, you may also want to open the freezer and let it defrost, clearing away any buildup of frost or ice.
Food that gets swept beneath the fridge can rot and cause some serious pest problems for the next renters. To avoid that, scrub the patch of floor that the cold appliance rests on. It is important to scrub the top of the fridge as well since dust accumulates there and often forms a sticky matte. While you’re at it, don’t forget to also clean the sides of the refrigerator.
After everything described above is taken care off, it is time to focus on the interior. Use a warm solution of ¼ c baking soda to a gallon of water to clean the shelves, walls, and crisping drawers. Be sure to rinse everything thoroughly and dry the interior so as not to leave any streaks.
When ready, push the fridge back against the wall and plug it in.
Nowadays, modern ovens have an option for self-cleaning, which makes the cleaning process quite simple. You just have to run the self-cleaning cycle. If your oven is old and doesn’t have this automated cleaning cycle, it will take a bit more time and a lot more elbow grease for you to clean the oven.
Probably more than just a few grease stains and burnt bits have accumulated in your oven after months or years of baking. You can book an oven cleaning service or apply an oven cleaner to these stains right away. However, since most oven cleaners are very abrasive and create potentially dangerous fumes, you will want to wear a mask and thick rubber gloves while using the spray. If you are cleaning the oven by yourself, make sure to allow for some air to circulate in the kitchen while you clean.
If you are not in the mood for cleaning with chemicals, go the organic way by mixing just enough water and baking soda to make a thick paste. Then, you have to remove the racks and spread the paste on any grease build-ups. Try not to drip any on the heating coil. To get the best results, leave the paste alone for 12 to 24 hours, then rinse it off with warm, soapy water.
While you wait for the baking soda to work, fill a tub with hot water. Place some old towels at the bottom of the tub so you don’t scratch it, then set your oven’s racks on top. Add half a cup of dishwashing soap, then let the oven racks soak for at least four hours.
Under the Stove
Let’s be honest and admit that, sometimes, people purposely forget to clean behind the stove. It is acceptable when you realise that this chore can be a big pain, but you will always feel better when the job is completely done. Here, it is really important to have someone to help you get the job done faster by pulling out the stove and putting it back in place.
If you found that person, all you have to do next is to sweep the mess and vacuum up what is left. Then, take a clean rag and wipe down the sides of the cabinets, the wall, and especially the back of the stove. Repeat the same procedure four or five times a year to keep the area under the stove clean and shiny.
Under the Furniture
You won’t even believe what can get trapped under the furniture. Everything, from dust or crumbs to mold and pests, can lay underneath while you enjoy another movie sitting on the living room couch. This is why it is recommended for you to vacuum underneath all pieces of furniture you own every once in a while.
A good idea is to move the furniture around once or twice a month and completely vacuum the areas underneath. If you find this schedule too frequent for your taste, then cleaning just the main room once every month will do the trick. If moving the furniture is not an option, use the hose on your vacuum cleaner to stretch it underneath and easily clean the edges.
TIP: If you live with pets, sprinkle some baking soda on your floors and carpets. Let it sit for an hour or two, then vacuum it up. The baking soda will absorb some of the unpleasant pet odor, making it less obvious when your landlord does the walk-through.
It’s easy to overlook skirtings simply because they’re so close to the floor and not very convenient for cleaning. Even if you vacuum, sweep, and mop, you might neglect these dusty fixtures for the same reason. Follow the four steps below for a thorough clean:
Step 1. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to remove the top dust coating.
Step 2. Use warm and soapy water or a vinegar solution and a clean, soft cloth to remove grease, grime, and other stains.
Step 3. To clean hard-to-reach areas, dip a cotton ball or cotton swab in your cleaning solution, then apply it to the stain.
Step 4. Wipe the skirtings with warm water one more time, if necessary.
How long it will take to clean your skirting boards depends on the size of your home. It can take a few hours or more, but it goes a long way towards improving an entire room’s look and cleanliness.
If your apartment or rental home doesn’t have a water softener, calcium deposits have probably accumulated on the tub or your shower’s sides. These hard water deposits are notoriously hard to remove. You can give it a try by following these methods to get rid of yours:
- Fill a spray bottle with one part warm water to one part vinegar. Spray this on the tub’s hard water deposits. Let it sit for a few hours and then scrub.
- If the stubborn stains are still there after you’ve used the vinegar method, move on to baking soda. Mix enough water with baking soda to make a thick paste, then spread it over your calcium deposits. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then scrub the stains and rinse the paste off with water.
It is believed that the base of the toilet is the most disgusting part of the whole thing. However, if you want to get your full deposit back, cleaning the toilet from top to bottom must be a priority.
Simply use an all-purpose cleaner, wipe the wet grime up with paper towels, then go over it again with a sponge or a rag, attending to all the nooks and crannies in the process.
Bathrooms can be the germiest rooms in a house, so don’t forget to sanitise and disinfect yours before you leave. Follow the short checklist below to impress your landlord and completely prepare your bathroom for the next tenant.
- Clean the sink
- Wipe cabinets and drawers
- Clean the toilet (inside, lid, top, etc.)
- Scrub the tub or shower
- Clean mirrors
- Clean light fixtures, outlets, handles
- Mop the floor
- Clean blinds, tracks, windowsills, etc.
- Clean skirtings and the bathroom door.
Wipe down ceiling fans, closet shelves, and the tops of door and window frames. 95% of the time renters overlook these areas and, when the landlord checks them on a move out inspection, their finger gathers a thick layer of dust – a fact, which won’t help you much with the deposit. You can use rags as they cover more ground, but a sponge will work fine, too. Keep in mind to check for cobwebs in ceiling corners and on walls and sweep any away.
For a fresh smelling and clean-like-brand-new bedroom, follow these cleaning tips:
- Clean out closets and wipe down shelves
- Sanitise handles and light switches
- Vacuum or mop the floors
- Dust all surfaces
- Clean windows and windowsills
- Clean light fixtures
- Wipe down skirting boards
- Wash doors, including closet doors
- Clean blinds and windows.
Do you clean the blinds as much as you promised yourself you would? If not, here is how to deal with those dusty things in no time.
What you’ll need:
- Old cleaning rag
- Cleaning solution
- Rubber bands
How to Clean Blinds:
Cut your old cleaning rag in half, then wrap each piece of the rag around both sides of the tongs. Next, use the rubber bands to hold the rags in place and voilà – you can now use the tongs to carefully go in between the blinds. If you have blinds with smaller insertion areas, you can use an old glove dipped in cleaning solution to carefully maneuver through each opening.
Light fixtures are not the favourite areas to be wiped, but they need to be cleaned, too – even if they are 10 feet off the ground. If they are positioned too high, a chair should help in most situations. However, if you are not famous for your height, pull out a ladder instead. Dust the light bulbs and immediately vacuum the floors below. If your vacuum has a longer hose, you can dust directly through the light fixture.
3 More Useful Tips
Tip 1. Replace all light bulbs and batteries. Add light bulbs to any burned out fixtures and check the batteries in the smoke detector.
Tip 2. Use putty and some paint to patch up any holes you made when hanging pictures or curtains.
Tip 3. Wrap a damp towel soaked in a cleaning solution around a knife, and run it through your air-conditioning vents. The result will surprise not only you but your landlord as well.