Avoid These 5 Common Cleaning Mistakes When Moving Out

Avoid These 5 Common Cleaning Mistakes When Moving Out

For renters, moving out can be a stressful experience, and the last thing you want is to forfeit your security deposit due to avoidable cleaning oversights. Understanding these common mistakes is crucial to ensuring your rental is spotless and ready for the next tenant. Below, we discuss the five most common cleaning mistakes renters make when moving out and how to avoid them for a smooth transition.

1. Ignoring Hard-to-Reach Areas

Why It Matters

One of the most frequent cleaning mistakes renters make is neglecting hard-to-reach areas. These often-overlooked spots can accumulate dust and grime, making your place appear unclean even if the more visible areas are spotless.

Areas Often Overlooked

  • Behind and under appliances
  • Top of cabinets and shelves
  • Ceiling corners and fans
  • Baseboards and molding
  • Window sills and tracks

How to Correct It

Set aside dedicated time for these areas. Using appropriate cleaning tools like extendable dusters and vacuum attachments can make the job easier. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom, as these rooms are critical areas for inspections.

2. Skipping Carpet Cleaning

The Importance of Clean Carpets

Carpets can trap a lot of dirt, dust, and allergens over time. Many renters overlook professional cleaning, which can leave carpets looking dingy and stained, potentially costing part of your security deposit.

Effective Carpet Cleaning Strategies

  • Spot Cleaning: Treat stains as soon as they occur.
  • Deep Cleaning: Use a rented carpet cleaner or a professional service for a thorough clean before moving out.
  • Regular Vacuuming: Ensure carpets are vacuumed regularly to prevent buildup.

Why Professional Cleaning is Worth It

Hiring professionals can ensure a thorough job and peace of mind. Some rental agreements even specify that carpets must be professionally cleaned. A receipt from a professional service can be a valuable proof to show your landlord.

3. Overlooking Walls and Doors

Walls: More than Just Surface Cleaning

Walls can collect dirt, grease, and handprints, making them look old and worn. It’s important to clean them properly to avoid leaving behind a messy impression.

Cleaning Techniques for Walls and Doors

  • Spot Cleaning: Use a damp cloth and mild cleaner to remove marks and stains.
  • Degreasing: Areas like the kitchen may require special degreasing cleaners.
  • Patching Holes: Fill in any nail holes or small imperfections and touch up with matching paint.
  • Door Maintenance: Clean doors and their handles to remove fingerprints and smudges.

Why it’s Essential

Clean walls and doors contribute significantly to the overall appearance of cleanliness in your rental. Landlords will appreciate the effort and it can influence the return of your security deposit favorably.

4. Neglecting Appliances

Appliances Need Love Too

Many renters forget to thoroughly clean appliances before moving out. This includes both interior and exterior surfaces, leading to complaints from landlords and potential fines.

Areas to Focus On

  • Refrigerator: Empty and clean both the interior and exterior, including the coils and trays.
  • Oven and Stove: Remove grime, grease, and food particles. Don’t forget the hood and filter.
  • Microwave: Clean the inside and outside, ensuring no food residue or smells linger.
  • Dishwasher: Run an empty cycle with a dishwasher cleaner to remove build-up.

Benefits of Appliance Cleaning

Clean appliances function more efficiently and look much better to incoming tenants. This can go a long way in making sure you leave a good impression and get your full deposit back.

5. Failing to Clean Outdoor Areas

Don’t Forget the Outside

If your rental includes outdoor spaces such as a patio, balcony, or yard, remember that these areas need attention too. Ignoring them can result in complaints from your landlord and additional cleaning fees.

Outdoor Cleaning Steps

  • Sweep and Wash: Sweep debris and wash surfaces to remove dirt and stains.
  • Garden Maintenance: If you have a garden or lawn, make sure it’s properly maintained. Mow the lawn, trim bushes, and weed any gardens.
  • Furniture and Fixtures: Clean any outdoor furniture and light fixtures to ensure they are free from cobwebs and dirt.

Impact on Your Security Deposit

Clean and well-maintained outdoor areas contribute significantly to the overall appeal and readiness of your rental. This can have a positive impact on the return of your full security deposit.


Moving out requires meticulous attention to detail, especially when it comes to cleaning. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure your rental is in top condition and increase your chances of receiving your full security deposit. Take the time to clean hard-to-reach areas, invest in professional carpet cleaning, pay attention to walls and doors, thoroughly clean appliances, and don’t neglect outdoor spaces. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and stress-free move-out experience.

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Tina Servis CEO