Moving Out of an Apartment Cleaning Checklist

Person checking off checklist of clip board leaning on top of moving boxes

The key is to get your security and cleaning deposit back. Making sure you leave your home or apartment as you found it, you need to follow a cleaning checklist. That way you do not miss a spot and it will be easier to get your money back

Things to Do When Moving Out

Stack of packing boxes marked Bedroom, Kitchen, Bathroom, Books, Toys, Dishes, and Livingroom.

There is always a lot of chores and cleaning to get done when moving out. That may be one good reason why people hate to move so much. Here are lists of things you should do before you hand in your keys:

1. Kitchen:

2. Bathroom:

Lots of cleaning needs to be done to this room and the list includes:

  • Shower fixtures
  • Tub fixtures and bathtub and walls
  • The toilet
  • The sink & vanity
  • Mirrors, windows, ledges, and baseboards
  • Any shelving

Then make sure to dust before you clean and sweep and wash the floor.

3. Every Other Room

  • Dust and wash light fixtures and any ceiling fans
  • Dust and clean any blinds that came with the house or apartment
  • Wash windows, moldings, baseboards as well as light fixtures and outlet covers
  • Sweep and wash the floors
  • Clean out any cobwebs
  • Vacuum rugs and carpets
  • Clean the air vents and other grills

The Moving Out Cleaning Checklist

Stack f moving boxes surrounded by various cleaning supplies and cleaning tools


  • Countertops & backsplash
  • Sink & fixtures
  • Cabinets – inside & out
  • Appliances – inside & out
  • Clean behind & underneath appliances
  • Windows, ledges & baseboards
  • Sweep & mop the floor
  • Vacuum carpets


  • Clean shower and bathtub
  • Clean the toilet
  • Clean the sink and cabinet
  • Clean any shelving
  • Clean the mirrors
  • Dust everything
  • Clean windows, ledges & baseboards
  • Sweep and mop the floor

Bedrooms & Common Areas

  • Dust all light fixtures
  • Dust the ceiling fans (if any)
  • Clean & dust the blinds
  • Wash the windows, doors, molding and baseboards
  • Wash light switches and outlet covers
  • Clean the door frames
  • Make sure air vents are dusted and cleaned
  • Sweep & mop all floors

Step By Step Guide

Close up of a hand with a pen writing on a checklist

Make sure to check your lease to see what requirements are listed. Then work to meet those requirements so you can easily get your security and cleaning deposit back. Here are some things you can do to make sure the apartment or house is in the same condition as it was when you rented when you leave.

1. Do Small Repairs

You can’t do major repairs without permission from the owner, but you can fix what has been damaged during your tenure. You can do the fixes yourself or hire a good handyman to do them all for you.

How much you do and how much you will spend will be up to you. Some people say to not fix anything that was broken when you moved in nor upgrade the property just to get your security deposit back.

These repairs include but not limited to:

  • Patch drywall holes
  • Paint dingy rooms
  • Replace light bulbs and batteries
  • Replace burned burners or their shields
  • Remove stubborn stains from walls, bathrooms, and kitchen

2. Don’t Forget Anything

Do a double and triple check to make sure you did not leave anything of yours behind. Chances are, if you do, you won’t see it again. Or the landlord may hire a moving company to remove big items and that fee comes out of your security deposit.

3. Make Sure to Return The Keys

This is a big no-no if you forget to return the keys. The landlord may hire a locksmith to change the locks and that cost could come out of your security deposit. Call or e-mail your landlord and make an appointment to meet and return all keys you were given.

Tips to Help You Move Out Cleanly

Moving boxes stacked in a corner of a white room

These are things you have to watch out for when you move out. Accidents happen when you are not careful. When they do, you need to repair the damage to make sure you get your money back.

  1. Walls – If you use large brackets that make large holes, repair them with a little spackle and paint. Repair any scratches the same way.
  2. Be Careful – Treat the apartment or house like it was your own. Keep it neat and tidy so you have less work to do when you move out. Watch out for bad stains and clean spills up right away so that there is no hard to remove stains to worry about.
  3. Pay Rent Timely – Make sure you have paid your rent and that it was on time every time. Doing this keeps you on your landlord’s good side.
  4. Arrange A Move-Out Inspection – You can ask the landlord to come by and give the once over to the apartment, etc. before you finish moving out. If there is any disagreement make sure to have the move-in checklist handy to show the damage was there when you moved in.
  5. Moving In – Make sure you and the landlord create a move-in damage checklist. That way there will be no questions or disagreements when you move out. Have the landlord sign your copy of the list to remove any doubt that he saw it or not.
  6. Or take lots of photos and store them for later use. A picture is worth 1000 words. Do close-ups and far range photos to accurately document any damage that was there when you moved in.
  7. Move carefully – When moving in or out, make sure not to hit walls, molding, door frames, or scratch floors.
  8. Read Your Rental Agreement – Make sure you are allowed to do minor repairs. Some landlords do prohibit these activities so make sure you are okay.

Some Final Words

Empty white apartment with one brown wooden door

Moving out can be a big pain but sometimes you have no choice. The best thing to do is use the above checklist to make sure the house is left in better condition than when you found it.

The checklist will make the cleaning part of moving out easier and helps you remember to clean everything.

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