Whether you’re preparing for a PCS move or selling your house while building your dream home, one important part of the process is cleaning your house before you move out. And since moving is one of the most stressful things an adult can do, we thought we’d make the process a little easier by giving you our ultimate Move-Out Cleaning Checklist.
If your moving day is fast approaching and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Just pick a task from phase one below and get going! If you need help, remember—we’re just a phone call away.
Phase I: Deep Cleaning
While it’s tempting to start with the easy tasks, we recommend tackling the more difficult projects first. Several of the items below can be done several weeks before your move, which will make your final days in the home much less stressful. You can wipe down your walls (if needed) a month in advance, and you can clean your oven a few weeks ahead of time, so long as you don’t use it (at least for messy foods) afterward. For sinks, tubs, and showers, you can scrub them a week or so prior, then do a final wipe-down right before moving day.
Here’s a checklist for phase one of your move-out cleaning:
- Wipe walls and baseboards (as necessary)
- Clean the oven
- Wipe out microwave*
- Dust blinds (depending on how dirty your blinds are, you might need to wipe them with a damp rag followed by a dry dusting cloth)
- Scrub toilet bowls
- Scrub showers, tubs, and bathroom grout
- Clean out and wipe down fridge
- Clean sinks (kitchen and bathroom)
- Clean windows (glass and latches)
*Make this task easier by microwaving a bowl of water for two to three minutes—the steam will loosen stuck-on foods and make it much easier to wipe clean!
Phase II: Surface Cleaning
Once the “down and dirty” cleaning is done and you’re closer to your final moving day, start “surface cleaning”—this involves many of the tasks you do on a regular basis, as well as some final areas you may not clean as often, but that shouldn’t require much effort (like the top of your fridge). You’ll want to clean higher places (like ceiling fans) first, since dust and dirt might fall on the counters and floors
Here’s a checklist for phase two:
- Dust (or wipe):
- Ceiling fan blades
- Light fixtures
- Tops of doors
- Top of the fridge
- Wall corners (for cobwebs)
- Built-in shelves (be sure to check closets as well as living spaces)
- Wipe or disinfect:
- Countertops (kitchen and bathroom—be sure to get the far edges and corners!)
- Inside of cabinets and drawers (kitchen and bathroom)
- Cabinet handles (kitchen and bathroom)
- Sink fixtures
- Toilet handles and seats
- High-traffic door handles
Phase III: Final Touches
It’s best to clean as much as possible in advance, but some tasks will have to wait until just before you leave. If you’re doing a PCS move, you might have a couple days after the movers pack up when you’re living in a mostly empty house, waiting to travel across the country—or maybe you bought a house and your closing date is just a few days before your buyers’. Either way, if you’re living in your home shortly before you hand over the keys, these final tasks will need to wait until then to be completed.
Here are the final steps to wrap up your move-out cleaning:
- Wipe showers, toilets, and sinks
- Wipe counters to remove crumbs and debris
- Remove trash
- Vacuum and/or sweep
*If you don’t want to wait until the last minute to mop, you can do this a few days in advance—just make sure there’s no visible dirt or footprints from pets or people carrying boxes.
At the end of the day, move-out cleaning is about showing respect for the next homeowners or your rental property owner. Your previous living space should look presentable and tidy, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. So don’t stress if you don’t dust every baseboard and shelf—just make sure you don’t leave behind a grease-covered oven or visibly dirty bathrooms.
If you’re short on time or need a few extra hands, let us help you! We’ll make sure your house is sparkling clean and ready for the new homeowners, so you can focus on packing up and settling into your new space.