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How to Clean Before Moving?

When you’re moving to a new apartment, it’s customary to clean before you do. After all, you were welcomed to an empty and clean apartment when you moved in, and it’s only fair that you leave it like that before you leave. Also, your landlord won’t give you the deposit back before you do, not to mention that they won’t be able to go through with the inspection before you clean the apartment.

Do you want to download a checklist on what to clean before moving? You can print it from here (2 pages).

How do you clean before moving
How do you clean before moving

Many people, however, don’t know where to begin and what special areas they have to take care of before they tell their landlord that they can come and go through with the inspection, so we’ve formed this guide to help you with that. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at cleaning before you move to help you get rid of all that nasty dirt and leave a cleaner apartment behind you.

Let’s get started!

Pack First!

The first thing you should do before you start cleaning is to pack. This is absolutely crucial, as it will free the space you have to clean. You won’t be able to clean the closets and the fridge if you haven’t taken all of your stuff out, so make sure to pack before you start cleaning.

When packing, you should firstly pack all of the things you won’t need. You should keep a change of clothes on the side, so you can change once you’re done with all the cleaning (this is also the clothes you’ll be traveling in). Once you’re done with the cleaning, you’ll take a shower, so make sure to leave a fresh pair of underpants, pants, socks, and a shirt. All other clothing should be nicely packed.

Following that, you’ll want to pack all of the other stuff you won’t need until you settle in your new apartment: books, lamps, furniture, etc.

You shouldn’t take the food out of your fridge until you start cleaning it because it might go stale. Pack all the food that doesn’t need to be kept cool, but make sure to keep the food in the fridge right before you start cleaning the fridge.

Once you’ve packed all of your belongings, place them where they won’t cause you any trouble why you’re cleaning. For example: vacuum an empty corner of the living room and put all of your packed stuff there.


Many people tend to think of vacuuming as the first thing they need to deal with, but that’s actually the last thing they should be doing, as most dirt falls directly on the floor, and vacuuming the floor last will ensure that you get all of it. The first thing you should do is dusting. Dust the shelves where you kept your books, the tables, the kitchen counters.

You’ll get a great deal of dust with the regular dusting towel, but a great deal is also going to fall to the floor where you’ll vacuum it later. You should also use this opportunity to get all the corners of your ceiling clean from spider webs and other sorts of unclean stuff that gets lodged in there.

It’s smart to keep the windows open while you’re doing this so more dust can leave the area and you don’t get choked up.

Cleaning the Kitchen

  • Vacuum and wipe the floor.
  • Painted surfaces and tiles should be cleaned.
  • Empty all cabinets, shelves, and drawers. Clean them both outside and inside.
  • Defrost and clean the refrigerator and freezer, both inside, outside, and below. (Don´t forget the back)
  • Pull out the stove and clean the sides, wall, cabinet sides and floor.
  • If you have hobs, they should be cleaned both on the sides and edges.
  • Glass pour should be cleaned and grease-free.
  • Clean the oven, inside and all the plates and grilles.
  • Wipe the extractor fan both inside and outside, also clean the filter.
  • Clean the cutting board.
  • Clean the radiator (do not forget the back)
  • Clean the ventilator.
  • Clean the dishwasher.
  • Wash the windows inside, outside, and in between.
  • Wipe the window bench and window frames.

The kitchen is one of the most difficult areas to clean because of the stove and the oven. So, assuming that you’ve dusted everything, the next thing you want to do is wash all of the dishes. Even if you haven’t used them in a while, if the dishes came with the apartment – it’s only polite to wash them all. All the plates, bowls, cutlery, pans, kettles, etc.

Once you’ve washed all the dishes, set them aside and let them dry. If your apartment has a dishwasher, then it’s best to put all the things you can in the dishwasher and let the machine do the work for you. While this is happening, you can focus on the stove.

The stove can get greased up very easily, so it’s important to get it clean. There are many solutions that can get the job done, and you should first clean the stove with a simple paper cloth, after which you should wet a sponge and clean the stove with water. Get it dry with a towel, and use a solution for stoves on it. You should rub it in with a slightly wet sponge and let it settle down for a while (no more than ten minutes). It’s best to leave the solution settled down because this way it can really go to town on all the bacteria and microbes.

After it’s been a while, clean it off with a paper towel (you will probably need more paper towels) and throw them in the trash. You’ll see that your stove is sparkling clean now, but you should still rewash it with a wet sponge, and dry it again with a paper towel.

Once you’re done with the stove, you should move to the oven. To clean the oven, you’ll have to follow a very similar procedure as with the stove. You should take out the metal bars that are there to hold the pans and clean them. These can be really difficult to clean if you’ve never done it, as a lot of grease gets caught on them. You can try using the same solution you’ve used on your stove, but it’s possible that this won’t be enough if the grease has burnt into the bars.

To get this clean, you should purchase a solution for barbecue cleaning. Since barbecue grills get grease burnt into them basically every time, these solutions are much more applicable to the situation at hand. You want to soak the oven grills in this solution and rub the grease out with a strong, metal mesh. This will take a while, and it’s going to take a lot of effort and force to pull off, so you should expect to sweat it out.

However, after a while, you’ll notice that you’re actually getting all the grease off the grills and that you’re effectively cleaning them. Once you’ve got all the grease off, you should wash them with your dishwashing solution and a wet sponge, just how you’d wash any plate or piece of cutlery. Set the grills aside and let them dry while taking care of the oven in the meantime.

Many solutions are applicable for both ovens and stoves, and you should get this one to save some money. Make sure to turn the oven off before cleaning it. This piece of advice may sound dumb, but some people hurt themselves by trying to clean a hot oven! Make sure to unplug it.

You should spray the solution all over the inside of the oven and rub it in. It’s likely that the grease hasn’t burned itself into the inside walls of the oven as much as it has into the grills, so this will actually be easier than with the grills. Follow the same procedure as with the stove – soak the oven with to solution and rub it in, and wait for a while to let it soak in. After that, wipe it away with paper towels, rewash it with a wet sponge, and dry it with paper towels – the oven should be sparkling clean right now.

It’s likely that your dishwasher’s done with the dishes by now, so you should take them out. You should clean the dishwasher yourself, or you can simply buy a tablet you put in it and turn on a rinsing program. The latter is clearly a better option since it requires no work from you, but if you insist, you can do it manually. There are many solutions for dishwashers and the principle is basically the same as with ovens and stoves.

Something that you always want to get clean thoroughly when you’re cleaning your kitchen is the counter. Even though it may not seem so, there’s been a lot of cooking going on there and that counter has been soaking it all up. Use a regular cleaning solution to get it all cleaned and to ensure it doesn’t start to develop fungi for the next resident.

The last two things you’ll be cleaning in the kitchen are the fridge and the sink. The fridge is cleaned last just to make sure that no food is spoiled, while the sink is washed after you have no more washing to do.

Now, let’s move on from the kitchen to the bathroom.

Cleaning the Bathroom

  • Make sure the painted surfaces and tiles are clean.
  • Clean the floor drain and clear the drain in the sink.
  • Clean the radiator even on the back.
  • Clean shower
  • Clean the bathtub (Loosen the front of the tub and pull out the tub a little.)
  • Cleaning sinks
  • Clean toilet (Also underside and bend in toilet bowl)
  • Clean out bathroom cabinets.
  • Wash the windows inside, outside, and in between.
  • Wipe the window bench and window frames.
  • Vacuum and wipe the floor.
  • Clean valves

When you’re cleaning the bathroom, the last thing you want to clean is the sink.

We should definitely point out that you should unclog the drain before you start cleaning everything. When we’re discussing the bathroom, your toilet and your bathtub/shower drains can get clogged very easily. Hair, nail clippings, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, and cotton-tipped swabs are the most common things plumbers find in drains when they’re called to unclog them. However, you might not need to call a plumber, as you can unclog most drains on your own.

Plumbers recommend that you don’t use chemical drainers unless it’s absolutely necessary, as they’re going to damage your pipes. Instead, you should use a plunger or a snake (not a real snake, but the tool for cleaning the drain, you can find it in any hardware store). When using the plunger, it will create a vacuum which will pull out all the dirt and debris, while a snake will pull it out physically.

If you’ve taken good care of your sinks, tubs, and toilet(s), it’s likely that there won’t be anything to clean in the drain. However, give it a few takes with the plunger just to make sure. Sometimes, you won’t even have to take anything out per se, but the plunger will rather move it and wiggle it around enough for it to dislodge and move away. As plumbers say, the only things that should go down the toilet are number 1, 2, and toilet paper – everything else belongs in the garbage.

When we’re discussing the kitchen sink (the thing you’ll be cleaning lastly), the number 1 reason behind clogging is food. Food debris is often not thrown in the trash (the way it should be), but rather washed away with the food. However, this is much simpler to clean than trying to fish out a tampon from the toilet. Most food is biodegradable and if it clogs and doesn’t degrade on its own (from water and natural processes), you should try the plunger.

This is most likely going to work. The plunger will pull the debris out and it will pass through the pipes once again, this time going through completely. However, if it doesn’t (after multiple attempts), then it’s best to buy a chemical solution. You will pour this solution into the sink (following instructions on the label), and it will degrade the food very quickly, so you’ll be having a clean sink in no time. You should then plunge it a few times just in case.

Firstly, clean the toilet.

There are many toilet-cleaning solutions, and many of them are actually applicable for toilets, showers, bathtubs, bidets, and even sinks. Apply the solution on the toilet and on the shower/bathtub, while leaving the sink behind as you’ll be cleaning it later.

Make sure to turn off your washing machine and to unplug it. The washing machine is best to clean with baking soda and vinegar. And make sure to clean it on the outside and to move it when you’re vacuuming and mopping the floors later on.

So, after letting the toilet cleaning solution settle in, scrub the toilet with a sponge. Firstly, make sure you’re wearing gloves. Secondly, do not use the same sponge you use for washing the dishes or the kitchen! Toilet sponge is toilet only, and you should throw it away once you’re done. Scrub the toilet and flush it several times. It’s likely that you’ll be seeing a lot of foam and that you’ll get a lot of that on the toilet seat. Feel free to clean that with toilet paper.

After that, you should clean the shower. Some people will argue that this should be cleaned last since you’ll be showering once you’re done with all of that, but a single shower won’t cause any problems and won’t get the shower dirty. Follow the same procedure you did with the toilet, but know that you shouldn’t wash the glass with the same solution.

It’s very simple to clean the shower, and once you’re done, you’re going to want to clean the glass and the mirror in front of the sink. Get a solution for glass cleaning and handle those jobs with that.

Finally, after you’ve taken care of all that, it’s time to clean the sink. Cleaning the sink the same way you’ve cleaned the toilet and the shower, and check if there’s any hair in the drain (usually from shaving or just from hair falling off). Make sure to clean all of your medicine cabinets, as well.

After that, you’re done with the bathroom and it’s time to move on to the living room.

Storage Room

Cleaning your storage room, presuming you have one, is the simplest task of all. You should pack all of your belongings that you wish to take with you, and either throw other stuff in the trash or leave it there for the next resident. Obviously, if you have a toilet cleaning solution, you won’t be taking it with you as you’ll just purchase a new one wherever you move to. You should leave things like that for the next resident.

However, things like old newspapers that you didn’t throw away and didn’t know what to do with them definitely belong in the trash.

After taking care of that, all that’s left to do is to clean that room just like you clean all the other rooms. Know that whatever you leave behind is going to become a possession of the next resident, so you should really think hard about what you want to take with you.

Cleaning the Living Room

  • Vacuum and dry the floors.
  • Dust and dry skirting boards, doors, and window frames
  • Clean the blinds.
  • Clean the radiator (do not forget the back)
  • Wash the windows inside, outside, and in between.
  • Wipe the window bench and window frames.
  • Clean the ventilator.

The living room is likely the room you spend most of your time in, barring your bedroom. Because of this, many things can get the couch and other forms of furniture dirty. Most notably – coins. It’s not rare to find money lodged between the pillows of the couch, and before moving out, you should definitely clean this.

So, take out all the couch pillows and clean the platform. You can vacuum it while you’re at it.

What you should also do is clean the couch pillows, as well. There are many solutions out there that are great for cleaning furniture but can also clean the carpet (you’re going to need to clean the carpet later). Make sure to rub this solution in and clean the pillows with a wet sponge, after which you’ll let them dry. That’s pretty much all you can do for the couch, and we recommend doing the same with the sofa, as well.

You should definitely clean the carpet with a carpet cleaning solution, but make sure to vacuum it beforehand. It’s best to rub the solution in with a sponge and let it dry. Once it’s dried, you should vacuum it again. However, if your carpet is really dirty, you can hire a carpet cleaning service to take care of it. These services will basically put it through chemical dry cleaning, ensuring that it’s as good as new once it comes back to you.

Following that, you should move to the bedroom, the last room you’ll be taking care of before finishing the cleaning.

Cleaning the Bedroom

  • Vacuum and dry the floors.
  • Dust and dry skirting boards, doors, and window frames.
  • Clean the blinds.
  • Clean the radiator (do not forget the back).
  • Vacuum and wipe with a damp cloth in the closets.
  • Stickers must be removed.
  • Wash the windows inside, outside, and in between.
  • Wipe the window bench and window frames.
  • Clean the ventilator.

Assuming that you’ve dusted the bedroom, the only really important thing to do here is to clean the bed. That means that you have to take all the pillowcases and sheets and throw them in the washing machine. You should do this before you start cleaning anything, so they can be done once you’re done with everything.

There are many mattress cleaning solutions on the market, and you should get any you like and clean your mattress with it. The instructions are usually on the solution, so you should follow them.

There are also pillow cleaning solutions (sometimes the same solution as mattress cleaning) and you should use those to clean your pillows. 

Walk-in closet

  • Vacuum and wipe the floor.
  • Vacuum and wipe out shelves.
  • Clean valves

Balcony & storage room

  • Clean and clean the balcony.
  • The storage room should be emptied, sweeped and cleaned.
  • Take all your belongings with you.

Finishing the Cleaning

So, after you’ve done with all of that, it’s time to bring the cleaning to an end. The first thing you want to do is clean the fridge. The best solution for cleaning your fridge is to actually eat everything you can so you don’t have too many things you need to carry with you. You should consider buying a carry-on fridge that can fit all of the stuff left behind in your fridge.

When you take all of that out, you’re going to want to take all of the glass (or hard plastic) shelves out, as well. Clean all of them with a wet sponge and your dishwashing solution in the kitchen sink. It’s likely that nothing more than that will be necessary.

It’s also crucial not to turn your fridge off. Many people unplug their fridge once they leave their home for a while or if they move out because they think they’re saving on electricity. What they’re really doing is promoting the growth of fungi. There are millions upon millions of microorganisms living in your fridge – they got there from your food. This is normal. The cold in the fridge is keeping them from developing. However, once you unplug your fridge, you’re left completely defenseless and those bacteria and fungi will start to develop.

You’ll notice mold in a matter of days and an unbearable stench coming from the fridge.

Clean your fridge with a solution of warm water and dishwashing soap, nothing more than that is needed. Rub it in with a sponge and dry it off with a paper towel if you really see the need for drying it off.

After that, return all the shelves in the fridge and you’re done.

Cleaning the freezer is another thing. When you’re cleaning your freezer, you’ll want to take out all the food and put it in the carry-on fridge.

If you have a small freezer, the one that’s just there atop the fridge, you should melt all the ice before cleaning. You just put a bowl with boiling water in there or something else that’s hot. Make sure to turn off the freezer before doing this, as you’ll be breaking it otherwise. The ice will start to melt, and once it’s completely melted, you can clean it the same way you’ve cleaned your fridge.

Once you’re done, plug it back in and you’re ready to go.

After finishing with your fridge and your freezer, you should move on to vacuuming the whole apartment. Make sure to get everything – from corner to corner. Move your couch, your bed, and your fridge to get everything. Following that, you’ll want to mop the whole place (remove your carpet and rugs).

It’ll take some time for it to dry, so you should stay still until it does.

After that, you’re basically done. Now, all that’s left to do is to take a quick shower and call your landlord for them to inspect the property and return your deposit (presuming you haven’t damaged anything in the home).

After taking that shower, make sure to wash out the tub and take all of your shampoos and shower gels with you.

The last thing that’s left to do at this point is to take out the trash and wait for your landlord.

When you’re moving out of an apartment, make sure to leave it in the state you found it in. It’s very impolite to leave a mess behind you, and you also won’t be getting your deposit back for that. Also, make sure to turn off and unplug all appliances that won’t be used for a while, or at least until the next resident moves in – washing machine, oven, etc. You should never unplug your fridge and your freezer.

How to Clean Before Moving?
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