Before moving out of your current abode and into your new apartment, there’s a lot to do: signing the lease, planning, packing, and yes, cleaning. While you may be tempted to get the heck out of there as quickly as possible, failing to clean your apartment before moving out may cause you to lose a portion of your security deposit. If you can manage it, it’s best to clean your apartment after you’ve already moved into your new place, as furniture and boxes won’t be in the way. To make sure you don’t miss anything, follow this cleaning checklist:

Quick Checklist

  • Remove all nails from the walls and cover the holes with spackle. 

  • Dust all ledges, light fixtures, nooks and crannies.

  • Get rid of any scratches or marks on the walls by using a trisodium phosphate substitute and a magic eraser.

  • Vacuum all carpeting, and mop hardwood and tiled floors.

  • If necessary, hire professional cleaners to remove stains from carpeting.

  • Wipe down baseboards, walls, doors and doorknobs with a wet washcloth or paper towel.

  • Use a glass cleaner to remove smudges from your windows.


If you want to make the bathroom sparkle and shine, all-purpose cleaner is your new best friend. Use it, along with a sponge, to scrub the floors, sinks and toilet bowl. To get any mold or stains out of nooks and crannies, use a toothbrush. If the grout in the bathtub is stained, apply some bleach. Don’t forget to clean the mirrors, wipe down the counters, and clear out all the drawers (ladies should be sure to remove any lingering hair as well). Finish off the process by vacuuming and mopping the floors.


After removing everything from your kitchen cabinets and drawers, use a wet paper towel to wipe them out and clean the outside. Next, use your all-purpose cleaner to disinfect the countertops and clean the sink. Don’t neglect your oven! You can purchase a simple oven cleaner to make it sparkle. Then, move large appliances like your refrigerator (you’ll want to wipe that out as well) so you can sweep behind them. Finish the process by sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor.


Once you’ve removed all of the furniture from your bedroom, it should take no time at all to clean. Begin by dusting the ceiling and wiping down the walls and baseboards. If there is a radiator in your room, be sure to dust that too. Next, sweep the entire room before vacuuming and then mopping. If you painted your bedroom walls something other than a neutral color while living there, ask your landlord if you are required to paint them white before moving into your new apartment.

Living Room

If you’re lucky enough to have a living room in your apartment, you’ll want to make sure you give it a good scrub down too. Just follow the same process you used for your bedroom and you should have no trouble at all! If your furniture left dents in the carpet, here’s how to remove them.

The more clean your apartment is when you leave, the greater the likelihood of your entire security deposit being returned to you.