How to Clean Your House Before Moving Out

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Moving home is one of the most exciting and yet stressful events in your life. Based on statistics, the average person will move to a new house a total of eight times during their lifetime. That being said, one question that most people often ask is, “Do I clean the house I’ll be leaving behind?”.

The quick answer is YES.

It’s true that cleaning the house you just sold before you leave is not a legal requirement. However, it’s always good manners to do so – carpets,stains upholstery and eco. Besides, you’d expect that the new place you’d be moving into is also clean and presentable — a perfect example of the ‘golden rule’.

If you’re renting the place and you decide to move somewhere else, then it’s a different story. End of tenancy cleaning is important if you want to get your full deposit back. So that you know, more than half of deposit disputes are due to properties not being cleaned sufficiently (as documented in the move-in inventory report) or not cleaned at all.

Cleaning tips before moving out

For sellers, having the house cleaned and in the best condition could help in getting a better result from a building survey. Surveyors are less likely to suspect problems with a clean property, but in an unkempt one they will expect to see issues.

Renters, on the other hand, need to keep everything in the property clean and orderly before they leave. That’s unless they’re happy with not getting their deposit back which is very unlikely.

If you’re in the process of moving into your new home, the following cleaning tips will help you figure out what and how it needs to be done.

NEVER do the cleaning on your moving day!

Plan the cleaning. There’s already so much going on as you transition into your new home. Cleaning the entire house is NOT one of the things that you do on your moving day to make it less stressful. Instead, it has to be done in a systematic and orderly fashion to make sure that you don’t have to re-clean things because they’ve become dirty again.

Ideally, you want to start with areas that you’re sure you won’t or will less likely be using a few days before you move. It will help to have a cleaning schedule for every area of the house. However, make sure that you follow this schedule, so you don’t end up running out of time.


This is the first thing that you need to do before moving out. Go through the house and decide which items are worth taking to your new home. It would be wise to visit your new home and have a plan or visualise how things are going to be arranged there when you move. You don’t want to take a big piece of furniture only to find out that it will not fit.

But before you decide to throw away stuff, consider selling, recycling, or donating them to charities. For instance, each household in the UK uses 331 glass bottles and jars a year on average. Without a thorough inspection of the house, these things can end up in landfills should you forget to recycle them. And that’s bad for the environment.

So if you don’t plan on taking those glass bottles or jars with you, make sure they are recycled in advance.

If you’re lucky enough to get the keys to your new home earlier, that’s better. This way, you’d be able to transfer some of your belongings, especially the larger ones to make cleaning easier for you. It might hit you slightly financial wise, but the convenience in return is worth the tradeoff.

Another possible benefit of decluttering is it will make small rooms look bigger which can add value to your home. This will only matter though if you’re selling the house and still in the process of looking for buyers.

Start with the high areas

Clean from top to bottom otherwise, you’d be cleaning the dirt and dust that will fall again. Wipe down fixtures and make sure you replace broken light bulbs if there are any. Dust off the ceilings including smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. And while you’re at it, check that the batteries are still working and replace them with new ones if they’re not.

Don’t forget to clean the tops of door frames, curtain runners and built-in shelves. Everything that you plan on leaving behind should be wiped and dusted down especially big furniture. That includes any extractor fans in the kitchen and the bathroom as well.

Windows, interior walls, and exteriors

A separate day needs to be allocated for cleaning these parts of the house. If you can’t tackle all three in a day, do them separately. This is exactly why you need to plan the cleaning.

Clean the windows inside out. These parts of the house are prone to fingerprints and water stains (the exteriors of the windows). Aside from that, dust and wipe down the windows sills including the blinds if you plan to leave them behind. It also wouldn’t hurt to run the curtains in the washing machine if you’re generous enough to let the next residents have them.

Interior walls, stair rails, and banisters are all similar to interior windows in the sense that they’re all fingerprint magnets. Other areas such as the porch, front door, and patio need to be swept and hosed down if needed to remove dirt and dust. Lastly, do the garage and don’t forget to remove your things before giving the area a good sweep and dusting down.

Living room

Be vigilant when looking for dust and cobwebs that are seemingly not present in the living room. Remove as much as you can and again, always start from top to bottom. Use a damp cloth for dust and vacuum extensively especially in hard-to-reach areas (behind cabinets and cupboards) and corners of the room.


As with the other areas of the house, cleaning the kitchen shouldn’t be so difficult a task if you plan on taking things such as appliances, oven, stove, etc with you. If you’re renting, then it’s a must that you leave the area including the appliances in there looking squeaky clean.

Start by emptying kitchen cupboards, cabinets, and shelves. Once done, give them a good wipe using a damp cloth. Cleaning the stovetop should be your next priority. The method that you’ll use to clean it will depend on what type it is.

You’ll most likely use the stove top for cooking until the day you move. Since this is the case, it’s better to cook simpler recipes where a simple wipe down will be enough to clean stains and residues. Freezers and fridges should be defrosted and cleaned. Washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves ovens, and toasters should be left in immaculate conditions.


Finally, clean the bathroom. This one’s something that you’ll use until the day that you move out of the house. A dirty bathroom is a potential health hazard since it can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

Give every area of the bathroom like the bath, tiles, toilet and sink a good scrub and don’t forget to disinfect these areas afterward. Declog plugs and drains if you notice that it’s taking longer than usual for them to drain. Go the extra mile by leaving fragrances in the bathroom such as air freshener and toilet blocks.


Moving home is not as smooth sailing as you think it is considering how much cleaning needs to be done. In fact, you still need to do a final sweep and probably a few wipe downs on some areas before you finally bid farewell to your old house.

It’s a lot of work but it goes a long way, and it says so much about you as a person.

Author Bio

Emma is a part-time property developer who loves sharing how others can make their homes amazing both inside and out on her blog Fixtures and Flowers. You can chat to Emma on Twitter.

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Nicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr is a blog meant for various domestic tips mainly but not limited to cleaning, washing and wiping dust, stains and dirt away from your home.