Relocating is a stressful event for almost anyone. There’s tons of stuff to do, which can be overwhelming.

That’s why it’s important to have a plan, to start early, and do a little bit every day. And by doing all the work diligently, in the end, you will also be able to get your security deposit back from the landlord, which can ease a lot of the anxiety during the process.

All areas of the house

First, it’s best to do some general cleaning and tidying up before you proceed to deep clean the property.

However, the best place to start before you proceed is to re-read your lease and see what’s expected of you. Some landlords will specifically state if they want professional end of tenancy cleaning or not. The lease will also ensure that you do not forget anything that might cost you your deposit.

Next, make sure you start a month before moving out to have enough time for everything. Create a checklist, and start cleaning from top to bottom. Do a little bit every day to avoid getting overwhelmed.

While you’re at the planning stage, don’t forget to schedule some time for any last-minute cleaning, as there are a few things that need to be done right before you move out. This will ensure that you get your deposit back.

Here’s what you’ll need to do at this stage:

  • Clean all windows;
  • Remove all dust from ceiling fixtures, baseboards, ledges and fans;
  • Wipe down all doors, doorframes and doorknobs;
  • Remove all nails from the walls and patch holes up;
  • Clean all cobwebs from the ceilings and corners.


A clean bathroom always makes a great impression. It’s also one of the rooms that landlords pay particular attention to, so make sure it’s sparkling clean to ensure you get your deposit back.

Here’s your bathroom cleaning checklist:

  • Clean the bathroom mirror;
  • Clean the bathtub and shower curtain;
  • Remove any soap scum;
  • Remove the dust from the exhaust fan;
  • Wash the walls and remove any traces of mould;
  • Clean and disinfect the toilet and the area around it;
  • Clean the sink and remove any mineral deposits from the faucet
  • Clean tile grout with toilet bowl cleaner containing bleach and a brush;
  • Make sure your bathroom cabinets are clean and empty;
  • Don’t forget to ventilate well.


The other room that makes the most impression on landlords is the kitchen. A sparkling clean area can make an excellent impression and set the tone for the rest of the inspection. That’s why doing a thorough job here can go a long way to ensure you get your deposit back in full.

Here’s a list of everything you need to do:

  • First, degrease and clean the kitchen walls;
  • Next, scrub the sink and remove any mineral deposits off the faucet. If the water is draining slowly, you might have to unclog the drain;
  • Clean the fridge from the inside and from the outside (don’t forget to clean the coils as well);
  • Ensure you defrost the freezer as well;
  • Empty out and clean all kitchen cupboards;
  • Deep clean the oven;
  • Clean the microwave and the dishwasher.


The bedroom should be an easy clean task. However, if there are cobwebs and dust, it will make it look like you haven’t done a thorough cleaning, so make sure you do those two tasks.

Here’s what you need to focus on:

  • Vacuum carpets;
  • Mop hardwood floors;
  • Wipe and polish mirrors;
  • Clean the windows, the curtains and the blinds.

Living and common areas

Thoroughly cleaning the living room will make your landlord give you a pass on the moving-out inspection. But besides living areas, common areas, including entryways, stairs, and hallways, must also be cleaned to ensure you get your deposit back.

Usually, you want to focus on high-traffic areas, especially if they weren’t cleaned regularly.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Properly vacuum everything;
  • Gather the dust everywhere;
  • Clean all mirrors;
  • Mop all hard surface floors;
  • Empty the closet and clean it from the inside as well;
  • Clean all doors, doorframes and doorknobs;
  • Dispose of any garbage.

Outdoor maintenance

Don’t neglect to clean the outdoors as well, as that can cost you your security deposit. Make a quick checklist of everything you need to do to make things look as neat as possible.

Here’s a quick checklist of what you need to do:

  • Mow the lawn;
  • Sweep the area around the entryway;
  • Remove all cobwebs around the front door;
  • If there’s a garden, remove all the weeds;
  • Empty the garage and the shed, and sweep the floors;
  • Inspect whether there are pest nests and notify your landlord if you do find something.

Deep clean the carpets and oven

Most landlords are very strict about how clean the carpets and the oven should be before moving out. So much so that they will often deduct from your deposit for even the slightest signs of dirt.

Don’t give them the satisfaction of doing that.

As it is time-consuming and labour-intense, probably the best way to go about carpet cleaning is to call professionals. If you don’t mind the extra effort and you have the time to spare, you can still make this a DIY job.

Here’s how to go about carpet cleaning yourself:

  • First, thoroughly vacuum the carpets, including the edges;
  • You may have to relocate the furnishing so you may vacuum underneath them;
  • Steam cleaning is another really effective way to remove dirt and spruce them up.

An unclean oven is also a frequent excuse landlords use to keep your deposit for themselves.

Again, the surest way to ensure they return your money is to hire professional oven cleaners who will make the appliance look brand new. And most importantly, you won’t have to do all that thorough cleaning yourself.

Here’s how to clean the oven yourself:

  • First, open the oven door and vacuum the biggest pieces out;
  • Take the racks and soak them in the bathroom for a bit. This will make cleaning easier;
  • Use a microfiber towel to clean the fobs and the exterior but be careful not to spray the cleaner onto them directly, for that might damage the internal electronic components;
  • Cleaning method #1: use the steam cleaning method to loosen all the burnt-up grease and grime and make cleaning easier;
  • Cleaning method #2: use the soda bicarbonate and white vinegar cleaning method to clean your oven overnight.

Repair any damages

Repair the easy issues yourself, and leave the harder jobs for professionals. It will be faster and cheaper that way. Take pictures and videos of everything you’ve done to have proof should any disputes arise.

Next, call your landlord and schedule a pre-move-out inspection. Usually, it’s best to do that step a month before relocating. During the walkthrough, ask your landlord if there’s anything they think still needs to be fixed.

This will give you enough time to react and finish the repairs within time.

Don’t forget to ask your landlord specifically for a return of your security deposit. Once you’ve done all the cleaning, take photos as proof of your hard work and efforts. Do so before the final walkthrough of the property with your landlord and ask him if he feels there’s something you missed so you can correct it.

Sometimes, if the landlord has no objections, it’s even possible to receive your money back even on the final walkthrough.


By now, you’ve done all the hard work and are ready to move into your new home. If you’ve done all the steps listed above, the place should be spotless, and you will most likely have your security deposit returned in full.