Best Tips to Deep Clean Your Apartment Before Moving Out

By Danielle Wirsansky on May 23, 2019

Moving into your college apartment is thrilling. New home, new life, newfound independence. On the other hand, moving out of your college apartment is anything but. It is a huge hassle. There is so much to pack, so much to move, so much uncertainty about the future (whether you are moving to a new complex or graduating and moving on to bigger things).

However, the biggest hassle of moving out is the cleaning process, by far. You can’t just haul all of your belongings out of the apartment and call it a day. You have obligations to uphold, and cleaning is one of them. Most likely you paid a deposit to your landlord in order to live in your apartment. Let this serve as your reminder because it can be easy to forget about (you paid it so long ago, after all!). But getting that deposit back is definitely something that you want to do (why would you not want your money?) How do you make sure that the deposit is returned to you?

By deep cleaning your apartment.

You may be wondering (or perhaps you did not even notice) why the previous statement did not just say that you would need to clean your apartment but deep clean your apartment instead. Why do you need to go the extra mile and actually deep clean your apartment?

To get your deposit back!

Your landlord’s job is to move someone back into your apartment as soon as they can. The longer that they have to wait to move someone else into your apartment is money that they are losing. So if you move out and your apartment is not clean, then the landlord not only has to pay someone else to come in and clean out the apartment, but they lose rent money because they can’t charge the future tenants until they move in. Every day that the apartment is empty is more income lost. Do you think that a landlord would be okay with losing money simply because you were a slob who could not pick up after yourself?

You know the answer is a loud, resounding “NO!”

Any money that they lose because of you and your lack of cleaning is going to come directly from your deposit. And they are not going to be nice about charging it. The deposit is supposed to be used to cover expenses incurred by the landlord from your neglect. You are technically supposed to get back a portion of your deposit that was not used by the landlord in this regard. But how much do you really think will be left? They are going to charge against your deposit up the wazoo to be absolutely sure that they are not losing any money. How likely is it that you will get any of your deposit back at that point?

Avoid this. Keep your deposit. Do the right thing. Deep clean your apartment and skip all that trouble and expense. However, a lot of college students often do not really know the difference between cleaning and deep cleaning or may have never had to do such a thing before. Deep cleaning can be daunting (though to be honest, most any kind of cleaning is usually pretty daunting for a lot of people). Where do you start? What is the best way to proceed? How can you be sure to do a good and thorough enough job to get your deposit back? Read on to learn the best tips to deep clean your apartment before moving out!

Infographic by Danielle Wirsansky

Make A List

The first thing that you need to do when organizing a deep clean of your apartment is to make a list of every single thing you need to do. Some people are really good at keeping lists inside their head, but having a list will really help you to be sure that you are not missing any tasks before starting the process as well as forgetting to do any tasks once you have begun cleaning.

Do you need to vacuum? Check. Do you need to sweep out your front walkway? Check. Do you need to scrub out that stain in the living room from when you spilled something and never cleaned it up? Check!

No matter how mundane or obvious the cleaning task might seem, put it on the list. That way, you can be 100% sure that it really did happen. Some people are not huge fans of lists but they can still keep you on track. At the very least you can get a sense of satisfaction as you check each task off of the list.

Purchase All Cleaning Supplies

This tip may seem like a no brainer, but it is certainly an issue that can hold you up if you have not stayed on top of it. There is nothing like going out and trying to begin your deep clean journey of your apartment only to discover that you do not have all the cleaning supplies you need in order to accomplish your tasks.

Maybe you only have a quarter of a bottle of Windex rather than a full bottle like you need. Maybe you thought you had Clorox wipes but you accidentally left them open at some point and now they are all dried up. Maybe you did not realize you had a stain on the floor to scrub and you do not actually have any kind of cleaner that would be suitable for that kind of task.

Once you are in the groove of your cleaning, it can be frustrating to have to stop. You might also be grimy and gross, covered in gunk since you have begun your deep clean, and you might not want to (or be able to)  leave the apartment like that. You also do not want to have to stop and go out and buy supplies fifty times because you did not fully realize all the cleaning supplies you needed.

Nip that all in the bud. Do not waste your own time. Make sure to have a good base of cleaning supplies or all the cleaning supplies you may think that you need and have them ready so you can dive right into the deep cleaning process without hesitation.

Room by Room

A great tip to help you with your deep cleaning is to divide up your cleaning room by room. This is a really helpful top because it can help you to make the cleaning seem a lot more manageable and a lot less overwhelming.

You have probably got quite a few rooms to clean, most likely more than you realized. You have your bedroom, your bathroom, your living room, and your kitchen (not to mention your closet if it is a walk in!). Instead of running around and jumping from cleaning task to cleaning task, you can finish one room at a time and then be at peace, knowing that it is completed. You do not have to worry about having missed something in the rush of jumping between rooms.

Refer back to the list you made about each cleaning task you need to accomplish. You can take this list a step further and organize the tasks by room so that you can see everything that needs to happen for a room to be cleaned and completed so you can move on to the next task and the next room. Once a room is completed and all tasks for it done, close the door (if that room has a door) so that it is symbolically finished and left behind. And this way, nothing can get in and mess the room up again.

Photo by from Pexels

Start At The Top

You may be wondering what exactly this tip is referring to. Start at the top of what? The list this article suggested you make to help you keep track of your cleaning tasks? No! What this tip means is that you should quite literally start at the top of every room. Clean the room, starting from the top to the bottom.

Why is this a useful tip?

Things that are higher up tend to drop dirt and dust on to whatever happens to be below them, getting them dirty too. If you clean the bottom of the room before the top of the room, it is very likely that you will mess up or make dirty the bottom of the room again.

For example, if you vacuum your carpet first and then decide to dust off your ceiling fan’s blades, all that dust is going to be knocked onto the floor, meaning you are just going to have to re-vacuum that carpet again. That is not an efficient way to go about an already arduous task! Do not make yourself have to do more work be cleaning and re-cleaning the same thing over and over again.

If you have already organized your list of cleaning tasks by room, you could even go the extra mile and organize them in the best order to approach them in: starting from top to bottom of the room.

Do All Varieties of Cleaning

The next tip on the list (not your list of things to clean) is to make sure that your list is actually very thorough and thought out. You need to make sure you are doing all sorts of varieties of cleaning from vacuuming, mopping, sweeping floors as best fits to wiping, scrubbing, and polishing different surfaces.

You want to make sure that you really and truly are getting everything in each room cleaned and that you are cleaning them in the best way possible. You also want to make sure that you are cleaning things the way that they are meant to be cleaned and not just the way you think that they need to be cleaned.

For example, maybe you want to wipe down the wooden table in your furnished apartment. However, you cannot just use any kind of cleaner on a wood table. You have to use a specific kind of cleaner that is wood friendly. And sometimes, you even need to find a cleaner that is specific to the kind of wood you need to clean. You want to make sure that you are not going to ruin something instead of effectively clean it. That certainly will not help you to get your deposit back!

And when all else fails….

Hire A Cleaning Crew

Sometimes you simply cannot do the cleaning yourself. Maybe you have to move out directly after exam week and you have too many exams to study for (after all, your grades are very important and often come first). Maybe you physically are not up to the challenge and do not have the strength that a deep cleaning would require of you. Maybe you are simply running out of time and there is no way that you can possibly get the cleaning done before you have to move out.

So when all else fails, hire a cleaning crew. A cleaning crew might be expensive, though often you can find more affordable options in college towns that specifically cater to students needing help deep cleaning their apartment before move out. But for some people, hiring the cleaning crew can be worth the cost simply because their time could be better spent and it would be worth paying someone else to do it and saving themselves the aggravation.

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

There are only a select few people that enjoy cleaning. For the rest of us, it is a taxing chore. Unfortunately, it is a required part of every move out. So do not worry, you are not alone in this cleaning struggle. But know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, you will finish the clean. Eventually, you will complete your move out. And at the end, you will not only get your deposit back but you will have a deep sense of accomplishment for completing such an unpleasant and demanding task.

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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