Cleaning at the end of your tenancy can be a horrible experience. Not because of the cleaning itself, but because it can ultimately prove fruitless if your landlord decides the door handles simply aren’t as shiny as when you rented the place.
The kitchen is one of the most easily messed up places in your home. If you’re using it regularly and like to keep things clean, you probably noticed that even making a grilled cheese sandwich requires half an hour of cleaning.
According to FantasticCleaners.com.au, these are the main points you need to pay attention to pass the end of lease inspection and receive your bond back
- Oven – landlords pay a lot of attention to ovens and cookers. So don’t overlook this. If possible, remove the inner glass of the door and clean between the two. Scrub the inside of the oven, by paying additional attention to any crevices and hidden corners.
- Stove – Make sure you shine the stovetop, the exterior of your cooker, or any other handy gadget. No cooking, spill, or droplet stains should be visible anywhere. Pay extra attention to the area around any knobs or buttons, this is where dirt likes to hide.
- Exhaust hood – The extractor hood above the cooker (if you have one) should also be wiped thoroughly since all the cooking vapours leave a residue on the metal. Take out the removable filter and use hot water and the shower head to perform impromptu steam cleaning on it.
- Fridge – First turn the refrigerator off then take everything out of it, including boxes and shelves. Now you’re ready to properly clean it. Simple dishwashing liquid works wonders for the inside of the fridge. Use powder detergent for persistent stains.
- Pantry -This is also a no-brainer that’s often overlooked. Vacuum all the shelves to make sure no small debris remain. These often come from food that’s viable to crumble like bread or granola.
Cleaning the Living Areas
Depending on your lifestyle, the living room shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to be put in an orderly condition. Here are the most common places the inspection will pay attention to:
- Under and behind furniture – Don’t allow yourself to be lazy with this one. Move furniture if you have to, but make sure you vacuum and wipe everywhere.
- Carpets – These are essential and can be tricky without the proper equipment. However, you can always rent a carpet cleaning machine or a carpet cleaning company and save yourself a lot of time and trouble.
- Shelves – Wipe them all. Even those above eye level. Your landlord or the leasing agency will check them for sure. People often wipe the top part of the shelf and forget the bottom one, so pay extra attention to all the angles.
- Coffee table – Make sure the centrepiece of the living room shines. You can rub fresh walnuts on any marks and scratches to conceal them if it’s made of wood. Dab over it with a bit of transparent nail polish and nobody will ever know about it.
- Upholstery – Wash all the padded furniture. The perfect scenario is using a steam cleaner, but other low tech methods will do the job, even if everything happens slower.
This room is usually no hassle because it’s pretty much empty at this stage of the move-out process. So, you can speed through it. There are only two things you need to pay extra attention to:
- Under the bed – You might forget it because let’s face it – How often do you look under your bed? Unless of course you keep things there or are still afraid of the monsters under it. There’s no reason you shouldn’t pay as much attention to the floor beneath the bed as the rest of it. All you need to do is lift the mattress, if it’s still there, and vacuum and dust the space inside the bed frame.
- Wardrobe, dresser, shelves – Or whatever kind of storage furniture is left behind in your bedroom. Most bedrooms are completely emptied during the moving out process, but if something is left there, it’s recommended to make sure it’s clean. Wipe everything, remove fingerprints and polish any handles.
Bathroom & Toilet Cleaning
These are more or less all crucial. No one likes dirty sanitation facilities when they move into their new home. That goes double for the toilet. Bleach will be your best mate on this one.
- Shower/bathtub – Whichever of the two you have, make sure it’s immaculate. A single hair can turn a perfectly cleaned shower cabin into a gross one. Pay extra attention to glass surfaces and any metal fixtures, these usually gather a lot of soap scum and this can cause unpleasant marks once everything dries.
- Toilet bowl – Put on a pair of latex gloves and go to town on it if you want your bond deposit back. Make sure there are no stains anywhere.
- Tiles & grout – Grout can be made to shine again with a simple solution of two parts baking soda and one part water. Use a toothbrush to apply the paste and let it sit for a while before scrubbing thoroughly. Tiles are easier to clean usually, some mopping with a quality detergent should do the trick. If there are any stubborn stains, you can try the grout solution with some gentle scrubbing.
- Mirror – These can be tricky, but they don’t need to be. Get a computer screen cleaning kit. These work just fine on mirrors as well. Mist it with the detergent and wipe thoroughly. Check for streaks by looking at the mirror from a 45-degree angle. There should be none when you’re done.
- Sink – Use the same process as for the shower/bathtub. Ensure the sink looks like it’s never been used.
- Faucets – Shine all the faucets, the shower head, and whatever metallic parts there are. Cutting a lemon in half and rubbing down the metal with it makes wonders for cleaning hard water build-up.
These are things that can be seen in every room or are considered additional space during the tenancy cleaning. Some you rarely think about, others are best left for the very end or right before the inspection.
- Furniture polish – Get a bottle of it and use it whenever you can. It will make furniture look shiny and refreshed, leaving an overall positive impression.
- Wall stains – stains on the walls are pretty unpleasant, and they are present in every real estate agency’s end of tenancy inspection checklist. Most stains can be removed with a microfiber cloth and a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish washing liquid. Just rub the stain with a damp cloth until it disappears. Other useful alternatives are cleaning erasers or a specialised wall cleaner. If there are any scratches or dents on the wall, you might have to invest in additional repairs.
- Light fixtures – Take them apart and clean the glass parts as well as the frame. The faucet trick with the lemon works just as wonderful on metallic light fixture frames.
- Light switches – Light switches and especially the area on the wall around them often become grimy. Don’t forget to pay attention to these.
- Door handles – It’s hard to keep these clean on a regular basis, but you can win bonus points if you shine them. Your landlord will notice the effort.
- Windows – A clean clear window without streaks says a lot about the person that cleaned it. Now imagine a whole house worth of them. Use a squeegee and a general window cleaner, or a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Remember to wipe the squeegee dry after each vertical wipe.
- Fly screens – They are just as important as the windows, but we usually rarely clean them. The fly screens need to be removed, placed on the ground and hosed down to remove any loose dirt. Then you can use a bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge to gently wash them. Then rinse again with the hose, leave them to dry, and reattach.
- Blinds and curtains – You can clean the blinds without taking them down – just vacuum them and clean the leftover dirt with a wet towel. If you notice stains, spot clean them with warm soapy water. Some curtains can be machine washed, others are too heavy and hard to remove, so you can only vacuum them and spot clean any stains. Steam cleaning is also an option if the fabric allows it.
- Additional and outdoor spaces – some of the additional home areas you need to clean before moving to your new home are the garage, attic, and basement areas. They need to be free of clutter and stains, and everything needs to look sparkling and welcoming. Same applies to any balconies, decks, lawns, and patios. The outdoor area is the first thing potential new buyers see when they arrive, so they need to look well maintained. If any concrete or hard surfaces are stained, you might need to employ a pressure cleaner to remove them.
- Deodorise before the inspection – Last but not least, apply the finishing touch. Febreze everything! But don’t go too crazy with it. Nobody likes a try hard and they can even think you’re trying to conceal a smell, which will make the people holding your deposit extra suspicious.