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How to Clean a House Before Moving Out

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
18th September 2018 (Last updated on Thursday 15th August 2019)

Cleaning your house will take some time, so make sure you don’t leave it to the last minute. The best time to clean your house is when the furniture you are moving with you has already been dismantled and packed, but if not, you can hire a removal company to help you. We suggest that you tackle each room one at a time and make sure you have all the necessary supplies.

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This article will cover the following points

Get your Cleaning Supplies Cleaning Your Kitchen Cleaning Your Living Room Cleaning Your Bedroom Cleaning Your Walls Cleaning Your Windows Cleaning your Furniture Cleaning your Bathroom Cleaning the Outside of Your House End of Tenancy Cleaning Explained Cleaning Your House When You Sell It What if the Seller Hasn't Cleaned the House? Hiring Professional Cleaners Save Money on Your House Move

Get your Cleaning Supplies

Before starting to clean your house, you are going to need an assortment of cleaning supplies to ensure your property is left sparkling.

Here are some of the supplies you will need include:

  • Disinfectants
  • Glass cleaners
  • Duster
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Plastic/nylon soft scrubbers
  • Brushes
  • Furniture polish
  • Mop
  • Hoover
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves

It is likely you already own many of these, but it’s worth buying the rest for when it comes to cleaning your new home. Keep in mind that removal companies won’t transport cleaning chemicals such as bleach, which you can read more about in our guide to non-allowable removal items.

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How to Clean Your Kitchen

First things first you’ll want to empty your kitchen of food before deep cleaning it for moving day. Removal companies generally won’t transport perishables, and certainly won’t move a defrosting fridge. If you follow our free moving house checklist, you’ll have run down your fridge and freezer during the last month in your home.

Empty your shelves and cupboards and try to eat as much as you can to lower food waste. Pack away kitchen appliances, cutlery and other items, clearly labelling the boxes so you have a clear area to clean. Get rid of crumbs and stains by cleaning cupboards with bleach and then wiping with a damp cloth.

Shift white goods and appliances to wash the walls and floors usually covered by them. You won't want to have to do this on moving day when your fridge has been moved! Some areas may not have seen the light of day for some time, so remember to use a decent amount of bleach to ensure stains from food scraps are thoroughly disinfected.

Clean all appliances thoroughly, including parts like the dishwasher's filter. When it comes to moving heavy kitchen appliances, it might take some time to prepare and move everything, so make sure you clean before moving day.

Don’t forget to clean the oven interior. The oven tends to contain layers of grease and grime if never cleaned. This job will take the most effort, with use of the harshest of cleaning supplies. It's a rewarding job however, as it will likely be checked first on any inspection. Remember to white down the hob, switches and racks, and don't forget the air extractor!

How to Clean Your Living Room

Living rooms tend to be well and truly lived in. You’ll be surprised by the amount of grime that builds up, especially in upholstery and carpet. As you pack your living room away, wipe everything down to remove any dust and cobwebs. Once you’ve fully decluttered and packed you’ll have cleared the space for a serious cleaning session.

Shift all bookcases and cupboards and thoroughly wipe them down with a wet cloth. It’s likely that a significant amount of dust will have accumulated behind your TV cabinet. Next is to clean your carpet, floor and upholstery with a steam cleaner. Wipe down the skirting boards, and dust in hard-to-reach places.

Many home movers forget that curtains and blinds can gather a lot of dust and grime, so remember to hoover and dust them too. Get a wet cloth and run it along each section of the blind form bottom to top.

Remember: collect dust with a damp cloth then vacuum extensively.

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How to Clean Your Bedroom

Bedrooms generally have a lot of furniture and many items to work around. Again, make a considered effort to start packing and decluttering your bedroom ahead of cleaning, to make everything easier to reach.

You can use our handy guide to making wardrobe boxes to safely store and move your clothes. Hoover thoroughly, dust everything down, paying close attention to areas behind and under the bed, wardrobe, beside table and desk. Your bed may be one of the last pieces of furniture you dismantle, so once you’ve cleaned the floors around it remember to shift it so you can easily clean underneath the bed. Check out our guide on how to move your bed in 4 steps.

Use a steam cleaner on carpets and curtains, mop hardwood floors, and thoroughly wipe down cupboards and bookcases. Wipe down the skirting floor, and remember to thoroughly clean your sheets!

Cleaning Your Walls

Firstly, level the playing field by removing any nails, hooks, and screws (don’t forget the rawl plugs!). Use a card to clean the area around the hole then use filler to fill in any holes or cracks, making sure it’s smoothed out. Make sure there aren’t any stains on the surfaces, and then wipe the walls, doors and door knobs with a wet cloth (unless they have non-water resistant wall paper, in which case simply dust them).

Dust the walls (especially hard to reach areas on the landing) and wipe down any stains. If you have any particularly stubborn stains and if your filler is slightly discoloured, give the dirt-free wall a paint with a layer of emulsion. Any painting you do now will save you a costly redecoration bill from your landlord.

Make sure there aren’t any stains on the surfaces, and then wipe the walls, doors and door knobs with a wet cloth (unless they have non-water resistant wall paper, in which case simply dust them).

If there is any mould, don't paint over it but use bleach and tell your landlord about the issue. Use gloves when using bleach.

Claire Watson, 28th January 2019
"Quick, efficient and friendly service. Everything was moved with care. Great value for money."

How to Clean Your Windows

Use alcohol and vinegar to wash the windows, mirrors, and glass doors from inside. Wipe down window sills and frames with cleaning solvent and a wet cloth. Can't reach outside? Call a professional window cleaner.

Replace broken panes, and make sure the windows are sparkling. It's one of the more noticeable things if left dirty. Remember to clean around the edge of the open window, as a lot of grime can build up here.

Cleaning your Furniture

When it comes to cleaning furniture, vacuum and wash with dry-wash product to get rid of smells and hair. Pets, smokers or small children? You'll likely want to get a steam cleaner to help wash upholstery and carpets.

Wooden surfaces and furniture will need to be wiped down and checked for scuffs and scratches. Remember to shift furniture so you can clean behind them.

A steam cleaner is the best option for revitalising carpets, and they are cheap to hire. They'll come with different attachments for windows, furnishings and walls, so are worth the money. At a minimum, you'll need to hoover!

Cleaning your Bathroom

The bathroom carries a huge number of germs, so make sure all surfaces and fixtures are scrubbed with disinfectant. Make sure your bathroom is well ventilated when you’re using bleach. Wet all the surfaces and tiles, and give every area a good scrub with plenty of bleach.

Focus on any mouldy sealant, and areas around your shower and bath. Leave the bleach on overnight and wash it all off the next morning. Clear the plugs and drains of debris, and submerge your detached shower head in white vinegar to clear limescale. Spend a decent amount of time deep cleaning your toilet, including the tiles below and behind it, and remember to use cistern blocks.

Cleaning the Outside of Your House

Clean your shed, declutter your garden, and sweep away any leaves. You’ll want to rent a pressure washer to properly clean your decking and patio. Pressure wash your decking, before scrubbing it with wood-friendly cleaning agent. Give it a final pressure wash and it’ll look good as new.

Fix that gate, and remember you may be seen to be responsible for any breakages not listed in the inventory. You can use a pressure washer to clean the outside of your home. Just wet it, apply specialist cleaning solution, then spray it section by section from top to bottom.

Check out our guide on moving your plants from house to house.

End of Tenancy Cleaning Explained

There are different rules when it comes to rental properties as you are legally obliged to clean. Leaving a rental home unclean or not what was stated in your tenancy agreement can lead to you losing your deposit. You'll also have to keep in mind that if something broke while you were a tenant, it needs to be repaired or replaced.

Generally though, your contract will state that you have the duty to leave the property in the same state that you took it over. This means a deep clean and taking many photos to help with any end of tenancy disputes. Reference your inventory to gauge the condition you found the home in.

Invite your estate agent over ahead of moving day to assess any troubled areas, as it’ll be cheaper to paint any stains or marks yourself than for it to be taken out of your deposit.

Cleaning Your House When You Sell It

If you are selling a property, there is usually an agreement to leave the property in a clean state or ‘broom swept’. We cover this in depth in our moving house etiquette guide, but the golden rule is that you should leave your home in a clean state that you’d be happy to move into.

Many of the basic things you can do to clean up a house should be done before you sell it. Clean up the garden, get the windows professionally cleaned, steam clean the carpets and floors, and freshly paint throughout the house in light colours. These cleaning tips are small and easy ways to add value to your home, as a clean, freshly painted house is attractive to prospective buyers.

What if the Seller Hasn't Cleaned the House?

If you move into your new house and find that the seller did not clean the house, unfortunately there’s not much you can do. You may not find the new house to be cleaned to your standard and so it’s a good idea to clean each room before your removal company load in your items.

If the house is in terrible condition, get in contact with your estate agents and let them know the condition the property is in. Supply photographs if possible, so they are aware of how unclean it is, so they are more likely to send professional cleaners.

Hiring Professional Cleaners

If you're short on time to clean the entire house, you can always hire professional cleaners to come in and ensure your property is left spotless. It will cost money, but it is better than the alternative of losing your deposit because of a messy house. Arrange the cleaners to come in during moving day when your home is cleared for a quick deep clean.

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With some planning and preparation, cleaning the house you are moving out of won’t be too much effort. With the right supplies and by following our guide, the house will be left spotless. When the time comes, use Compare My Move to get connected to a network of reputable removal companies and save up to 70% on your moving costs. Just quick and easy form and get moving.