How to Clean a House Before Moving Out

Zenyx Griffiths
Written by Zenyx Griffiths
18th September 2018 (Last updated on Wednesday 2nd October 2019)

Cleaning your house can be time consuming, so make sure you don’t leave it to the last minute. Moving houses is already a stressful and chaotic time, so it’s important to do as much preparation as possible to make the process easier. 

The best time to clean your house is when the furniture you’re moving has already been dismantled and packed. However, as some companies offer it as an additional service, you can also hire a removal company to help you. 

Here at Compare My Move, we suggest you tackle each room individually and with all the necessary supplies available for when you need them. To help you prepare for the tedious task of cleaning a house before moving out, we’ve created this guide to provide you with all the helpful tips and tricks you need to make the process easier.

This article will cover the following points

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

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Before starting, you’re going to need an assortment of cleaning supplies to ensure your property is left sparkling. It may seem obvious, but a thorough clean needs the appropriate supplies to reach and scrub all the necessary places. Whether you’re selling the property or impressing your landlord, it’s important to complete the well-needed deep clean with the right equipment. 

Here are some of the supplies you’ll need to 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’s likely you already own the majority 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 like bleach so you need to know how to transport them. You can read more about this in our guide to non-allowable removal items.

How to Clean Your Kitchen

First things first, you’ll want to empty your kitchen of food before 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 a good basis for how to start. Whether you give the food to friends or family or eat them yourself, you should empty your shelves and cupboards as much as possible to lower food waste. 

Pack away any kitchen appliances, cutlery and dishes and clearly label the boxes, giving you a clear area to clean. Get rid of crumbs and stains by cleaning cupboards with bleach and then wiping them with a damp cloth.

Move white goods and appliances to wash the walls and floors around them. 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 to reduce delays and make the process easier.

Don’t forget to clean the oven interior. The oven tends to contain layers of grease and grime if it’s not regularly cleaned. This job will take the most effort, with the use of the harshest of cleaning supplies. It's also a rewarding job ,however, as it will likely be checked first on any inspection. Remember to wipe down the hob, switches and racks and don't forget the air extractor too.

How to Clean Your Living Room

Living rooms tend to be some of the most used areas. You’ll be surprised by the amount of grime that builds up over time, 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 enough 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 these and also 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. Every little bit helps and can make a world of difference. 

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 from bottom to top. Remember: collect dust with a damp cloth then vacuum extensively.

Cleaning Your Bedroom

Bedrooms generally have a lot of furniture and other 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 out of the way. 

Hoover thoroughly, dust everything down and pay close attention to areas behind and under the bed, wardrobe, bedside 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 too. Check out our guide on how to move your bed in 4 steps for when your ready to begin dismantling.

Use a steam cleaner on carpets and curtains, mop any hardwood floors and thoroughly wipe down cupboards and bookcases. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean your sheets before packing them with your other items.

Cleaning Your Walls

Firstly, level the playing field by removing any nails, hooks and screws. Clean around any remaining holes, then use filler to fill them and any cracks so that it’s smooth. 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 wallpaper, in which case, simply dust them).

Dust the entirety of the walls 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 layer of emulsion. If you’re renting, any painting you do now will save you from a costly redecoration bill from your landlord.

If there’s any mould, don't paint over or hide it, use bleach and immediately tell your landlord about the issue. If you’re selling your property, then the mould or damp should have already been discovered during the buyer’s property survey. However, it may still be worth mentioning it. 

Don’t forget to use gloves when working with bleach!

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? There’s always the option of calling a professional window cleaner to help.

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.

Cleaning Your Furniture

When it comes to cleaning furniture, vacuum and wash everything with a dry-wash product to get rid of any possible smells and hair. If you have any pets, are a smoker or have small children, you'll likely want to get a steam cleaner to help wash any upholstery and carpets for any stubborn stains and smells.

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 can be quite cheap to hire. They'll come with different attachments for windows, furnishings and walls, so could be worth the money. At a minimum, you'll always need to hoover.

Cleaning Tips for Your Bathroom

Bathrooms often carry a large number of germs, so make sure all surfaces and fixtures are thoroughly scrubbed with disinfectant. Remember to make sure your bathroom is well ventilated when you’re using 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 for any stubborn grime. Clear the plugs and drains of debris and submerge your detached shower head in white vinegar to remove limescale. Spend a decent amount of time cleaning your toilet, including the tiles below and behind it, and remember to use cistern blocks.

Cleaning the Outside of Your Property

Working on the surrounding areas may seem like a big task, but it can be rather simple. Clean your shed, declutter your garden and sweep away any leaves. You may want to rent a pressure washer to clean your decking and patio. You can then pressure wash your decking, before scrubbing it with a wood-friendly cleaning agent. 

If you have any plants you would like to move with you (whether household or external), you can check out our guide on moving your plants from house to house.

Fix any stiff or squeaking gates and remember that you may be held responsible for any breakages not listed in the inventory. Honesty is always the best policy, so if you find something you can’t fix, make notes.

End of Tenancy Cleaning Explained

There are different rules when it comes to rental properties as you’re legally obliged to clean them. Leaving a rental home unclean or in a bad state can lead to you losing your deposit. It’s also important to keep in mind that if something broke whilst you were a tenant, it needs to be repaired or replaced before you leave.

Generally, though, your contract will state that you have a 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 most likely be cheaper to sort out any stains or marks yourself than for it to be taken out of your deposit.

Cleaning Your House When You Sell It

If you're selling a property, there’s usually an agreement to leave the property in a fairly clean state. We cover this in-depth in our moving house etiquette guide, but the golden rule is that you should leave your home in a state that you’d be happy with.The majority of the cleaning should be finished before you sell it to encourage viewings. 

Clean up the garden, get the windows professionally cleaned, steam clean the carpets and floors and add fresh paint throughout the house. These cleaning tips are small and easy ways to add value to your home. A clean and freshly painted house is always more 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 it beforehand, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do. There’s a chance that you may not find the new house to be as clean as you’d like it to be, so it’s a good idea to take some products with you to freshen up each room before your removal company unloads your items.

If the house is in terrible condition, you can contact your estate agent and let them know the condition the property is in. Supply photographs as evidence if possible, so that they’re aware of how unclean it is and are then more inclined to send in professional cleaners.

Hiring Professional Cleaners

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

Saving Money on Your House Move

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