The last thing you want to do is clean. You just packed your entire life in boxes and loaded them unto a truck. And you still must drive the distance, unload and unpack.
Just the thought of going back in your old place and picking up the mess you left is daunting to say the least. However, you do want your security back don't you? If so, quickly replace the thought of a cleaning rag in your hand with a wad of cash, and you are almost guaranteed to get the burst of energy you need to clean.
This brief guide will give you some quick and efficient cleaning tips to help you tidy up your old place so you can move on with your new life. Just remember, the cleaner the apartment, the quicker your security will end up right back where it belongs--in your hands.
Cleaning Supplies and Getting Started
Ideally, you took pictures when you first moved in as to document any damage the former tenant made. With said photos, you will have a reference point of what the place looked like when you handed over your security. Your goal now is to get your digs back in the same shape so your money will be fairly returned.
After taking pictures, the next thing you will want to do is stock up on cleaning supplies. The basic materials you will want to have handy are a vacuum, dry and damp cleaning rags, sponges, paper towels, Windex, Pledge, Scrubbing Bubbles, Easy Off Oven Cleaner, Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Fantastik, Comet, Resolve Carpet Cleaner, Mr. Clean, toilet brush, mop, gloves, air freshener and garbage bags.
After supplies comes music. Make sure you have some type of sound system available whether it be a stereo or your iPod with a speaker. Playing tunes while you clean will make the task less tedious while seemingly making time go by faster. If at all possible, seek help from friends. What would take you at least three to four hours to do yourself, will take an hour with a couple of confidants. To inspire, tell them there is a free meal and drinks waiting for them in the end.
Clean Little Before Big
Obviously the easiest way to clean your apartment is to start in the room furthest from the front door and eventually end up at the entrance. Cleaning this way assures you will not track dirt back and forth. However, before you start tackling the rooms, take care of the tedious tasks first.
Go in each room and remove all nails and spackle over holes; clean blinds; Windex windows; Pledge ledges; dust ceiling fans and light fixtures; remove cobwebs; clean doors; wipe down walls; and wash down baseboard or duct work.
Cleaning the Bathroom
Though the smallest space in the apartment, the bathroom tends to become the grimiest, needing the most muscle to sparkle. First open the window to avoid becoming sick from the cleaning fumes. After, cover the sinks, shower walls and bathtub with Scrubbing Bubbles, letting the chemical sit for a few minutes in the tub and basin. While waiting, clean out the exhaust fan of any dust. Now it is time to resume your previous chore and take a sponge and scrub the sink, shower walls and bathtub, removing all residue until it is completely clean and shiny.
Take a moment to wipe down the vanity both inside and out. Make sure to go through each drawer and clean any toothpaste and hair that may be stuck to the surface. After, fill the toilet up with Lysol and let it sit inside the bowl for a few minutes. While you are waiting, clean the outside of the toilet, from the top of the tank to underneath the seat. Now you can grab the toilet brush and scrub inside the bowl, removing any unruly rings.
Lastly, before cleaning the floor on your way out of the bathroom, wipe all glass and irrors with Windex, leaving them streak free. With a soapy mop began washing the floor slowly backing out of the bathroom as you do so.
Cleaning the Kitchen
With your favorite music playing in the background, start on the kitchen, essentially the most difficult room to clean with large appliances taking time to scour. By following the below tips, you can quickly tackle each component.
- Refrigerator - Unplug the unit and clean as far underneath as possible, removing fallen food and dust off the floor. Empty all contents and remove drawers and wash them, letting them air dry while you wipe down the inside walls and shelves with Fantastik. Replace the drawers and plug the refrigerator back in, cleaning the outside with Windex to sparkle.
- Oven - When cleaning all the built up grease and charred food in your oven, remember the security deposit and the pair of shoes you have been eyeing to give you some incentive. As with the bathroom, open up the windows to release the fumes. Open the range and douse with Easy Off. While you let the cleaner sit for a few minutes, wipe down the top of the stove, making sure to remove the burners when cleaning. Now you can wash down the inside of the oven. You may have to clean the unit twice to assure it is dirt free. After you close the oven door, wipe the outside of the range with Windex to sparkle.
- Cabinets - A bit easier than appliances, cabinets simply need to be wiped down inside and out. The type of cleaner you will use will depend on the type of material the cabinet is made from. If wood, use Pledge; if glass use Windex; and if Formica, use Fantastik. If your cabinets are painted, simply use a wet cloth.
- Sink - Easy to clean, the sink should not take long. Simply pour Comet in the basin and scrub hard, rinsing with warm water. Make sure to wipe the handle, faucet, water hose and drain, even scrubbing the metal with an old toothbrush if you have one handy. After the sink and fixtures are rinsed off, dry with paper towels and spray with Windex for sparkle.
- Countertops - Wipe countertops down with a warm rag to remove all food and dirt. Spray a layer of Fantastik on the countertops and swab clean with paper towels to pick up any dirt you may have missed with the rag. For a final touch, Windex for sparkle.
- Floors - This is when you will need your broom and mop. Cleaning the floors, the final chore in the kitchen, will give you a sense of closure in the room you spent hours cooking in. As you mop, remember all the great meals and memories you made there with family and friends.
Cleaning the Bedrooms
Cleaning the bedrooms are a bit easier than the rest of the apartment. Since you have washed down the walls, baseboard and ventilation ducts already, all you have to do is vacuum or mop the floors.If your bedrooms are carpeted and there are spots from spills, use Resolve to spray on soiled areas. Read the directions carefully and follow all tips to assure dirt is lifted. If Resolve does not remove the stains, you may have to rent a carpet cleaner or hire a service. If your floors are wooden, mop the floors, making sure to wax them with Pledge when you are done.
Cleaning the Living Room and Dining Room
Like the bedrooms, these quarters are also fairly easy to clean by vacuuming or mopping and wiping windows with Windex. And of course, don't forget to wipe the blinds. If you happen to break one of the shades, they can be replaced at a low-cost in any home improvement store. As noted with the bedrooms, if carpets are stained in the living room or dining room, make every attempt to remove the soil.
Cleaning the Closets
The final chore is cleaning the inside of the closets. If the floor is carpeted vacuum it, or if it is wooden mop it. And don't forget to wipe down any shelves.
Now that you, and hopefully your friends, have tackled every room in the apartment and removed your cleaning gloves, it is time for the finishing touch. Believe it or not, combining an inexpensive bottle of air freshener with the scent of the cleaning products will give your old place a new smell.
Walk through the apartment and snap a couple of pictures to compare to the photos you took when you first moved, showing the landlord you are leaving the place exactly as you entered. As you close the door and lock up the apartment, you and your friends gladly decide where you want to celebrate the end of the cleaning spree!