End of tenancy cleaning is a job nobody looks forward to, whether you are the property owner or the tenant. There are a lot of things and task that need to be taken care of before you leave the property or before new tenants come in. You need to make the property clean and tidy for end of tenancy check to get the full deposit back. So, the good news is, if you have left the property in a good condition and have done the end of tenancy cleaning properly, then the reward you get for this tiring job is in the form of a full deposit return.
Now the question arises, how you would know if you have left the property in an acceptable condition for the landowner so that they give you the full deposit back? The thing to remember here is that it is the tenant’s responsibility to do the end of tenancy cleaning and leave the house in a generally good and clean condition, at least as good as it was when they first rented the property. There will be some wear and tear of the property itself or the fittings and furnishings, but that’s understandable as long as the overall condition of the property is good and it gives you a feel of a tidy, clean and well-kept house.
The biggest reason for reductions of the security deposit is leaving the house in a messy and unclean condition. The property must be left in a reasonably good and clean condition minus the genuine wear and tear that comes with time.
For the landowners, they must bear in mind that since last year in the UK, it is now illegal for them to charge the tenants for end of tenancy cleaning even if the tenants leave the house in an unruly condition. But the good news is the end of tenancy deposit comes in handy in these situations and this money can be used to pay for the end of tenancy cleaning services, as it was the tenants’ responsibility to do the cleaning in the first place.
When a property is rented out, it becomes the home for the tenants for the time they live in there. They make memories, spend time and do all sorts of day to day jobs in the house. Therefore, it is expected of them to keep the place they live in clean and safe from health and safety standards. Quite a good number of tenants when they vacate the house, leave it in a reasonably good condition. Ans this is what is expected from the tenants that they leave the property in at least the same condition they received the property in, minus the wear and tear associated with time. The difference between wear and tear and unsafe and unclean house however, should be clear.
This is the reason that most of the time tenants decide to do the end of tenancy cleaning themselves. Because if it is left up to the landlords, they might charge a higher amount than what they have actually paid for the end of tenancy cleaning service. This ultimately means there will be a lower end of tenancy deposit return for the tenants. However, most of the time the tenants either fail to do the end of tenancy cleaning job properly or they start on it last minute and run out of time or thirdly, they are clueless what end of tenancy cleaning actually accounts for and what is expected of them.
This guide will help tenants as well as the landlords on how to do a proper end of tenancy cleaning, what it includes and a checklist with which they can tally what they have accomplished and how each area or item in the house has to be done correctly to get the full deposit back and to leave a nice and clean house. But before we start, if you are a tenant you need to decide if you are doing the end of tenancy cleaning yourself or hiring a professional company to do the job for you.
The choice depends on your budget as well as a time constraint. Doing the end of tenancy cleaning yourself is the cheaper option but it is also time-consuming. However, if you hire professional cleaning services, they can do the job in a few hours and your house will be sparkly clean but that requires you to pay the services for making your life easier and saving your time and effort.
Multiple companies will be able to help you with your end of tenancy cleaning on economical packages, which you will need to find out on the internet or through word of mouth and go with the best option according to your requirements. It also depends on your rental agreement; some rental clauses have an explicit agreement that you will need to hire professional cleaning services for your end of tenancy cleaning. If this the case then the decision has been made for you and all you need to do is look for a reasonable company. Professional cleaning companies are more efficient and they can save you a lot of time and effort as they will be able to finish cleaning the whole house in a matter of few hours with all the details too, as they do this job every day! On the other hand, if it’s not in your rental agreement if you plan properly and have a bit of spare time on hand, it’s best to do the job yourself. You will need some basic cleaning equipment, a guideline of what needs to be done so that nothing is missed out and some time and willingness.
We have taken care of the end of tenancy cleaning checklist and guide for you so that you don’t miss out on anything, helping you to plan properly. If you follow the guideline step by step you should be able to have a nice and clean house before you check out and get your full deposit back. All you will need is some time and dedication and some cleaning equipment.
Cleaning Tools and Equipment
You don’t need any fancy equipment or a lot of stuff to do your thorough end of tenancy cleaning. All you will need is:
• A broom brush for sweeping
• Vacuum cleaner
• Carpet shampoo
• A sponge and scourer
• Clean cloth
• Cleaning sprays
You might also need an old toothbrush and a toilet brush. Some of the cleaning sprays that you might need are; disinfectant spray, wood polish spray, glass cleaner and an all-purpose cleaner.
We have divided the checklist room by room and each area that needs special care and attention, such as the kitchen appliances. So, let’s get started!
The kitchen is the heart of the home in every household. It is probably the highest traffic area in the house too. This is the reason it gets the dirtiest and requires more attention and care than any other part of the house. When it comes to the end of tenancy cleaning hygiene, the landlords tend to pay more attention to the kitchen than the rest of the house as the kitchen is likely to be more unhygienic and unkempt compared to the rest of the house.
If you lose your deposit, the chances are high that it is because of an unclean kitchen at the end of your tenancy. Although if you pay attention to little things you can achieve a hygienic and clean kitchen before you move out, and we have covered a detailed list for you here:
Start with all the cupboards and cabinets in the kitchen. Once you have emptied them and taken all your belongings out, clean the insides with a clean cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. Remove all grease and spills from the base of the shelves as well as the sides. When that’s done, move on to the outside and clean the outside of the cabinet doors and the side frames.
After cupboards and cabinets, you can move on to worktops or countertops. Spray some degreasing spray all over the surface and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Look out for stains and any stickiness on the surface and pay more attention to those areas. Do not use any harsh chemicals as this may discolour the worktops.
Sink and Taps
Next, it’s time to clean the sink and the surrounding area. Clean the sink with a little amount of bleach or you can even use a cream cleanser. Scrub gently with a sponge and scourer, it will give your sink a new shine and will remove all grease and stains. Don’t forget to clean the taps too. You can use a little bit of anti-limescale spray on the taps and wipe it off with a clean cloth.
The area where you usually place your dish drying rack if often neglected in your regular cleaning so remember to pay special attention to that part of the countertop too. The best way to clean it is by washing with washing up liquid and a sponge. Or you can use a spray and soft sponge to wipe off any limescale on that area. You might want to leave it for a little while then wipe it off with a clean cloth or sponge.
Splashback and Tiles
Remember to degrease and shine all tiles and splashback in the kitchen. Dirty tiles and splashback leave a bad impression and are easily noticeable.
Thoroughly clean all appliances such as fridge, freezer, cooker and oven, microwave oven, washing machine, kettle and toaster.
Your kitchen will have several different appliances. See below for how to tackle these!
Washing machine, in general, need care and a cleaning cycle once in a while to get rid of the dirt and hairballs on the insides of the machine. It also gathers a lot of dirt from dirty clothes. Therefore, the inside walls, filters and the rubber seal need to be cleaned thoroughly.
• You can start with the easier part, clean the drawers where you put in detergent and fabric softener. Clear off any detergent deposits or mould.
• Next, you can move on to the filter and clear off any debris, or hair and dirtballs.
• Move on to the rubber seals, and clean of mould and debris with a damp cloth. You can also use a cleaning spray with a damp cloth to help remove any mess.
• When you have taken care of all the dirty parts, you can now run an empty cycle. Add some vinegar while you do the cleaning cycle as it will get rid of the smell and will also clean any leftover dirt.
• Now you can move on to cleaning the outsides. Clean and wipe the door from inside and outside, the handle and dashboard. Don’t forget to pull the washing machine out if you can and clean the sides and back too.
Just like the washing machine is build to clean dirty clothes but itself needs to be cleaned once in a while, the same principle applies to the dishwasher too. It cleans and washes our dirty dishes for us but just like any other machine it needs cleaning and proper care for it to work efficiently. In the case of the dishwasher, however, the amounts of time it needs cleaning also depends on how often it is used.
If you use it daily then it will require cleaning more often, however, if you only use it when there is a large load of dishes then you might not need cleaning as often. A dishwasher, over time, gathers soap lather and food particles which will affect its working. This is how to get it clean:
• Start with taking all the removable parts such as racks and cutlery holder. Take these out and wash them with washing up liquid and water.
• Take the filter and the spray out and wipe them off with a clean cloth. At this point check if the filter is too old and if it needs to be replaced.
• Clean the insides and remove any food particles or soap scum
• You can now run a clean cycle. You can easily find a dishwasher cleaning solution in any superstore. Don’t forget to put the removable parts back in before you run the dishwasher as they can be cleaned one more time during the cycle.
• Clean the outside of the appliance too if possible!
Fridge and Freezer
Keep these points in mind when cleaning the fridge and freezer.
• Switch off fridge and freezer and defrost the freezer before you start.
• Empty all the food from both the fridge and freezer.
• Take all removable parts all such as the racks, egg tray and vegetable drawers. You can wash them separately with washing up liquid and water.
• If you have water and ice dispenser in your freezer, take all the old ice out.
• Clean the inside thoroughly with a cloth.
• Wipe and clean the outsides including door handles and sides.
• Clean the top and underneath the fridge and freezer too and remove any dirt and dust.
• Clean all stains from the inside and outside.
• Do not leave any food in the fridge and freezer.
• You can leave some slices of lemon for a nice and fresh smell in the fridge. It will also cut out any other food smell from the fridge and freezer.
• Check your tenancy agreement to see if you need to leave the fridge and freezer on or off before you check out.
Like a washing machine, tumble dryer also gathers a lot of debris, threads and fibres. Before you check out, look out for the following:
• Clean the inside and outside thoroughly.
• Clean the filter and see if it needs replacement.
• Clean the rubber seal.
• Clean the soap dispenser.
• Clean and wipe any soap and watermarks.
Oven and Cooker
Ovens and cookers go thorough a lot as you make lots of food in them daily but they often get neglected when it comes to cleaning. Especially the oven as it generally hides all the grime and food deposits inside the closed-door so no one can see it. This is the reason the landlords inspect these things more often at the end of tenancy inspection.
• For oven and cooker cleaning, remove all removable parts such as oven racks, hobs and cooker frame.
• You can use a paste of baking soda all over the inside of the oven and leave it for a few hours or overnight.
• The removable parts can be separately washed. If need be, use a cream cleaner along with washing up liquid and water.
• Clean the inside and outside of the cooker and oven, including the sides and the back.
• Clean the extractor fan and hob thoroughly using a degreasing spray or liquid.
• If possible, take the extractor fans filters out and wash them separately too. Or soak them in water for a while before washing them with a brush and soap and water. This is the part that gathers most of the grease so take extra care here!
• Wipe and dry all parts before putting them back in.
• Degrease the cooker frame and wash and dry it.
For the microwave:
• Take the tray out and wash separately.
• Clean and degrease the insides properly, all the sides, the inside top and the base.
• Clean the outside including the handle, the sides, the back and the top and do not leave any grease or smudges.
When we think of toaster, it doesn’t get as much care as it deserves as we often think that since it only toasts bread, dry food, it doesn’t need cleaning. However, this is the main reason why it should be cleaned more often since it accumulates bread crumbs which get burnt every time we use the toaster and are also a fire hazard.
• Before you start, switch off and unplug the toaster.
• Remove the bottom tray and dispose of all bread crumbs. Wash the trays.
• Turn the toaster upside down and shake it gently to take all the bread crumbs out.
• Wipe and clean the toaster from everywhere and do not leave any stains including the buttons, the push-down handle, front, back and sides.
• Dry all parts thoroughly before turning it back on.
For cleaning the kettle:
• Boil the kettle and put descaler in and leave it for a while.
• When all scale has loosened up and the base and sides are clean, wash and rinse the kettle with water.
• Wash the outside too and do not leave any stains.
• Clean the base of the kettle, the part which does the electric work.
• Do not leave any water in the kettle once you’ve finished cleaning.
Hoover or sweep the floor and do a mop with mop and bucket. You can also add a floor cleaner in the mop bucket for a nice and fresh smell and it will also leave a shine on the floor. Wring the mop cloth properly, as you only need a damp cloth, too wet cloth will leave water stains on the floor and it will look dirtier rather than cleaner.
Don’t forget to give attention to the tiniest details such as cleaning all switches, doors, handles, windows and window sills, arranging cutlery, utensils and pots and pans neatly, clean the radiator and take all food out of the fridge and other places. Empty all the bins and take all rubbish out, never leave any rubbish in the bins as when the food goes stale it will leave a bad odour. Clean the bins from inside and outside.
Bathrooms, like the kitchen, also need extra care and attention. However, the way you need to tackle cleaning your bathroom is different from any other area in the house. Mould, mildew, rust and limescale can all accumulate easily in the bathroom and therefore need to be cleaned thoroughly for your end of tenancy cleaning.
It’s probably best to start cleaning the bathroom with the toilet. You can pour a thick toilet cleaner on the inside rim of the toilet bowl and leave it for a while so that the chemicals can loosen up the stains. You can then move on to clean other parts of the bathroom.
Sink and Shower
Whilst the toilet is soaking away, you can crack on with other areas of the room. The best way to clean it is by using the cream cleaner such as CIF. Then use a scourer to rub off any mildew, stains or grime on the surfaces. It works well for either a shower tray or bathtub. These can be wiped off with a clean and dry sponge.
You can pour a little bit of nice fragrance on the sponge so it will leave the bathroom feeling nice and fresh. Also, clean the outside of the toilet while you are cleaning the sink and shower.
Fittings and Shower Screens
Next, you can jump to other fittings such as the taps, shower head, pipes and radiator. Look out for the rust on these surfaces and use a scourer to wipe it off. You can use a limescale spray to make them shiny and clean and to remove all water and soap stains. The showerhead is often neglected during regular cleaning and gathers mildew and limescale. It must not remain unattended for your end of tenancy cleaning; it can be cleaned easily with the above technique.
Also, clean the radiator with a dry towel or clean cloth. Clean the mirrors, window and shower screen with a glass cleaner and newspaper. The newspaper will make the glass and mirrors cleaner and will not leave any cleaning stains or tell-tale signs where the cloth might.
Cabinets and Shower Rack
Remove all personal belongings and make the shower rack and cabinets empty. Once empty, clean each shelf in detail and do not leave any stains or soap and water deposit on the surfaces. Clean the bathroom cabinet in detail too, if you have used it as a medicine cabinet, look out for stains or stickiness on the surfaces and tackle them. Wipe off with a dry and clean cloth.
Dust off the ceiling and look out for cobwebs on the ceiling, in the corners, behind the door and around the fittings.
Door and Window
Thoroughly clean the window including the sill and the sides. Wipe off the door for all dust and clean the hinges and doorknob.
Before you clean the floor, clean the toilet bowl and scrub it with the toilet brush. It would be a nice idea to leave a toilet freshener in. Now, move on to sweeping and mopping the floor. Don’t forget to clean the small areas such as the sides of the toilet and sink, behind the radiator etc.
Living room or sitting room is another high traffic area in your home and is the first one anyone will see as they come in. as you spend a lot of time in this area of your house, it tends to get messy and dirty quicker too. Good news is cleaning living room is not as hard or demanding as the kitchen and with these tips, you will surely get a plus on your end of tenancy cleaning points.
Dusting and Polishing
Start by dusting and polishing all surfaces. For example, dust off the coffee table, dining table and chairs, sideboard, television and television stand. For wooden surfaces you can use a wood polish spray that works just like any other spray, giving your wooden surface a nice and fresh look, it also enhances the colour and you don’t need to wait for it to dry.
Frames and Shelves
Next, you can start wiping off the paintings or frames and shelving in your living room if they are not your personal belongings. Take everything off the shelves and wipe them thoroughly including the base the sides and the outside frame too.
Fittings and Furnishing
Pay attention to all the small areas and don’t forget to clean them too. These can be curtain rails, switchboards, plugs, skirting and lights. Look out for cobwebs on the curtain rails too!
Clean all the furnishing and pay special attention to the dining chairs and sofa where you spend more time. Clean them off with a damp cloth with a nice smelling all-purpose cleaner, which can also be done on a leather sofa.
Door and Windows
Clean the doors and windows in detail, including the outer edges of the doors and windows which often gets ignored and gather a lot of dust. Use a disinfectant spray to clean the door handles and a glass cleaner for the windows to get them looking like new. Remember to clean the hinges and grooving too!
Remove cobwebs from behind the doors and windows and try not to leave any fingerprints or marks on the glass as they leave a bad impression. Even if you have nicely cleaned the rest of the window, it might look unclean.
Vacuum or Mop
Use a carpet cleaning shampoo and remove all stains beforehand. Scrub off anything that can be removed. Allow the shampoo to sit for a while before you clean it off and do not walk on the carpet, but let it dry completely. This is the only hard part of cleaning the living room and the most time taking too, so you might want to consider hiring professional cleaners just for carpet cleaning.
Once that’s done, you can hoover the carpet for any remaining dust or dirt. If you have tiles in the living room, sweep the floor properly and use a mop to leave a shiny clean floor. Use a disinfectant or nice smelling floor cleaner in the mop water. Wring the mop properly to make sure you don’t use too much water on your carpet.
Clean the walls off all stains and redo the patches where it needs a fresh coat of paint. This is often the easiest way to remove all finger marks, grease or colour pencils, crayons.
If you have a fireplace in the living room, clean the inside properly and remove all burned coals. Give it a good sweep with a pan and a brush. Next, clean and wipe the surrounding with a brush and wipe off any remains with a damp cloth. This is a special place for cobwebs especially if you have not used it for a while. Remove all cobwebs and dust and coal particles thoroughly.
Cleaning bedrooms in detail is another long job that requires a lot of patience and time. Here is how you can get started and tick each box off once it’s done:
Start with emptying the wardrobes. Take all your personal belongings out and give them a good clean inside and outside. Wipe and dust off all shelves and clothing rails and clean the glass or mirror with a glass cleaner if you have one in your mirror.
Clean all furnishings properly. Do not leave any stains on the bed or any other piece of furniture in your bedroom, if it’s not your own and you have to leave it before you check out. Clean the beds properly and make sure there is no odour from the bed as you leave.
Ceiling and Fittings
Clean the ceiling for any cobwebs. Clean the ceiling fan, lights and switches, and clean any dust off the radiator.
Doors, Windows and Skirting
Clean and dust off doors, windows and skirting. Use a glass cleaner to clean the windows and clean the window sill and side frames too. Clean and shine the door handles, there should not be any smudges on them. Don’t forget the hinges too.
That is another hard part of cleaning the bedrooms. The best method for carpet cleaning is the same as the ones we discussed above for living room cleaning.
This area of the house is your first impression and is one of the high traffic areas in the house. The upstairs or downstairs hallway both need to be attended for a proper end of tenancy cleaning, however, the good news is that this area is usually small and if you have maintained it regularly, shouldn’t take long to clean.
Stairs and Banisters
Start by cleaning the stairs from top to bottom. All you need is a clean cloth and a good cleaning spray to get started. Wipe off all stains on the staircase rail and bannister and remove all dust, especially the bottom part of the bannister which often gets ignored while doing a regular clean. Clean the stairs carpet with shampoo or if you are hiring professional services, they can take care of this hassle for you.
Clean the walls on the passageway both upstairs and downstairs. Take off all your personal belongings or picture frames. Remove all stains, including hand marks or if your children have left any drawings on them, and see if a patch on the wall needs re-painting.
Carpet or Tiles
Clean the passage carpets with the same technique and remove stains. If you are lucky and have tiles or hard flooring such as vinyl in the downstairs hallway, your job will be a lot easier and quicker. All you will need is a vacuum cleaner and a mop and bucket.
Clean the ceiling for any cobwebs and clean and wipe the curtain rails. Take care to clean any lighting fixtures to remove dust from these too.
Clean the front door, dust off the top edge and the inside and outside. Wipe the door handle and remove any stains on the door.
Garden and Driveway
When doing an end of tenancy cleaning, don’t forget the outside of the house too as this is also a part of the house, and if left unclean, will give the house an overall untidy and unkempt look. Especially the front of the house and the driveway as this is the first thing anyone will see when they visit the property. Apart from the driveway, the patio and other outside floors must be cleaned too.
• Clear off any mould, moss or oil stains from the flooring
• Clear leaves and sweep the floor on the driveway and patio
• Look for scratches, marks or rust on the fence, outside the door and if there’s any side entrance
• Fix the fence or any other thing that needs to be mended
• Cut the grass and trim the trees and hedges
• Clean weeds from the driveway and patio
• If there’s any outside lighting or decoration that needs fixing, attend to it.
Shed and Garage
While you are cleaning the outside, don’t forget the shed and the garage too.
• Take all your personal belongings out and clear off before you start cleaning.
• Clean all the racks and shelves and remove all dust and oil spills from them.
• Clean the walls and doors and remove stains.
• Remove all hazards.
• Remove all oil, paint and rust stains from everywhere.
• Sweep and clean the floor.
Airing Cupboards, Loft and Pantry
Remember the other parts of your house for your end of tenancy cleaning!
• Clear the loft and take all your personal belongings out.
• Take all food out of your pantry.
• Dust off the walls and clear any cobwebs in your pantry, loft and the airing cupboard. The one place where you will find the most cobwebs in your house is the loft.
• Clear the floor and sweep it properly.
• Wipe and dust all the shelves in the pantry.
• If you have used the airing cupboard for any other purpose such as drying clothes during winter, remove all tell-tale signs such as a lost sock!
With these tips and detailed guide, we hope that you will not miss out on any part of cleaning while doing your end of tenancy cleaning and if you have taken care of all the aspects, you should get your full deposit back. The landlord will understand that there might be wear and tear over time and if that’s a genuine one, that can be taken into account.