Is it advisable to clean my apartment before moving out?
Yes, it is. As a tenant you are obligated to live the apartment sparkling clean when you move out because under the leasing contract you agreed to maintain the apartment in good condition and in case of a departure, you are to live it in the same condition as you found it.
In order to secure your security deposit from your landlord, you have to meet these conditions. Failure to clean the apartment will be taken as a breach of the leasing contract and a significant portion of your security deposit money will be used to offset the damages.
Moving out of a rental and then setting up house in another place is really tiring. Sometimes we may be tempted to just disappear because the deposit money is not worth the effort. This may be true if the damages far outweigh the deposit money- though, I do not encourage people to run away from their responsibilities.
After moving into your new rental, take a few days of rest to recoup your energy and then go back and tackle the bull by the horn.
So, how clean should your rental be when you move out?
According to ybhcleaningservices.com (who specializes in move out cleaning in Park Ridge, IL), the house should be reasonably clean or at least, it should be in the same condition it was when you moved in. This is exactly what your landlord expects it to be in order to attract new tenants. You should, therefore, scrub any space you can lay your hands on. This cleaning process can be divided into actual cleaning and minor repairs.
Normal wear and tear of the house should not be a matter of concern to you, because all properties depreciate in value to some degree, whether we live in them or not. For example, few cracks on the floor and walls will not lead to a penalty from the landlord, unless you had something to do with them.
The bathroom is probably the place that will get the most scrutiny. This is because a lot of dirt is discharged here and there is a high presence of bacteria. Left unattended to, the bathroom can be a real deal breaker. Using a sponge and soap or an all-purpose cleaner, scrub the floors and sinks. You should properly clean the toilet bowl with the right detergent to leave it sparkling white. The bathtub should also be thoroughly cleaned and its grout bleached to remove stains.
You should not ignore counters and drawers. Clear all papers, pins and other assortments that you left as you moved out, including hairs (especially if you are a woman). Wipe them clean with a wet cloth to remove accumulated dust and stains.
You should also clean the mirrors with a wet cloth and a proper detergent. Due to the damp nature of bathrooms, molds may accumulate in crevices and cracks on walls and floors. You can easily remove them using a toothbrush. The floor should be the last place to clean.
The kitchen is the next place you should be wary of after the bathroom. You should empty all kitchen cabinets and wipe them clean both outside and inside with a wet cloth. If your house has fully installed kitchen appliances, such as a refrigerator, an oven, and a microwave, you should thoroughly clean them till they sparkle. The sink should also be cleaned with a disinfectant. After you are through with the countertops, you can then proceed to the floor.
This is probably the easiest place to clean. After you have removed the furniture, there isn’t much you can do here aside from dusting ceilings, cleaning closets, wiping down walls and mopping the floor. However, if you repainted your walls with another color or redecorated it with wallpaper, it would be advisable to contact your landlord. If he/she is okay with the new design, then there is no need to change it. If however he/she is not comfortable with it, then you have no other choice but to repaint the wall to its original color.
Cleaning your living room is as easy as cleaning the bedroom. Just make sure the ceiling, walls and the floor are sparkling clean. The mirrors should also be wiped with a good detergent to remove the marks and stains on them. A carpet should be vacuumed and washed to remove stains. Tiled and hardwood floors should be mopped too. And above all, do not forget to wipe all doors and doorknobs in the house with a wet cloth.
Alternatively, you can always hire someone
If you do not have the will and the time to clean the place and you have a few coins to spare, you can always hire a cleaning company. Just to be on the safe side, you should give them a clear guideline of what your landlord expects from them.