A Tenant's Cleaning Responsibilities


Most leases are standard, but read them carefully to avoid surprises when it's time to move out. During the walk-through -- before you move in -- make a list of all previous damage or stains and insist the landlord signs it. Making sure the property is returned to original condition is the responsibility of the renter.

Floors and Carpets

  • Your landlord will immediately notice the carpet condition and floors. The carpet should smell fresh and be clean. You may need only a spritz of carpet cleaner on a few spots and a thorough vacuuming. If you feel the carpet looks dull and dirty, rent a carpet shampooer -- available at most grocery stores. The floors -- whether wood, tile or linoleum should also sparkle and a good mopping will often remove most dirt and dust. Make sure to use a damp rag in the often-neglected corners.

Walls and Windows

  • Landlords often have an eagle eye for spots and damages, so carefully inspect the walls and doors for any problems. Wipe the walls with a mild soap and water being careful not to remove paint. Patch any cracks that may have occurred during your occupancy. Clean windows inside and out -- just before moving out -- in case of rain or dust; and use a damp rag on the window sills. Blinds and shades generally accumulate dust and grime, and will need a swish with a damp cloth.


  • Tubs and showers often breed mildew and accumulate soap scum. Getting rid of the scum and mildew might require several applications of bleach solution and soap scum removing cleaner. A toothbrush works well to clean around all faucets and glass cleaner does the job for polishing mirrors and faucets. Disinfect the inside of the toilet bowl with a toilet brush and cleaner, paying attention to rings that can be easily removed with special pumice stones. Don't neglect to clean the exterior of the bowl and floor behind the toilet.


  • Your landlord will expect to find the kitchen and appliances clean and in good working order. The refrigerator should smell fresh, be free from leftover food and the interior and exterior should be spotless. The stove and oven must be as clean as when you moved in. Whether the oven is self-cleaning or not, make sure the oven is free from food and stains. Clean all the burners and exterior of stove.with a degreaser. Check all shelves and drawers for remaining items and use a disinfectant cleaner after everything has been removed. Polish the cabinets to give the kitchen a fresh and finished appearance.

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