Cleaning Guides

5 Cleaning Mistakes Tenants Make When Moving Out

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Moving out of a rental property can be stressful, with numerous tasks to accomplish before handing back the keys. One crucial aspect is leaving the property in a clean and well-maintained condition, as it was when you first moved in. This maintains a positive relationship with the landlord, increases the chances of a good reference for future rentals and helps you protect your security deposit. As important as end of lease cleaning is, many tenants postpone the task until last and often do a terrible job at it.

If you:

  • Are a tenant about to move out;
  • Want to carry out the end-of-lease cleaning yourself.

Then read along. In this blog post, you learn the 5 common cleaning mistakes every tenant makes and how best to avoid them.

Not thoroughly cleaning appliances

When tenants are moving out, one cleaning mistake they often make is not to clean their kitchen appliances thoroughly. The consequences are never late to follow, either.

Kitchen appliances are prone to food spills and splatters, which can leave behind stubborn residue. Failing to clean these residues can lead to the buildup of bacteria and unpleasant odours. Over time, food debris and spills in appliances can contribute to unpleasant smells. A dirty oven, refrigerator, or microwave can emit odours that linger in the air and even affect the taste of stored food. Food residue, grease, and grime can accumulate inside appliances and interfere with their performance.

To ensure a thorough cleaning of kitchen appliances when moving out, follow these tips.

  • Oven – Use an oven cleaner to remove food residue and baked-on grease from the interior. Remember to let the product do its job for several minutes before wiping. Wipe down the oven door, knobs, and exterior surfaces. Remember to clean the oven racks as well.
  • Refrigerator – Empty and defrost the refrigerator before cleaning the interior with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Wipe down shelves, drawers, and door seals. Also, clean the exterior surfaces, including handles and the top of the fridge.
  • Microwave – Remove any food spills and stains from the microwave by heating a bowl of water with lemon slices. The steam will help loosen grime, making it easier to wipe away. Clean the interior, turntable, and exterior of the microwave.

By keeping the appliances clean, you prevent foul odours, clogs, malfunctions, and the need for costly repairs or replacements. Deep cleaning kitchen appliances regularly not only improves their functionality but also extends their lifespan.

Not cleaning the bathroom in detail

One cleaning mistake most tenants make when moving out is failing to clean the bathroom thoroughly. It’s crucial to give special attention to the washroom as it is prone to buildup grime, soap scum, and stains. Many aspects of it can be missed and end up costing you part of the security deposit. Here are some pointers on how to clean it properly:

  1. Sanitise bathroom fixtures. Start with this. To clean surfaces like the toilet seat, sink and counters, use a disinfectant cleaner or a solution of water and bleach. Pay attention to commonly touched areas, like faucet handles and toilet flush levers.
  2. Remove soap scum and stains. Soap scum can accumulate on shower walls, bathtub surfaces, and glass doors. To remove soap scum, use a bathroom cleaner specifically designed to break down and dissolve the residue. Gently scrub with a non-abrasive sponge or brush. For stubborn stains, consider using vinegar or a mixture of baking soda and water as a natural cleaning solution.
  3. Clean the toilet. Use a toilet bowl cleaner and scrub the interior of the bowl with a toilet brush. Pay attention to the rim, under the rim, and the base of the toilet. Remember to wipe the toilet seat and surrounding surfaces too.
  4. Clean chrome taps and shower fixtures. Use a mild cleaning solution or a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Dampen a cloth or sponge with the solution and wipe down the fixtures, paying attention to any areas with water spots or mineral buildup. To avoid watermarks, rinse with clean water and dry with a soft towel.
  5. Shower curtains and bathroom sealant. Remove any shower curtains from the bathroom and clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For bathroom sealant with mould or mildew, use a bleach solution or a specialised mould remover. Scrub the affected areas gently and ensure proper ventilation to prevent future mould growth.

Neglecting carpets and flooring

Another cleaning mistake most tenants make when relocating is neglecting to properly clean their carpets and flooring. And this is one of the most common end of lease cleaning tips you will find anywhere. So what are the carpet maintenance tips for renters?

  1. Vacuum or steam-cleaning carpets. Regular vacuuming is essential to keep carpets free from dirt, dust, and pet hair. Tenants should invest time in thoroughly vacuuming all carpeted areas, paying extra attention to high-traffic zones. For deeper cleaning, consider steam-cleaning the carpets to eliminate embedded dirt and smells, especially in homes with pets.
  2. Removing stubborn stains from carpets. Carpets are vulnerable to spills and stains, and ignoring them can result in lasting damage. You should promptly attend to spills and use appropriate stain-removal techniques. One such method is to blot the stain gently with a clean cloth and use a carpet stain remover suitable for the specific stain type. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and treating the stain as soon as possible increases the chances of successful stain removal.
  3. Cleaning hardwood or tile floors appropriately – Different flooring materials require specific cleaning methods. For hardwood floors, you should avoid excessive moisture and use a damp mop or microfiber cloth with a mild cleaning solution specifically formulated for hardwood. This prevents damage to the finish and maintains the natural beauty of the wood. Tile floors can be cleaned with a mop and a neutral cleaner or a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Abrasive cleansers that can scratch the tiles should be avoided.
  4. Preventing scratches on hardwood or tile floors – To prevent scratches and damage to hardwood or tile floors, you should take precautions. Put felt pads or furniture coasters under heavy furniture to prevent scratches when moving items. Use doormats at entryways to minimise dirt and debris that can scratch the floors. Additionally, avoid dragging or sliding heavy objects across the floor, as this can cause scratches and scuffs.

Failure to address walls and surfaces

One cleaning mistake that tenants often make when moving out is neglecting to address marks and stains on walls and surfaces. These blemishes can significantly impact the overall appearance of a rental property in a negative way, so check out these wall stain removal hacks for renters:

Determine the paint type

Different types of paint require different cleaning methods, so you must find out whether the hue of the walls is flat, satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss. Flat paint is more delicate and can easily be damaged by aggressive cleaning, while glossy finishes are generally more durable.

Test a small area first

Before cleaning a large portion of the wall, it’s important to test the cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area. This ensures that the cleaning solution or method does not cause any damage or discolouration to the paint or wall surface.

Gather the right cleaning supplies

Depending on the type of stain or mark, different cleaning solutions may be required. For general dirt and smudges, a mild detergent mixed with warm water can be effective. For stubborn stains, consider using specific stain-removal products designed for walls, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Microfiber cloths or soft sponges are typically the best tools for cleaning walls, as they are gentle and non-abrasive.

Focus on cleaning different stains

Here are some common wall stains and recommended cleaning methods:

  • Scuff marks – Gently rub the mark with a clean pencil eraser or a damp cloth;
  • Grease or oil stains – Apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water to a sponge or cloth and gently blot the stain;
  • Crayon or marker stains – Use a non-gel toothpaste or baking soda mixed with water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the stain, gently scrub, and wipe clean;
  • Water stains – Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stain and gently blot with a clean cloth.

Be gentle and avoid excessive moisture

When cleaning walls, it’s important to be gentle to avoid damaging the paint or wall surface. Abrasive scrub brushes and rough materials that might create scratches should be avoided. Additionally, excessive moisture can lead to paint damage or mold growth, so be mindful not to oversaturate the walls.

Forgetting about outdoor areas

Outdoor areas, such as the patio or balcony, are sometimes forgotten when renters move away, but you won’t since you’re reading this article. Check out the cleaning and maintenance tips for outdoor areas.

  1. Clear personal belongings – Before moving out, tenants should ensure that all personal belongings are removed from the outdoor areas. This includes the tenant’s furniture, plants, decorations, and other belongings. Leaving personal belongings behind not only creates a cluttered appearance but may also cause inconvenience for the landlord or next tenants.
  2. Clean and tidy the outdoor space – Now, you should do a balcony cleanup before moving out. Sweep or hose down the patio or balcony to remove dirt, leaves, and debris. Pay special attention to corners, nooks, and difficult-to-reach locations where dirt might collect. Wipe down any surfaces, such as tables or railings, to remove dust and grime.
  3. Clean outdoor cushions – If there are cushions on outdoor furniture, they should be cleaned before moving out. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning outdoor cushions. Typically, this involves spot-cleaning any stains and dirt with a mild detergent or using a specialised outdoor cushion cleaner. Allow the cushions to dry thoroughly before packing them away or leaving them in place.
  4. Remember gutter cleaning responsibility – It’s important to note that cleaning the gutters is generally the responsibility of the landlord. While some landlords may try to dispute this, it is typically their duty to ensure that gutters are maintained and cleaned regularly. If tenants notice any issues with gutters during their stay, they should communicate them to the landlord or property management for proper resolution.


  • Pay special attention to cleaning the bathroom in detail, including sanitising fixtures, removing soap scum and stains, and cleaning the toilet, to ensure a hygienic and presentable space;
  • Thoroughly clean kitchen appliances, such as ovens, refrigerators, and microwaves;
  • Properly clean and maintain carpets and flooring by regularly vacuuming or steam-cleaning carpets;
  • Don’t forget to clean outdoor areas, such as the patio or balcony.

Want to make sure you get your deposit back!

Call professional end-of-lease cleaners today!

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So, did you clean the entire property by yourself? Do you have something to add? Leave us a comment below!

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