The 10 Most Important Things to Clean When Moving In or Out


Moving in or out of a home can be a stressful and messy process. Cleaning is an important part of moving that is often overlooked. Taking the time to thoroughly clean your old or new home will make the moving process smoother and help you get settled in faster. Here are the 10 most important things you should clean when moving in or out of a home:

1. Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in a home and as a result, often one of the dirtiest. When moving out, make sure to give the kitchen a deep clean.

  • Clean inside appliances: Take out removable parts from the refrigerator, stove, oven, dishwasher and microwave and wash thoroughly. Don’t forget to wipe down the inside and outside of appliances.
  • Scrub surfaces: Give countertops, cabinets, drawers, sinks and backsplashes a good scrubbing. Use degreaser for extra dirty areas.
  • Clean floors: Sweep and mop floors, getting into corners and crevices.
  • Empty and wipe down pantry: Throw out old food and give shelves a wipe down.
  • Clean windows, walls and lighting: Use glass cleaner, warm soapy water and a magic eraser to freshen up.

When moving into a new home, inspect the kitchen carefully and do spot cleaning as needed. Pay close attention to appliances, counters, cabinets and sinks and clean if not properly cleaned by previous owners.

2. Bathrooms

Thoroughly cleaning the bathrooms should be a top priority when moving in or out. Bathrooms harbor lots of bacteria and germs you won’t want to bring with you to your new home.

  • Clean toilets: Use a pumice stone and toilet bowl cleaner to remove stains and buildup from the toilet bowl. Don’t forget to scrub the seat, tank, lid, handle and around the base.
  • Disinfect all surfaces: Use bathroom disinfecting cleaner and scrub down shower walls, bathtub, countertops, sinks, faucets, handles and tile floors.
  • Wipe down mirrors and windows: Use glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth.
  • Empty cabinets and wipe down: Get rid of old products and clean shelves and drawers.
  • Don’t forget flooring: Sweep and mop tile floors. Clean bathmats and remove stains from grout lines with a brush and baking soda paste.

When moving in, inspect caulking, grout and tiles for mold and mildew. Test shower pressure and drain speed. Disinfect surfaces before unpacking your belongings.

3. Floors

Floors take a lot of wear and tear. Make them shine again with a deep clean throughout the entire home.

  • Sweep first: Sweep up crumbs, dirt and debris before mopping floors. Pay close attention to corners and under furniture.
  • Steam mop tile/linoleum floors: Use a steam mop to sanitize floors in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Shampoo carpets: Rent a carpet shampooer and thoroughly clean carpets, especially high traffic areas. Let carpet completely dry before moving in furniture.
  • Clean baseboards: Fill a bucket with warm water and all-purpose cleaner, use an old toothbrush to scrub.

When moving into a home, try to do a floor cleaning after the previous owners have moved out their belongings. Sweep and mop hard floors, shampoo carpets if needed and scrub baseboards.

4. Windows

Cleaning windows makes a huge difference in the appearance of a home. Don’t neglect this important task when moving.

  • Wash interior windows: Use glass cleaner and lint-free cloths to leave windows streak-free.
  • Clean window frames/sills: Mix mild soap and water, use an old toothbrush to scrub frames and sills clean.
  • Wash screens: Remove from windows and spray down with hose. Use an old toothbrush and mild soap on really dirty screens.
  • Clean curtains/blinds: Take down and launder curtains. Wipe down vinyl and wooden blinds.

When moving in, carefully inspect windows and screens for holes, cracks or signs of water damage. Wash any windows that are dirty from the previous owners.

5. Walls and Ceilings

Don’t forget to clean the walls and ceilings when prepping your home to move out or into.

  • Spot clean walls: Use warm water, mild soap and clean rags to spot treat dirty walls and light switches.
  • Clean fans/vent covers: Remove dust and dirt from bathroom fans, ceiling fans, vent covers and range hoods.
  • Wash ceilings: Use an extendable duster to clean away cobwebs and dust.
  • Clean along baseboards: Mix warm water and mild soap, use a sponge to wipe down where walls and baseboards meet.

When moving in, look for scuffs, nail holes or damaged areas that may need patching and paint touch ups. Clean vents and ceiling fans before using.

6. Bedrooms

Bedrooms accumulate lots of dirt, dust and clutter. Be sure to give bedrooms a thorough cleaning for move out and move in.

  • Vacuum/shampoo carpets: Vacuum carpets and area rugs thoroughly. Rent a carpet shampooer for deeper cleaning.
  • Wipe down walls: Clean walls of smudges, fingerprints and other grime. Be gentle on delicate wallpaper.
  • Clean windows and baseboards: Wipe down window sills, frames and baseboard trim.
  • Move furniture to clean: Clean under beds, dressers, nightstands and desks that don’t get regular cleaning.

When moving into a new home, clean carpets and do spot cleaning of walls and windows. Also check mattresses carefully for signs of bed bugs or stains.

7. Living Areas

Living rooms, family rooms and dens need cleaning too. Don’t forget about these communal spaces.

  • Clean upholstered furniture: Vacuum cushions, crevices and under cushions. Rent a steamer to refresh upholstery.
  • Wash walls and windows: Spot clean walls and wash windows, window sills and curtains/blinds.
  • Clean fireplace: Sweep out ash, use a wire brush to clean interior bricks.
  • Clean electronics: Remove dust, dirt and grime from TVs, remotes, computers, speakers and other electronics.
  • Shampoo carpets: Thoroughly clean carpets and area rugs, allow to fully dry before moving in furniture.

When moving into a new home with lived-in living spaces, steam clean carpets and spot treat walls and upholstered furniture as needed.

8. Garage/Basement/Attic

Don’t neglect the garage, basement and attic when cleaning for move in/out. These storage spaces need cleaning too.

  • Sweep floors: Sweep up debris, leaves, dirt and grit from garage, basement and attic floors.
  • Clear out clutter: Discard or donate unnecessary items and organize what remains.
  • Clean shelves/storage areas: Use mild soap and water to wipe down shelves, tool benches, storage containers.
  • Clean windows: Wash garage door windows, basement windows and attic windows to let in fresh light.

When moving into a home, these are areas that may contain items left behind by previous owners. Do a thorough sweep and organize the space to your liking.

9. Outdoor Areas

Your moving clean shouldn’t stop at the front door. Be sure to tidy up the outdoor areas as well.

  • Sweep porches/decks: Sweep and mop outdoor porches, decks, patios and walkways.
  • Clean siding: Use a pressure washer to clean exterior siding and rinse away dirt and grime.
  • Clean outdoor furniture: Use mild soap and water to scrub down outdoor furniture and let air dry.
  • Wash windows: Clean outside of windows, window screens and window frames.
  • Clean gutters: Use a gutter cleaning brush to remove debris from gutters and downspouts.

When moving into a new home, sweep porches and decks, clean outdoor furniture and wash exterior windows and doors.

10. Appliances

For move out, thoroughly clean appliances inside and out so they are fresh for the new owners.

  • Clean refrigerator: Wash shelves, drawers, bins. Defrost freezer, scrub inner lining. Don’t unplug!
  • Clean oven: Remove racks and use oven cleaner to scrub away baked-on grime from oven walls.
  • Clean stove: Lift up stovetop and clean burner pans and drip trays. Use degreaser for stubborn grime on stove surface.
  • Scrub microwave: Remove built up food splatters from inside and deodorize.
  • Descale dishwasher: Run vinegar cycle to remove hard water buildup and odors. Wipe down door gasket.
  • Wipe down washer/dryer: Use appliance cleaner and lint-free cloth to wipe down exteriors, control panels and inside drums.

When moving into a home, clean appliances thoroughly again and be sure all are in good working order before using.

Looking for professional move in/out cleaning services in Vancouver BC? Check out Cleany’s move out and move in cleaning packages.

Moving into or out of a home means a fresh start. Giving your old or new home a deep clean makes for a smooth transition. Follow this list of the 10 most important areas to clean to ensure nothing gets overlooked. Happy moving!