Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

What to Clean Before You Move in to a Rental Home

What to clean before you move in to your rental property custom graphics

If the question is ‘what to clean before you move into a rental home?’, the answer is ‘everything'! Even though you may not see it, a secondhand home can be crawling with germs and hence, needs a thorough cleaning before you move in.

It may seem overwhelming at first but it’s actually rather easy to disinfect a new home. Unfurnished or semi-furnished houses, in particular, are easier to clean since there are lesser things getting in your way! Of course, even a furnished rental home isn’t difficult to clean since there won’t be any clutter to worry about; just empty surfaces that need a good wipe down.

So, where do you start? Well, we’ve got all the information to guide you through cleaning a rental home from start to finish! Read on.

It all Begins with the Kitchen!


Assuming that you’ll want to start using the kitchen as soon as possible to prepare meals, it’s important that you clean and disinfects this space first.

Start with storage spaces such as the kitchen cabinets and the pantry; clean them thoroughly by spritzing the interiors and exteriors with a disinfectant and wipe with a clean cloth.

This will be the general step for most surfaces around the house so make sure that you’ve got enough antibacterial spray and a bunch of clean rags! Don’t forget to put fresh shelf liners in the cabinets once the surfaces are dry.

If there are any appliances that came with your new rental homes such as a microwave, refrigerator, oven, and coffee machine, these will all need cleaning too.

Next up, the counters and kitchen sink. Using a natural or eco-friendly disinfectant spray and a scrubber, clean every inch of the countertops before moving on to the sink.

For this, choose a good all-purpose cleaner that can also be used to clean other household surfaces.

Begin by wiping down the faucet and other fittings, followed by cleaning the surrounding granite (if any). Clean the sink last. Finish off your kitchen cleaning by sweeping and mopping the floors.

Kitchen move in cleaning checklist

Here is our exact kitchen cleaning checklist that we use for our clients when we're cleaning rental properties that they're moving into.

  • Clean the oven inside and out
  • Clean the stove, countertop, and stove elements
  • Don't forget to clean the inside cabinetry
  • Try your hand at spot cleaning the walls
  • Check for any grease above top-level kitchen cabinetry and give it a good scrub.
  • Thoroughly vacuum and mop the floor
  • Wipe down light switches
  • Finish off with deep cleaning your sink
  • Don't forget to clean the fridge space as thoroughly as possible (this can be one of the grimiest areas in the kitchen)

Next Up, the Bathrooms


Treat the bathrooms of a new rental home like a public washroom because, after all, they were previously used by strangers. Moreover, you don’t know what measures were taken to clean the bathrooms and hence, are advised to take it upon yourself to disinfect them! Here is a checklist of things to clean in the bathroom of your new rental home:

Bathroom Move In Cleaning Checklist

  • Wall tiles
  • Medicine cabinet
  • Underneath the sink
  • Toilet bowl interiors and exteriors + seat and lid
  • Interiors and exteriors of the sink
  • Shower/bathtub
  • All bathroom fittings
  • Window + window sill
  • Floor

As an extra precaution, you may want to replace the toilet seat and lid.

Move on to the Bedrooms

white bedroom in hotel

For an unfurnished bedroom, it’s fairly simple; dust the walls, clean the floor, wash the windows and you’re done! Well, almost; to finish off, you need to wipe down switchboards, doorknobs, and any handles or other handheld places in the room. In case there are furnishings in the bedroom such as a bed, closet, dresser, etc; it’s best to clean these items with a strong disinfectant. It’s also advisable to change or deep clean the mattress (if applicable) and use fresh liners for the closet and dresser drawers.

Take Your Time with the Living Room


If your new rental home came with sofas and other furniture, you’ll need at least a day to finish cleaning the living room.

Start by deep cleaning upholstery; this includes the sofa cushions and any upholstery on chairs. Use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe other furniture pieces in the room including the TV stand, coffee table, side tables, cabinets, and shelves. Next, wash the windows and wipe down switchboards and handles. When it’s time to clean the floors, be sure to move furniture away from the walls and clean behind them.

Living room move in cleaning checklist

Here is our exact living room cleaning checklist that assures our clients a thorough sanitization of their new home.

  • Vacuum and mop where necessary
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the carpeted areas to give them a refresh
  • Don't forget to clean the inside windows (be sure to thoroughly clean window sills and window tracks)
  • Remove any cobwebs from cornices
  • Wipe down light switches and other high touch areas
  • Remove any existing scuff marks from walls (sugar soap and a magic eraser work wonders)

Finish Off with the Dining Room


Along with hallways in the house, the dining room is the last place to clean in your new rental home! Begin with wiping the dining table using a natural disinfectant and deep cleaning the upholstery of chairs (if applicable). Any existing storage units where you plan to keep and cutlery and plates must also be disinfected with an eco-friendly product. Wipe down other furniture pieces before cleaning the floor. Finish off by washing the windows and wiping down switchboards.

Things you may want to discard when moving into a new home

Some people equate moving into a new home as starting a new life or being reborn, proverbially. You may be inclined to throw away old fixtures, and items that cannot be restored to their original condition with general cleaning. When considering what to throw away, do make sure the cost to replace them isn't excessively expensive and that there are no sentimental feelings attached to the items.

Here are our recommendations of items that are extremely difficult to clean and are best just thrown away.

  • An excessively stained mattress
  • Ripped, stained, or old clothes
  • Your old shower curtain
  • Old and unused kitchen appliances
  • Toiletries that are half used and grotty
  • Towels that are ripped and ragged

With that, you can happily move into your new rental home knowing that it is 100% sterilized thanks to your relentless efforts and this helpful cleaning guide!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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