How To Clean To Get Your Security Deposit Back In Full

If you are moving soon, you are likely planning to get your security deposit back in full if possible.

This makes a thorough end-of-tenancy cleaning a necessary requirement.

But how do you deal with picky landlords’ demands, and how do you carry that task out to a satisfactory conclusion?

Read on to find out how!

Plan everything and do a general cleaning first

DIY end-of-tenancy cleaning requires quite a bit of effort to be effective and ensure you don’t miss anything. You need some kind of plan.

You want to create a checklist of everything you need to clean, room by room. That can not only ensure you perform the task thoroughly and don’t miss something, but it will also provide you with a feeling of progress and reduce anxiety.

Usually, it’s best to begin this step at least 10 days before you relocate, so you can have enough time to finish everything and avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff to do at the last minute.

Before you begin to deep clean everything, it’s important to do general cleaning beforehand. This will make things much more manageable and speed up the process later on when the real hard work begins.

Protip: Try to rent some professional equipment to save time and be much more efficient. There are many rental companies where you can pick the exact machines for your individual needs, guaranteeing excellent results that no picky landlord can object to.

Once you create a plan and gather all your cleaning equipment and supplies in one place, you’re ready to begin.

General cleaning must include the following:

  • Dust everything, including ledges, fans, and baseboards;
  • All nails must be removed from the walls, and the holes must be patched;
  • All windows must be cleaned from both inside and outside;
  • Cupboards and cabinets must be emptied and cleaned;
  • Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners, cornices, or curtains.

Don’t forget to include time for last-minute cleaning, as a few things must be done before leaving the property. That’s how you won’t accidentally forget something that might cost you some of your security deposit money.

How to clean your home, room by room

So, you’ve written your plan, gathered all your equipment and performed general cleaning.

This means it’s time to deep clean the property.

But how clean is clean?

Consult your lease

Your lease is the ideal document to describe in what state the property needs to be left at the end of your tenancy. Consult it to see what kind of cleaning stipulations your landlord has set and add something to the plan if needed.

Now, while all standards of cleanliness are entirely subjective, leaving the property in the same state you found it in is what the landlord usually wants. If you’ve painted a room in a new colour, you must re-paint it to its original state.

Once you determine everything you need to do, you’re ready to begin.

Room-by-room cleaning tips

The best approach is to start from low-traffic areas, clean those first, and then move to high-traffic areas. Always clean from top to bottom to avoid removing the dust and dirt that falls twice.

The bedroom should be the most effortless room to clean. Vacuum and sweep, wash the windows and don’t forget to dust the blinds.

Now, the two rooms that landlords pay particular attention to are the bedroom and the bathroom. Both have to be spotless, which entails lots of work and leaving them for last.

The kitchen cleaning checklist includes the following:

  • Degreasing the walls and washing them afterwards;
  • Cleaning the kitchen sink and removing any mineral deposits from the tap;
  • Refreshing the garbage disposal and performing general cleaning;
  • All appliances’ surfaces must be cleaned and their insides as well.

If you arranged a rental inspection, be sure the place smells fresh, as that can set the tone for the rest of the visit.

Here are the bathroom’s to-dos:

  • Clean tiles (no grout or mould)
  • No soap scum on tiles;
  • Clean the bathroom mirror spotless;
  • Emptied bathroom drawers;
  • Clean any mineral deposits from the taps or the showerhead;
  • Clean and wash the bathroom curtain;
  • Clean the exhaust fan by vacuuming it from the outside;
  • Clean and sanitise the toilet.

Next comes the living room. If you’ve cleaned it regularly, then there shouldn’t be too much stuff to do.

Living room checklist:

  • Dust everywhere;
  • Vacuum all carpets and area rugs;
  • Clean all mirrors spotless;
  • Vacuum and then mop hard surface floors;
  • Clean closet fronts and insides.

Last but not least, don’t forget the outdoors.

If you have a garden, remove any fallen leaves and weeds as well. Mow the lawn, if needed, and check whether any pests have decided to nest in the area.

The garage and the shed should be completely empty and swept, too. Don’t forget to sweep in front of the front door and remove any cobwebs.

Additional advice on how to get your security deposit back

First, arranging an end-of-tenancy cleaning inspection after you clean can be an excellent way to talk to your landlord and ask him whether he finds the state of cleanliness acceptable.

It’s in your self-interest to do so, for leaving a good impression can go a long way towards getting your safety deposit back in full.

Don’t forget to take videos and photos of all your hard work. You may never know when you need them should any disputes arise.

Sometimes, especially if you’re pressed for time, it makes much more sense to hire end of tenancy cleaners rather than do all the work yourself.

A team of experts will bring their own cleaning equipment, such as high-end steamers, vacuum cleaners, and detergents, that will ensure professional standards of cleanliness, which the picky landlords won’t be able to argue with.

This not only means far less moving anxiety but also maximises your chances of getting your security deposit back in full.


Moving is a significant life event, meaning that almost everyone feels anxious.

However, by handling the end-of-tenancy cleaning seriously, you can ensure you carry out an adequate job and do what’s required of you to get your safety deposit returned in full.

All that’s left when that happens is not to forget to celebrate.

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