The 5 DIY Cleaning Mistakes Renters Make

Renting an apartment is great. You can sign a year lease without making a huge financial investment. And best of all, you most likely had an apartment manager or property management company on-site to help with any maintenance you need throughout the length of your lease.

What’s even better? Well, that one small financial investment you made — your security deposit — is refundable if you leave the place in good condition after you make your move to your next place.

But that’s a HUGE piece of the puzzle — the big move. We all know that moving is stressful and oftentimes requires the help of seasoned professionals in your area. And without the help from your local moving company, things can get out of hand quick.

So, when you’re ready to move out of your Chicago apartment, here are a few things you can’t forget to clean. Because if you do, you might risk losing out on that security deposit. And this is the last thing you want to do when you’re funding a new move and a new place. Even though your money had been held hostage for an entire year, clean the right way and it’ll be yours again in no time.

But first, trust us and hire the movers — your bank account will thank you later.

The Dreaded Bathroom

The bathroom isn’t a very glamorous place to begin with. And when it’s time to move out of your apartment, you already know cleaning the bathroom is a hugely important task. But after a year of living in your small apartment, things can get a little bit messy. Once you have a moving date set, start to move things out of your bathroom in order to get a really deep clean. Start with the soap scum on the tiles, tub and shower. Grab some bleach from your corner store and dive in. Next, move onto the bathroom drawers. Don’t just remove the materials from the drawers, but make sure you give those a nice scrub as well. Clean the corners and remove your liners to make sure the place looks brand new. After that, you can move onto the countertop and sink. Scrub these with any normal bathroom cleaner and you should see all the dirt and dust fly right off. You can do the same with the mirror and the fan as well.

Last but not least … the floor. It’s time to get on your hands and knees and scrub that years’ worth of dirt from the floor. It’s not the most enjoyable thing to do, but it’s an absolute necessity if you ever want to see that security deposit again.

How movers can help with this: you spent all that time cleaning your place, so don’t mess it up by moving furniture throughout your entire place on your own. Hire movers and they will be extremely careful while moving out. None of your hard cleaning work will be ruined if you let the pros assist you in your move.

What About the Kitchen?

The kitchen is another area in your apartment that you’ve used almost every single day since you moved in last year. You know that you’ll need to scrub the floor, clean out your belongings from the cabinets, clean and disinfect the countertops. But there is one thing you cannot forget — the dishwasher.

Dishwashers are usually neglected by renters. They forget to clean the appliance that helped them clean their dishes for months. What happens is that the dishwasher filter keeps absorbing dirt from the dirty dishes. Over time, the filter loses its strength and the appliance stops working efficiently. You can use a water and vinegar mixture to scrub the interior. Then, clean the filter and run the dishwasher a few times with your dish soap. After that, make sure you run the cycle once more with just water to ensure all soap and cleaning mixtures have been dissolved. After this clean, you’ll be certain that your security deposit isn’t lost because of this appliance.

How movers can help with this: the moving company will scour your place for anything leftover and they’ll make sure you don’t forget to check very last inch of your apartment before handing over the keys. They might not clean the dishwasher, but they’ll make sure your kitchen is spotless and you haven’t left anything behind.

Dent & Dings

The apartment looked brand new when you moved in. But since then, you’ve been a little rough on it. You’ve had a few parties, had a few pets visit, and maybe you even did a few fitness or workout videos in the living room. If this is the case, you might have put a few dents or dings in the walls or floors. Of course, any major issues that you gave to your landlord during your pre-move-in review are not your fault, but the others need to be fixed in order to get your security deposit back. If you’ve put small holes in the wall for pictures, make sure you replace those and paint over them to make things look just like they did when you first moved in. You’ll also want to be sure to repair things like broken blinds, burnt out lightbulbs and chipped paint.

Don’t let a few quick touch ups be the reason you lose out on that security deposit. You can grab a gallon of paint for $30 and take care of it all within an hour.

How movers can help with this: that absolute last thing you want is to fix up all your dents and dings and then try to push your couch through a small doorway by yourself. This is a recipe for disaster. Let the movers carefully manage the process and you’ll be left with no door dings that cost you even MORE money when you move out.

The Floors Need It

A vacuum is a great place to start when it comes to cleaning your floors. Do a thorough job vacuuming all of the carpets or floors in your apartment and then you’ll clearly be able to see the stains and other issues you’ll need to fix up.

If you do notice some stains on the carpet, treat them appropriately and work to remove the stains without using chemical products. First, try sparkling water or soap and water and see if that does the trick. If not, consider calling an expert floor cleaner to help out with this. You don’t want to damage one piece of the carpet which ends up causing a full replacement. This could be a huge expense.

Beyond the carpet, make sure you sweep all tile, wood or vinyl floors and then mop them with a cleaning product that is right for the individual surface. If you don’t own a mop, then you can just grab a Swiffer from the local corner store and get to work!

How movers can help with this: just like we mentioned above — the pro movers will NOT scratch your floor or rip your apartment carpet when you enlist their help during your move. Why risk it? Hire the movers and let them handle it.

Schedule the Inspection

You may have taken all the necessary precautions when cleaning your apartment. You might have even gone above and beyond and done a spectacular job. But if you don’t plan an inspection with your landlord, you might have a huge issue on your hands. In order to get your security deposit back, you must plan a landlord inspection a few days before you move out. The landlord will verify that the place is in good condition and the systems and appliances are in working order. Use this opportunity to request your security deposit back. If they say you need to fix up a few more things, at least now you know and you have time to do so.

Overall, there are many areas of an apartment that need to be cleaned and fixed up prior to moving out. If you want your security deposit back, then it’s important to give yourself the necessary amount of time to meet the cleaning requirements of your landlord. After all, they hold the key to your deposit.

And if you’re overwhelmed with the pressure of cleaning an entire apartment, you can always call on the help of cleaning and moving professionals! has a Shopper Approved rating of 4.8/5 based on 2433 ratings and reviews