The Complete Cleaning Checklist For When Your Tenancy Ends

Finding a new house or flat to live in is pretty exciting, especially if you’re moving into a home you just purchased, or if your new place is closer to work and friends. Well, it’s exciting until that moment when you realise that you still need to pack up your entire house and then, the most dreaded thing of all, clean the empty flat. (Insert horror movie music here). 

We can’t really think of anything worse when it comes to moving house – the final, frantic clean in desperate hopes of getting your bond back, the panic after handing in your keys that you forgot to clean the fan blades and will probably lose $100 on your bond, and the final resignation of receiving less than half your bond back from “insufficient cleaning”. We’ve all been there, and we can totally feel your pain. But there are ways to get most, if not all of your bond back, and the best way to try is to follow a complete checklist like this one! We’ll take you through your flat or house, top to bottom, and give you a complete checklist for cleaning your home so you don’t miss a thing. 

THE INSIDE 

Kitchen 

We recommend starting with the grimiest areas first, like the kitchen and bathroom. We say this because there’s things in your kitchen and bathroom that might not have seen a cleaning brush in quite some time, and may take several go’s to get sparkling. Tackling that stove and oven first is a good idea. Use a good cleaner, and be careful if you’re using one that has lots of toxic chemicals. Take children and pets out of the house for the day while you let a cleaning solution sit. Here’s the rest of the kitchen checklist to pay attention to: 

  • Floor boards: wipe along floorboards as well as mopping up the floor as the boards can get quite dirty after some time. 
  • Backsplash tiles 
  • Underneath the refrigerator: use a vacuum with an attachment that can reach under and on the sides of the fridge.  
  • Inside cupboards: spray with a cleaning solution and wipe down – you’ll be surprised at how dirty cupboards can get! 
  • Inside refrigerator: Here’s a good guide to help you with this one. 
  • Dishwasher: Yes, this appliance can get quite dirty, especially considering that we put dirty dishes in it every single day! We recommend running it through without dishes to get this nice and clean. 
  • Sink 

Bathroom 

Your shower and bathroom tiles probably haven’t seen much love from you for the time you’ve lived here. Now it’s time to put your back into it and use some good old fashioned elbow grease to get the grime out. 

  • Toilet: Do the worst thing first! Make sure to remember to clean behind the toilet as plenty of dust and dirt will accumulate back here. 
  • Shower or bathtub: Here’s some good tips for tackling this area. 
  • Shower rod and rings: Give these a good wipe, or clean your shower door if you have one. 
  • Sink 
  • Mirror 
  • Floorboards
  • Medicine cabinet: Take a cloth and wipe down the cabinet top to bottom 
  • Mop floors 
  • Vents: Use a vacuum against any air vents to grab dirt and dust trapped in them. 

Lounge 

  • Rugs and carpet: Depending on how bad these areas are, you might need to bring in some extra help here. Hiring a professional carpet cleaner is a good idea, and using carpet stain protection in the future will help. 
  • Fireplace: If you’ve got one of these, make sure all ash and dust is cleaned from the area, and wash down the mantle as well. 
  • Floorboards and ceiling: Pay special attention to things like ceiling fans and decorative ceilings. Different styles of ceilings will require extra dusting or wiping down. 
  • Windows: Wash these inside and outside to get them sparkling. Pay special attention to the window frames on the inside and out, as it’s easy for debris and dirt to get caught here.  
  • Furniture: Again, an upholstery cleaner may be required here, especially if the furniture is looking rough. You can either hire a cleaning machine yourself, or for extra tough cases, hire a professional.  

Bedrooms 

  • Closets: These can get dusty, even with clothes inside them, so make sure to fully wipe them down. 
  • Windows 
  • Under furniture: This area can get especially dusty and cobwebby, so make sure to move furniture around to get a good clean underneath. 

THE OUTSIDE 

If you live in a house or in a flat where you have access and are responsible for an outdoor area, this next part is for you. 

  • Gutters: These pesky things can hoard all kinds of nasty debris and even small animals if you haven’t cleaned them in ages! Gutters can take some time and a bit of effort to clean, so hire a gutter cleaning service if you don’t have the time or energy.  
  • House washing: Your landlord may expect you to clean the outside of the house as well, including windows and siding or cladding. It might be worth it to use an exterior house washing service to complete this all in one go.  
  • Yardwork: Make sure your lawn is mowed before handing over the keys, and any personal items are packed up. It’s a good idea to do a bit of light weeding and pruning as well, to ensure the area looks well kept. You may also need to apply some moss removal treatment to pavement areas or anywhere else it needs it if your landlord requires it.  

Following this checklist will ensure that you’ve done your best to get that full bond back. If you have any questions about this process, check out New Zealand’s official tenancy.gov site, here. And if all else fails, consider hiring a professional home cleaner to tackle an especially disastrous situation!