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The 5 DIY Cleaning Mistakes Renters Make When They Move Out

Moving is a major pain. You have to book a moving company, pack your boxes, declutter your current place of living, call on friends and family for help, take apart all of that glorious IKEA furniture, and pay for it all.

But what else? Well, in order to get back that extremely large security deposit you’ve already forgotten about, you MUST make sure you follow the mandated cleaning rules given to you by your landlord. Wait, what!? You have to clean after you move out? Yes, that’s typically correct.

So, not only do you have to take apart everything you own, pack it up and move it. But now, you must clean the place you’re no longer going to be living in.

If you don’t? Be prepared to forget (again) about that security deposit.

Every day at ABODO Apartments, we help dozens of renters find their new place to live. And whether people are moving from a Chicago apartment to a home in Illinois suburbs like the “Home Alone” house; or a Milwaukee house to a smaller studio apartment, one thing remains the same — the cleaning.

Here are the five most common things people forget to clean — and some tips on how to clean them.

1. The Oven MUST Be Clean
Ovens are difficult to clean. That’s probably why so many people get charged for cleaning them incorrectly or incompletely. You can easily clean the exterior with normal cleaning products, but what about all that grease inside? Make sure you burn off the food and grease and then remove the grates to clean those as well. It’s a step-by-step process and you can’t forget that every inch counts.

Normal cleaners won’t do much to the inside, and the self-clean feature will only take you so far. For a true cleaning, get your hands on some of those industrial strength cleaning chemicals. Brush out all of the leftovers from the bottom and then soak each piece individually, if you can. After that, apply your oven cleaner, but remember to open the windows and circulate the air around you for safety. And wear your gloves.

2. The Dishwasher, Too!?
“The dishwasher washes my dishes, so it is more than clean.” Sure, good thought. But not really. You still need to wash it.
Dishwashers are enclosed environments and contain a ton of old food and chemicals. This is one thing you cannot forget to clean.
To clean your dishwasher, soak the filter in warm and soapy water for about ten minutes. Then, pour white vinegar into the bottom of the empty dishwasher. This will help to deodorize the appliance. Run a heavy cycle this way and your dishwasher should be much cleaner than before.  Next, sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher, let is sit overnight and in the morning run another cycle. Lastly, scrub it all! Grab your old toothbrush or another type of cleaning brush and get scrubbing. Wipe away the grime and any spots that might make it look much dirtier than it actually is.

3. Cabinet Fronts
Although you’re probably going to be focused on removing the old snacks and crumbs from the shelves, you’ll also need to focus on the cabinet fronts. While you’ve probably given them a quick dusting or clean over the years, grit and grime can remain on the fronts and must be removed.

Scrub the outside with a soft sponge (especially if the cabinets are nicely constructed from wood) and get into all of the little areas that have likely not been touched since you moved in. You can also use a mixture of 50/50 vinegar and warm water and put that into a spray bottle to help clean the greasy cabinet fronts. Wipe the cleaner on the fronts and handles, and then consider using a toothbrush to get as deep of a clean as possible. Use a second cloth or brush to go over the same areas with plain water, and after that you can dry all the surfaces as well. Removing these stubborn stains will ensure no issues in getting back that security deposit.

4. Top of the Refrigerator
You know you have to clean the inside often, otherwise you could get sick from mold and other growing substances. But remember, the top of the refrigerator needs a good clean, too. You’ve been hoarding cereal boxes and pots on top of the fridge for so long that you have no idea what is actually underneath. Well, for starters, you’ll see a TON of dust. Don’t worry, this can be removed very quickly. But then what?

This one is pretty simple. Grab you step-stool, a cloth and some cleaning solution and get to work. You’ll have to scrub multiple times to make sure all of the dust and grime is removed, but this is usually a very quick spot to clean. Please, just don’t forget about it!

5. Holes in the Wall
Oh, I’ll totally fix this hole in a few months. Who hasn’t said this before? You probably remember seeing that list of “what’s wrong with the unit” before you moved in. Those holes in the wall were probably not listed. That said, those need to be fixed.

Don’t get charged for each hole you leave. Fill every hole, sand it down and then cover it with paint. It’ll look great and you won’t jeopardize your deposit.

Overwhelmed? Well, remember, you can always hire cleaning and painting pros to help you out!