The Chore Of Move-Out Cleaning
Ready to move to a different place? Got all the travel logistics sorted out, and are all packed for the journey? Before you head out, there is something that needs to be covered. No, this is not just about handing over the keys. The tenancy agreement that you signed indicated that the house or apartment that you rented needs to be in proper condition before you’re cleared and get your security deposit back. A thorough end of tenancy cleaning will be required. The landlord or property manager is well within their rights to withhold the security deposit until the condition of the premises is restored to an amenable state. Then there’s the good karma that comes when you leave the place clean for the next tenant to take up the house after you.
What needs to be covered?
The end of tenancy cleaning is more than just doing a quick floor mopping and wiping the countertop. The house needs a top-to-bottom clean, and it is always recommended that you get a checklist from the landlord or property manager to ensure that you don’t miss a spot.
It’s a lengthy process, with high quality results being expected. Starting up gathering a comprehensive end of tenancy cleaning kit, complete with sturdy mops, bucket, cleaning cloths especially microfibre cloths, cleaning products that are developed for specific surfaces such stainless steel cleaners and glass cleaners, oven cleaner since this kitchen workhorse will need to be given a thorough scrub, all-purpose cleaners, stain removers for those troublesome spots, garbage bags, a powerful vacuum all through to protective equipment like rubber gloves. The different surfaces have specific kinds of tools that will be suitable for them. For instance, while hard bristled brushes can be used on the tough floor, they can ruin the windows. Just because a particular reagent was suitable for removing coffee stains that are on ceramic tile surfaces does not mean that it will be suitable for use on the natural stone countertops. The last thing you want is the surfaces getting damaged in the course of the end of tenancy cleaning, from stains being driven deeper into the material, glass surfaces getting etched, to corrosion on the natural stone installations. As such, with the DIY route, you’ll need to take time to research on the particular products and equipment that will be suitable for the different areas that are to be worked on. Assembling the supplies is the first step. Next is dealing with the different portions of the house.
Each of the rooms in the house requires your attention. Starting straight from the living room, where its floor is one of the candidates of food and drink stains that were spilled over time and allowed to set into the surface. The mode of cleaning for the floor will depend on the type of material, especially with the kinds of cleaning chemicals that are used on it. With some, like for the case of hardwood floors, one needs to be particularly keen on the amount of water that is used for the cleaning process, to avoid cases of water damage on the installation. The light fixtures, switches plus the outlets need to be wiped – such as spraying them with an all-purpose cleaner and giving them a do-over with a microfibre cloth to pick up the particles that are all over the surfaces. The doors – including the doorknobs are to be worked on, plus the walls, removing any scuff marks that are on them. With the walls, they are cleaned from the top to the baseboard. Note that if there is any damage on the walls, this should first be addressed, such as plastering holes that are left behind when nails were removed. Did the house come with a carpet? Then this needs a thorough scrub. Note that for the carpet, cleaning methods used should flush out the grime that is buried within the fibres, not simply push it into the material. You don’t want a case of the carpet looking clean after you’ve worked on it, only for stains to wick back up right before the inspection. Professional end of tenancy cleaning teams incorporate aspects from stain removers to hot water extraction systems that get to the gunk that is hidden in the carpet fibres. Like the floors, when dealing with carpets you want to ensure that the approach used is suitable for the particular kind of material, given that there are different rules when handling natural and synthetic carpets.
When it comes to the windows, different aspects come into the process. For instance, to remove the stuck-on grime, one may need to use scrapers and while working on the high windows, using ladders can put you at risk of fall accidents. Using the scrapers appropriately, optimising for safer approaches like working with waterfed poles for the window cleaning – how much resources will go into the DIY end of tenancy cleaning job?
For the bathroom, the shower and tub are to be worked on, scrubbing all surfaces to remove the soap scum and other grime that may be on them. If you’re in an area where hard water is an issue, then there may be lime scale deposits on the sinks, toilet, and other bathroom surfaces – which should be removed. What of the mirrors? Wiping them down to remove smudges and fingerprint marks all come into focus during the end of tenancy cleaning.
In addition to these are cases of stubborn stains like pet urine spots that are on the carpets and floor, which require specialised products to clean them. Issues of mould and mildew that have developed due to water damage – they all demand your attention. It can make the end of tenancy processes hectic.
What about some of the areas that tend to be overlooked?
- The cabinet shelves and drawers
The landlord knows all too well that grime in the cabinets will gross out prospective tenants that will be checking out the space later on, so they will be sure to inspect them – yet this is one of the areas that is commonly overlooked during the end of tenancy cleaning. Kitchen cabinets particularly have a tendency of accumulating food crumbs and waste from the insects that come to feed on them, plus residue from cooking products.
Units like the refrigerator and the oven tend to have grime hardening onto their interior surfaces. For instance, with the oven, the grease splatters from the meals that were being prepared in it get baked into the walls of the unit. A thorough scrub is needed here to remove the gunk. Note that this usually requires additional chemicals that will break down the residue, so that it can be cleaned off. The particular solutions used will be critical, so as to get the result done without ruining the appliance being worked on.
The stainless steel appliances also usually get covered in markings and fingerprints, and these will need to be wiped off, and any scale deposits on the surfaces removed. Don’t leave out the microwave, since it is one of those units that gets splatters within.
Having to handle all the work that comes into the end of tenancy cleaning by yourself can take a toll on you, especially given that you will still have plenty on your to-do list covering the logistics of the moving process. Notifying your banking and insurance providers, making arrangements with the moving crew and even booking a parking spot at the new residence for the day, dealing with the transfer of records from the current schools your kids are in to the one schools where they ware to study in, cancelling your subscription and sorting out the utilities, organizing yard sales for those who want to sell off some belongings before they move, all through to the social issues – including the goodbyes to the friends and neighbours that you have become accustomed to. Adding a taxing end of tenancy cleaning chore to your to-do list will take up more time than is available, and expend your energy which could be better channelled elsewhere. Getting professional end of tenancy cleaning services will free up your schedule, and enable you to get the desired results faster.
Given that there are multiple companies offering the services, how do you pick the right one for the end of tenancy cleaning job? Here are factors that you should consider:
- Professionalism and certifications
This looks at the expertise of the company crew. What kind of training and support does the personnel receive? How long have they been cleaning, and are they kept up to date with industry standards of standards safety? Have the cleaners received certifications? Even awards factor in, especially for the company, as those that have stood out in their service delivery tend to bag different awards as a result of their performance.
- Business model
How does the company handle the end of tenancy cleaning jobs? Does it use its own personnel, or outsource it to a subcontractor? While it is perfectly legal to use subcontractors, you want to know exactly who you’re dealing with before they are sent over to the premises. While on this, ask about whether the end of tenancy cleaning personnel have been taken through the necessary background checks. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re dealing with a security threat, especially since you will be handling so many activities as the moving day approaches and may not have sufficient time to supervise the entire cleaning process.
The experience that other clients had when hiring the end of tenancy cleaning company will be a pointer to the kind of service that you can expect from the firm. Going through the reviews and testimonials will give you a better understanding of the company’s operations and its level of professionalism. These reviews can be on the different social media platforms, and as well as business directories with the feature. For a company with numerous complaints, this should be a red flag. Be particularly keen on the response that the company makes to the negative reviews. Usually, for genuine client complaints, the end of tenancy cleaning company will take time to address the complaint, and thereafter the affected client updates their review. This will show that the company is keen in the final satisfaction of their client.
How much the services will cost you will definitely come into focus as well. Here, the key is finding a balance that is suitable for your particular situation. You don’t want to overpay for the end of tenancy cleaning service, since you will already likely have a fixed budget with regards to the moving expenses. On the other hand, you don’t want to settle for a cheap company that compromises on the services rendered, providing low quality results where you end up having to redo the end of tenancy cleaning yourself, or hire a different company to come in and have a do-over. Compare different rates of the local cleaning companies in your area, to get an estimate of how much the project should cost you. For the companies whose rates are way below those of their competitors, then this is a red flag. The company may be relying on unskilled personnel, raw capacity machinery or even not be insured for the task, all of which expose you to different risks during the job.
As the moving day approaches, your schedule is bound to be tight. You want to engage with an end of tenancy cleaning company that is willing to accommodate your schedule. Granted, every company has its optimal houses of operation, so you want to work with one whose timetable will mesh into your own. There are those that are flexible enough to work outside normal working hours, but this will have its limits. Have a comprehensive discussion with the personnel of the end of tenancy cleaning company, to work up a schedule that will be suitable to both you and the firm, that way the task can be completed in time and not mess up your moving plans.