Detailed Move-in Cleaning Checklist For a Fresh Start

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move in cleaning checklist

You’ll start right if you thoroughly clean your new home before bringing your valuables in. Buying an established property will mean that dirt can lurk in many places, and new construction might leave dust and debris in unexpected places. You’ll need a move-in cleaning checklist and complete cleaning supplies to do the task correctly.

New tenants and homeowners can feel at ease knowing their new house has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before moving in. Sometimes, you anticipate moving in and finding everything spotless, but the previous tenants may not have left the place as spotless as you would have liked.

This comprehensive cleaning checklist includes every step to guarantee the smoothest transfer possible.

Should You Deep Clean Before Moving?

Yes. Deep cleaning is one of the most crucial things you should do before moving into a new property. A thorough cleaning will ensure that every area of your home is sparkling clean.

Girl, Goggles, Mop, Cleaning, Clean

Moving into a new home is an exciting beginning to the next phase of your life, but it takes some work to make a new place feel like your permanent residence.

So, before you move your possessions in, it’s a good idea to give your home a thorough deep clean in order to rid it of old dirt and energy and make it ready for exciting new adventures and priceless memories.

How Do You Clean a New House Before You Move In?

In order to begin unpacking without being concerned about dirt and germs, you should clean the four main areas (bedroom, kitchen, living room, and bathrooms) before you move in. Check out the guidelines for each area of the house that you should deep clean before you move in.

Before Cleaning

Make sure everything is empty before beginning your move-in cleaning. Check the cabinets, drawers, closets, and other areas for any items the former tenants may have left behind. Before you begin, it’s also a good idea to open the windows to let fresh air in and eliminate any aromas that might be present.

white plastic bottles on white plastic container

To avoid having to stop your cleaning from going to the store, you should have the following items on hand:

  • A vacuum cleaner with a strong suction

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Broom and mop

  • Cleaning disinfectant or disinfectant spray

  • All-purpose spray or cleaner

  • A cleaning bucket

  • Window cleaning solution or glass cleaner

  • Paper towels

  • Baking soda

  • Rubber gloves

  • Non-abrasive and abrasive sponges

  • An old toothbrush or cleaning brush

  • White vinegar

  • Chlorine-free bleach

Once you have these materials, you are prepared to begin! If you follow the rest of the move-in cleaning checklist, your house will be sparkling clean and ready for you to move in.

1. General Tips

The bathroom, the living room, the bedroom, and the kitchen are the top 4 rooms to deep clean if you’re planning to move into a new home or apartment. Before we look at the four priority rooms, let’s look at a more general move-in cleaning checklist.

I. Walls and Ceilings

Look for fingerprints in corners and around light fixtures. Use the right cleaning techniques if the walls have different paint finishes or wallpaper.

You should clean flat painted walls by sponging a solution of liquid dish detergent and water onto the surfaces, scrubbing, rinsing, and drying with a towel. Use disposable cleaning erasers for tougher stains, but be careful when doing so to prevent removing the paint from the wall.

woman in black tank top and white skirt cleaning walls

Wipe down wallpapered walls with water and liquid dishwashing soap after first removing surface dust with a microfiber cloth. Next, apply a small quantity of fabric softener on a sponge and rub it on any sticky places you come across. Let it sit for some ten minutes, then rinse with clean water and a sponge. You can easily remove adhesive remnants with a fabric softener.

II. Interior Doors

Doors are often overlooked when cleaning, but as they are regularly touched on surfaces, they need extra care to get rid of all that dirt and grime.

Dust the top edge of the door frame and the top of the door first. Then scrub the area well to get rid of fingerprints and smudges. Don’t forget to clean and polish all the door hardware, including the doorknobs and hinges.

III. Windows

Use window cleaner on the glass and all-purpose cleaner on the window sills. In addition, use a bleach cleaner to remove any mold or mildew you may have seen in the window sills or the window frame.

woman in white long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans standing beside white wooden framed glass

You can use an old toothbrush, a cleaning brush, or a rough sponge to scrub away the mold after mixing one part of chlorine bleach with warm water three times. After removing the mold, place the brush in a plastic bag before discarding it to prevent the spread of spores.

Vacuum any window features, such as roller shades or blinds, to get rid of dust. To remove any remaining dirt, clean them with a sponge and a solution of liquid dish detergent and water.

IV. Floors

Before moving into a new place, ensure that all floors are cleaned, no matter the type of floor you have. Consider taking the carpet to be steam cleaned by an expert before moving in.

Vaccuming the carpet

Sweep thoroughly to clean wood floors, paying special attention to areas around heating vents and appliances, whether they are hardwood floors, engineered wood, or laminate wood-like floors. After that, mop the floor with the best cleaning agent for the kind of flooring.

V. Cleaning Cabinets and Closets

Cleaning counters often involves less effort, though marble and granite counters may need special attention. Use a putty knife to clean between cracks and remove any debris carefully. Check the spaces between the stove and the surface. Use a light cleanser or baking soda and water to clean tile backsplashes.

Use paper towels or a clean cloth wet with an all-purpose cleaner to clean the interior and outside of the cabinet, linen closet, and bathroom vanity drawers. Hardware like handles, knobs and pulls shouldn’t be overlooked.

person holding blue textile near clear glass bottle

To clean the interior of cabinets, particularly if they are painted or lined, use a light all-purpose cleaner or warm soapy water on paper towels. Also, consider putting shelf liners if they aren’t already lined to ensure the interiors are prepared for your dishes.

Clean the doors and top of cabinets. Use a cleaner made for wood cabinets if the surface is wood. Use an all-purpose oil cleanser or a solution of baking soda and water to clean oily cabinets. Create a paste, then apply it and let it sit for a while. Use paper towels and a mild all-purpose cleaner to clean the drawer interiors and handles as well.

2. Bathroom

The room you’ll need to deep clean before you move in is the bathroom. When moving day is almost done, you’ll be itching to take a refreshing shower or a soothing bath. You only need to organize your packed toiletries and other products.

person in white robe holding black and yellow umbrella

Bathroom Move-in Cleaning Checklist

  • Bathroom shower head and drain cleaning

  • Cleaning or replacing the toilet seat or cover- While you can choose to clean your toilet seat and cover, you can also replace them with new ones to make your work easier.

  • Replacing shower curtains- If there are any remaining old ones, take them down and put yours in their place.

  • Cleaning mirrors- Use a glass cleaner to clean the bathroom mirror.

  • The bathtub, shower walls and glass doors cleaning and sanitization

  • Sink cleaning and sanitization

  • Cabinet interiors and exterior cleaning

  • Countertops and shelves dusting and wiping

  • All surfaces dusting

  • Inside windowsills and window tracks cleaning

  • Doorknobs, door frames and door wiping

  • Light switches wiping

  • Baseboard dusting and wiping

  • Bathroom floor vacuuming and moping

3. Kitchen

We now move on to cleaning the kitchen as part of the move-in checklist. Keep in mind that your new kitchen will quickly become the center of your family’s activities and the area where you all spend a lot of time together. So that everyone feels snug and at home, the kitchen in the new house needs to be tidy.

Cleaning the sink

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

  • Countertops

  • Sinks and Fixtures

  • Inside & Outside of Cabinets and Drawers

  • Outside of Large Appliances

  • Stovetop

  • Interior Glass, Blinds, Ledges, Baseboards, etc.

  • Sweeping & Mopping Hard Surface Floors

  • Vacuuming Carpets and Rugs.

4. Living Room and Dining Room

Before moving in large furniture, thoroughly clean the living and dining areas to ensure that you don’t hide dirt and allow odors to develop. Additionally, since these areas are simple to overlook, it is a good idea to thoroughly clean hallways, entryways, and landing areas.

clean living room

Living Room Cleaning Checklist

  • Baseboards wiping and dusting

  • Switches wiping

  • Carpet and rugs vacuuming

  • Floors vacuuming and mopping

  • Mirrors cleaning

  • Cleaning window sills and window tracks using an all-purpose cleaner

  • Doorknobs, doorframes and door cleaning

  • All surfaces cleaning or dusting

5. Bedroom

It’s crucial to thoroughly clean bedrooms before moving into a new home because you’ll be exposed to any leftover allergens here when you sleep.

As with any room, it’s best to clean from top to bottom so you can easily keep track of what you’ve already done and prevent transferring dirt to places that have already been cleaned.

If your new home has numerous bedrooms, dust and clean each one separately before you start cleaning the flooring and stairs.

Going up the stairs to clean

Bedroom Move-In Cleaning Checklist

  • Dusting all surfaces

  • Closet exteriors and interiors cleaning

  • Marks on walls and baseboards cleaning

  • Mirrors cleaning

  • Interior window sills and window tracks cleaning

  • Baseboard dusting and wiping

  • Doorknobs, door frames and door wiping

  • Light switches wiping

  • Hardwood floors vacuuming and damp-mopping

  • Carpet and area rugs vacuuming

6. Outdoor Area

With a new home, your guests’ first impression will be based on the state of your exterior. So make sure all of the outdoor spaces, including patios, walks, and decks, are thoroughly cleaned before you settle in and have your housewarming celebration.

Outdoor areas take a lot of damage from the weather and from individual use. There are many different kinds of patios, walks, and decks, so be sure to investigate the best cleaning techniques for your outdoor area.

Cleaning outdoors


Rain gutters serve more roles than just keeping water out of your gardens and safeguarding your home’s exterior and landscaping. Your roof and the foundation of your house can suffer damage from gutters clogged with leaves, sticks, and other debris.

Their repair may be expensive. A leaking or water-damaged roof to your home’s exterior or inside. In addition, clogged gutters provide comfortable habitats for pests like birds and rodents. Family Handyman demonstrates the proper technique to clean your gutters if you prefer to do it yourself.

Hiring a Professional Cleaning Service

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with cleaning your new house before moving in, you can consider hiring a professional move-in cleaning service. You can never go wrong with a well-known cleaning service. You can also save time by using a move-in cleaning service and concentrate on other crucial duties like packing and paperwork.

Professional cleaning services

As soon as you know the date of your move, give a residential cleaning company a call and reserve your favorite date. Make sure you make the reservation prior to moving in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Move-in Cleaning Checklist

1. What do you clean when you first move in?

Work your way through the home’s rooms, cleaning them from top to bottom and left to right. Clean the windows and frames, wash the baseboards, dust any fans and light fittings, etc. To save time, try completing each assignment in each room before moving on to the next one.

2. How do I disinfect my new apartment?

Start by thoroughly airing out your apartment. Open the windows, and doors, then turn on the fans to let in fresh, clean air and exhaust stagnant, stale air. Ideally, you should wait a while before moving into your flat. After that, use a solution of one part vinegar to one part water to clean all the walls, ceilings, and windows.

3. Should a rental property be clean when you move in?

In most countries like London, it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that it is clean before the new renters move in. However, cleaning and leaving the property is the tenant’s obligation. Since the newly relocating tenant only has to clean the property before leaving, new tenants must move into spotless premises.

4. What does a professional house cleaning checklist look like?

The following is an example of a premium home cleaning checklist:

  • Cleaning and sweeping the floor and carpets

  • Garbage disposal

  • Sanitizing light fixtures and door handles

  • Cleaning the ledges, window sills, and windows

  • Altering linen (often as an additional service)

  • Cleaning the exterior of the kitchen’s appliances

  • Cleaning the exterior of the kitchen cabinets and the countertops

  • Dishes are done (often as an additional service)

  • Cleaning and sanitizing the restroom

  • Sanitizing the sink, shower, and bathtub

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Christina Brown
Christina Brown

Christina Brown is a professional moving guide specialist. She is a self-proclaimed expert in moving and has been writing for the last 5 years about different topics related to it. Her articles are informative, helpful, and filled with opinionated points of view that make you reevaluate how you think about relocating. If you face any problem don't hesitate to contact her at

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