Deep Cleaning A Rental

It’s every renter’s dream to walk into their newly-leased home and have it be sparkly clean, waiting for them to get settled into. It’s industry standard to have a property cleaned before new tenants move in, and for good reason – nothing is quite as discontenting as finding someone else’s grime all over the inside of your fridge or years of their soapscum in your bathroom.

But, properties don’t always get cleaned before you move in, or maybe just not as well as they should be. Only two of our four rentals have been so spick and span when we arrived on the scene that we didn’t have to clean a single thing.

If your new home isn’t up to par, it’s time to whip out the elbow grease. A thorough clean makes SUCH a huge difference in a place. It’s a terrible feeling to be grossed out in your own home. So, before any fun rental reno activities can take place, things need to be cleaned!

Cleaning is far easier when you have the right tools. Begrudgingly, we’ve learned what these are.

Here is a deep clean starter kit to get your rental looking and feeling good.

A vacuum – One of the first things cleaning-wise we learned when we moved into our first apartment was that it’s really hard to clean carpet without a vacuum. We bought this cheap one at Target and it hasn’t failed us yet. We once lived in a house with an expensive, full-size Dyson and I thought our trusty Target one performed better. Though now that we have multiple sets of carpeted stairs, I am googly-eying this one.

OXO scrubbing brushes – Before you say it – toothbrushes do not even compare to these brushes. These are the best for really getting in small spaces. Good for grout lines, around sinks/drains, etc. The angled brush has a pointed silicone end on the handle side so you can use it to scrape small areas, too. 

Disposable gloves – I am amazed at the things I am willing to touch while wearing these gloves. Good for when you absolutely do not want to touch what you’re cleaning, or for preventing your hands from coming in contact with cleaning chemicals.

Swiffer (with wet and dry refills) – Sweeping is the bare-minimum of cleaning to me, and your basic Swiffer is just so user-friendly and easy to store. I also like that you can use it to sweep or mop and just throw the pad away when you’re done. 

Method All Purpose Cleaner – We use this for everything – countertops, glass, mirrors, etc. It’s not super harsh, but gets things really clean. And also smells so nice for a cleaning product! Something about the shape of the bottle makes it feel… higher end?  

Bleach Spray – Bleach is not a commonly used product in our household, but for really grimy things, you can bet I’m pulling out the bleach spray. If you ever need to clean gross grout or any mold or want something disinfected, this is your best friend.

Toilet bowl brush – Okay so maybe you don’t need this for a deep clean, but a toilet bowl brush is always good to have on hand. When you need one, you really need one. We throw ours away when packing and go buy a new one for our new place. It’s always an exciting moving in purchase (read: a reason to go to IKEA for the 99 cent one and buy other things, too).

Magic eraser – These are maybe actually magic? They can make pretty much any stain on any household surface disappear with minimal effort. Good for scuff marks, kitchen appliances, cabinets, bathrooms, etc.

Bar Keeper’s Friend – Very useful for deep cleaning bathtubs, tile, cooktops, or anything that needs a good scrub. Also comes in handy for everyday tasks like cleaning stainless steel cookware!

Brush with handle – These last a long time and get things super clean. The handle makes it so your wrist doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall off if you use it for more than 3 seconds.

Also good to have:

A step ladder – You’re probably going to need to get up high at some point, and this is approximately 1 billion times safer than standing on a rickety chair. Good for us short people or anyone with tall ceilings. We have this one and I use it almost every day. It’s also collapsable so can be stored pretty much anywhere.

Shelf liner – If no amount of cleaning is quite doing the trick in your cabinets, drawers, or closets, it’s best to just cover ’em up. I like the non-adhesive shelf liner for ease of installation and removal.

Paper towels – A lot of them. I know this isn’t the most environmentally friendly, but for deep cleaning, it’s nice to just get the job done and get that mess out of your house. We’ve tried probably every paper towel on the market and are fiercely loyal to Target’s.

PS – If any cleaning needs to be done, I always mention it to the landlord or property manager. That way, if they did have it cleaned they know it wasn’t done thoroughly. If they didn’t have it cleaned, they will hopefully get the idea that they should!


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