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Move-Out Cleaning Cost (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 2 others Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Fact Checked Icon Fact-checked Updated 05/09/2024

Move-out cleaning services save you time and hassle during the moving process. Between finding a new place, packing your stuff, and moving, cleaning your old house or apartment might not be high on your moving checklist. However, your landlord may not return your security deposit if you leave behind a mess.

Hiring professional cleaners will ensure your place is clean before you move out, improving the likelihood that you’ll get your full security deposit back. In this article, we’ll cover how much move-out cleaning costs are and identify some of the benefits of hiring professional cleaners.

What Is Move-Out Cleaning?

Professional house cleaning services often have a separate pricing structure for move-in or move-out cleaning since they’re different from standard house cleaning. Below are a few components to think about regarding a move-out clean.

Landlord’s Cleaning Expectations

Landlords may have different expectations when it comes to what counts as clean, but the basics should be in your lease or rental agreement. In fact, you’ve probably been required to do some basic cleaning throughout the duration of your lease to prevent damage to the property. Here are common standards for tenant cleaning responsibilities:

  • Maintaining appliances
  • Preventing excessive dirt buildup on all surfaces
  • Preventing mold growth
  • Preventing or repairing pet damage
  • Preventing rust and grime buildup
  • Taking out the trash

A move-out cleaning addresses areas of your rental that may not receive regular cleaning and involves a higher standard of cleanliness.

Returning a Property to Initial Condition

Most lease agreements require the tenant to return the property to the same state it was when they moved in. A landlord can subtract from the security deposit or cleaning deposit to pay for professional cleaning if a tenant doesn’t follow through on this portion of the lease. You can avoid losing part of your security deposit by prioritizing cleaning parts of the home you wouldn’t normally clean, including walls, doors, baseboards, trim, molding, and window frames. Essentially, the place needs to look as close to brand-new as possible before you move.

Deep Cleaning vs. Standard Cleaning

A standard home cleaning addresses items that normally get dirty, such as floors, windows, sinks, countertops, and bathrooms. Dusting, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming are standard cleaning tasks that can help maintain these areas. A deeper cleaning typically includes the following tasks:

  • Carpet cleaning or steaming
  • Cleaning behind appliances
  • Cleaning blinds and drapes
  • Disinfecting surfaces
  • Dusting vents, fixtures, and cabinet tops
  • Scrubbing of mineral scale and grout in tubs and showers

A deep cleaning tends to take longer, but it’s usually only necessary a few times per year. A move-out cleaning can actually be easier and quicker than a standard deep clean because there are no pieces of furniture or personal items that get in the way.

Cleaning Requirements by State

The laws regarding security deposits and how landlords can use them vary by state. For example, security deposits can go toward move-out cleaning costs in California and Colorado. Other states don’t specify how to use a security deposit, but landlords in all states can use a deposit to cover costs incurred by breaches of a lease.

You could be on the hook for move-out cleaning service costs if you don’t meet your landlord’s standards. Here’s an overview of security deposit requirements in the most populous states:

StateMaximum DepositReturn Deadline to TenantLandlord Can Use Deposit For
CaliforniaTwo months’ rent for unfurnished home, three months’ rent for furnished home21 daysCleaning, unpaid rent, damage, future debt, other lease breaches
FloridaNo state law15–30 daysDamage, unpaid rent, other lease breaches
New YorkOne month’s rent14 daysDamage, unpaid rent, other lease breaches
TexasNo state law30 daysDamage, other lease breaches

DIY Cleaning vs. Professional Cleaning

Do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning may make more sense than hiring a professional cleaner or vice versa. Here’s a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each type of cleaning:

Pros and Cons of DIY Cleaning

Can happen on your own time
Gives tenants greater control over the cleaning process
Helps tenants save money
Can add stress to a move
May require the purchase of various cleaning supplies
May not be as thorough of a cleaning

Pros and Cons of Professional Cleaning

Experienced cleaners with specialized cleaning techniques
Includes stronger cleaning products than typical household cleaners
Requires less effort and stress
Gives tenants less control over the cleaning process
Needs to be scheduled in advance
Tends to be more expensive than DIY cleaning

Average Cost of Professional Cleaning

Although the average cost of move-out cleaning services is $200–$400*, pricing for professional cleaning packages is dependent on your home size and the breadth of services you purchase. According to Fixr, standard move-out cleaning usually costs $0.20–$0.45 per square foot or $30–$250 per hour. However, other factors such as home type, where you live, and the cleanliness of your home can affect these house cleaning prices.

Costs in this article were sourced from Fixr and Angi.

Cost by Home Size

Larger homes will cost more and take longer to clean than smaller homes. Here’s how the above rate per square foot breaks down for homes and apartments of various sizes:

Square FootagePrice Range

Cost by Home Type

House cleaning costs are typically based on the square footage or number of bedrooms rather than your home type. Here are some approximate cleaning prices for various-sized houses and apartments according to Fixr:

Home TypePrice Range
1-bedroom house$110–$230
2-bedroom house$120–$270
3-bedroom house$160–$320
4-bedroom house$200–$350

Cost by Services Performed

Basic move-out cleaning typically includes vacuuming and mopping floors, dusting, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning walls and doors. Other add-on services, such as window cleaning and wood polishing, tend to come with a surcharge, but the pricing specifics will vary by company. Here are some average costs for these additional services as per Fixr:

Cleaning ServicePrice Range
Interior windows$1.60–$3.20 each
Exterior windows$6.40–$12.80 each
Wood polishing$30–$75
Carpet cleaning$75–$300
Tile and grout$250–$700

Regional Cost Variations

Professional move-out cleaning services will be more expensive in areas where the cost of living is higher. Some cleaning companies may offer deals and discounts in these areas, so ask if there are any available promotions when comparing cleaning providers.

Condition of the Home

Some cleaning services will charge a flat fee based on the size of your home. This fee may increase if extensive cleaning is required to get the property back to move-in standards. Professional cleaners may have to tackle more grime, stains, and other damage that require more time to resolve if you haven’t kept up with regular cleaning throughout your lease.

Additionally, if cleaners need to spend a great deal of time moving furniture out of the way, they may charge more. This is more common if the company charges an hourly rate.

Supplies Needed for DIY Cleaning

You should create a detailed cleaning checklist complete with the tools and products you need to maximize your DIY cleaning time. Here are a few cleaning supplies you’ll need for the job:

  • All-purpose cleaning spray
  • Broom
  • Disinfecting bathroom/kitchen cleaner
  • Duster
  • Dustpan
  • Glass cleaner
  • Latex gloves
  • Magic Eraser
  • Mop and bucket
  • Paper towels, sponges, or microfiber cloths
  • Toilet brush and cleanser
  • Vacuum

Cleaning Services Worth Hiring

Consider hiring specialists for certain tasks even if you can clean most items yourself. They’ll have access to better equipment and commercial cleaning products and can get the job done quickly.

Carpet Cleaning

All professional cleaning services should vacuum carpets, but not all will offer deep carpet cleaning, which may be necessary if your carpets are extremely dirty or have stubborn, set-in stains. Carpet steaming services tend to cost $75–$300 per project.

Junk Removal and Hauling

Moving is an excellent time to get rid of items you no longer use. A junk removal company is a great option if you want to save time, need help properly disposing of materials, and require assistance loading and transporting bulky items. In general, junk removal costs anywhere from $60–$150 for a single item to up to $650 for a full truckload. Most people pay between $150–$350 per load.

Our Conclusion

Move-out cleaning is well within the skill set of most homeowners and renters, but it’s often a huge hassle in the context of the rest of the moving process. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service for the best chance of getting your full security deposit back. These pros can get the job done within a few hours and help you pass a landlord’s inspection with flying colors.

FAQ About Move-Out Cleaning Costs

How long does a professional move-out cleaning usually take?

Most cleaning crews can clean an empty home or apartment in two to three hours. However, the cleaning may take longer if your home is very large or has accumulated a lot of grime.

What's the difference between a deep clean and a standard clean?

Deep cleaning a home is more comprehensive and takes longer than standard cleaning. It includes items and areas that don’t often get cleaned, such as walls, baseboards, and the areas underneath or behind appliances. Cleaners may also spend more time sanitizing and disinfecting and may tackle stubborn grime or buildup in areas like the tub and shower.

Should I clean the windows when moving out?

Yes, wipe down all windows when moving out. Use a special window cleaning solution or a damp cloth to remove all dirt and grime from the windows, and use a microfiber cloth to dry the windows.

What is the average cost for a move-out cleaning service?

The average cost for professional move-out cleaning is between $200 and $400. The total cost will depend on where you live, the size of your home, and the number of cleaning services you add to your overall package.

What cleaning supplies do I need for move-out cleaning?

Here are some basic supplies you should have for a move-out clean:

  • All-purpose cleaning spray
  • Broom
  • Duster
  • Dustpan
  • Mop and bucket
  • Paper towels, sponges, or microfiber cloths
  • Toilet brush and cleaner
  • Vacuum

What happens if a renter doesn't clean when they move out?

A landlord will deduct the cost of a professional cleaning service from the security deposit if a renter doesn’t clean their space before they move out, depending on the state of residence.

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