Cleaning a rental property after a tenant has moved out can be a time consuming, challenging job, especially if the tenant didn’t do a thorough job of cleaning before moving. For landlords left with the task, the goal is to get the rental property as clean and as fast as possible. The following 20 cleaning tips for landlords will help get the job done quacking and efficiently.
1. Repair Damages
Do a walk-through, making a list of anything that needs to be repaired, whether it’s tightening/replacing towel bars, fixing a leaky faucet, gouges in vinyl that may call for it being replaced, holes in walls, broken window screens, etc. Then decide whether you want to “do it yourself” or hire a professional handyman and/or cleaning service.
2. Cleaning the Walls
First, dust away those mysterious webs that seem to appear magically on the walls. Then, if the walls aren’t in need of painting, wipe away fingerprints, etc., with a combination of 1/4 cup white vinegar and a quart of water. A good all-purpose cleaner will work as well. For tough spots like those caused by crayons/markers, etc., put a dab of WD40 on a cotton cloth and gently rub it off. You can also make a paste out of baking soda and water and achieve the same results.
3. Clean Ceiling Fans
One of the easiest ways to clean ceiling fans is using a microfiber style duster on an extension pole (available at most home improvement stores). If you want to try something different that’s also highly effective, clean ceiling fans with the same vinegar/water combination mentioned above (or an all-purpose cleaner), spraying it inside an old pillowcase. Next, slip the pillowcase over the fan extension/blade, then, pull the pillowcase off while you gently apply pressure on the upper side of the fan blade. This way the pillowcase not only wipes the top clean, but catches falling dust.
4. Cleaning the Carpeting
This is a job you want to hire a professional to do because when tenants move out, the carpet usually needs a thorough deep cleaning. That’s if the carpeting doesn’t need to be replaced.
5. Other Flooring
Typically, with wood flooring, vacuuming or dry mopping is all that is required to eliminate surface debris and dirt. If the floors are made from polyurethane, a mop dampened with a bit of dishwashing liquid and water will do the trick, and it’s also an effective way to cleaning vinyl flooring.
6. Cabinets and Drawers
Clean the cabinets with a soft cloth and a mild cleanser. Also, clean any visible stains inside the cabinets and drawers, wiping off or replacing any drawer liners if applicable.
7. Getting Rid of Common Odors
Lingering cooking, smoking or pet odors can be challenging to get rid of. If cleaning the walls and carpeting didn’t eliminate all of the odors, air the place out while you work. Another handy tip is to soak a cotton ball with vanilla extract, put it in the vacuum cleaner bag and vacuum. It will leave a nice, light, lingering scent.
8. Greasy Stove Top Stains
A quick, safe and fairly easy way to clean greasy stove top stains is to spray them with vinegar, then sprinkle with baking soda. The combination will start a foaming reaction, after which you simply wipe it clean with a damp sponge, followed by buffing it with a clean, dry cloth.
9. Garbage Disposal
If the kitchen has a faint odor of rotting food, it’s probably the garbage disposal. If this is the case, tossing cut up citrus fruit like lemons, limes, or just their rinds into the disposal and grinding them up will do a great job of deodorizing it. To sharpen the blades, pass a few ice cubes through the grinding process, about a dozen. The ice will also congeal any grease in the disposal, breaking it up.
There are a few ways to clean the oven and which works best depends on how well the oven has been looked after. A good cleaning method is to put a pot that’s oven safe, filled with water, in the oven and heat to 450º for about 20 to 25 minutes – the steam created by the water loosens the grease and dirt. Let the oven cool down then wipe clean.
Starting with an empty dishwasher put a cup of white vinegar in a container (dishwasher safe), and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher and run through a hot water cycle. This method washes away grime and grease and eliminates musty odors as well. You can also sprinkle about a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher. Then run a hot water cycle – this method also helps remove stains.
Bathroom Cleaning Tips
12. Getting Rid of Soap Scum/Hard Water Stains
If the build-up isn’t too bad, using a combination of equal parts white vinegar/water should do the trick. Place the contents in a spray bottle, spray the hard waters stains or soap scum, leave for about 5 minutes and wipe clean. There are products on the market that can handle tougher soap scum/water stains as well.
13. Cleaning the Toilet
Most over the counter, all-purpose cleaners will do a good job of cleaning the toilet. If you’re dealing with hard water deposits, pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit overnight before scrubbing clean.
14. Shower heads
If a shower head is clogged, removing and immersing it in white vinegar overnight will clear it. If the shower head doesn’t unscrew, simply fill a small sized plastic bag with the vinegar, duct tape it to the shower head and leave overnight.
15. Removing Mildew
Sprinkle the mold/mildew with baking soda and scrub with a brush. For small, hard to reach spots use a toothbrush to scrub the baking soda. Spraying mold with bleach or a bleach base cleanser will work as well, but it can be toxic.
16. Unclog Drains
Besides using products that are focused on unclogging drains, the following cleaning tip is a non-toxic option.
• Pour a pot of boiling hot water down the drain
• Add a 1/2 a cup of baking soda
• Pour in a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water
• Cover the drain and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes
• Pour in another pot of boiling hot water
Miscellaneous Cleaning Tips
17. Rust Stains
Rust stains can be extremely difficult to get rid of and based on the severity of the stain, you might need to try a few options. Products like CLR work great at removing rust, lime and calcium buildup. A more natural solution would be making a paste out of lemon and salt and scrubbing at the rust stain with a brush.
Spray with a commercial cleaner or a vinegar and water solution, wiping the windows clean with crumpled up newspaper, paper towels or use a rubber bladed squeegee. Before you start, wipe the windows down with a soft microfiber cloth to remove some of the debris if they’re really dirty. For higher windows, you’ll need an extension pole with a squeegee/microfiber cloth attached, possibly a ladder and safety gear.
19. This and That
Don’t forget to inspect and/or replace air or furnace filters, light bulbs, window screens, etc., in addition to inspecting the hot water heater, air conditioning unit and carbon monoxide units if applicable, to make sure that they’re in good working condition.
20. Hire Professionals
Cleaning a rental/lease property yourself is rarely a good idea, and in most cases can’t deliver “move in ready” results. Reputable cleaning services will ensure that the property is “move in ready”, from the kitchen appliances to the carpeting to the skirting boards, to windows. Basically, every little detail will be addressed.
Use the 20 cleaning tips for landlords listed here, making it a priority to impress tenants as they walk through that front door. It’s the perfect way to set the stage for the perfect landlord-tenant relationship.