Move-Out Cleaning Cost Guide for Tenants and Landlords

Ever wondered what move-out cleaning should realistically cost? Get the inside scoop on average rates, the property details that influence pricing, and learn to budget accurately when you move out or need to re-rent a unit.

By
Nichole Stohler
|
Last Updated
January 12, 2024
Move-Out Cleaning Cost Guide for Tenants and Landlords

Whether you're a tenant planning to move out and wanting to hire a cleaning service to leave the property in the best condition or a landlord wondering about the cost of cleaning to get your property ready for the next tenant, we've got you covered!

Leaving a rental spotless as a tenant moving out or refreshing it for new occupants as an owner both raise budget questions around professional cleaning. In this article, we’ll explore the key factors influencing that cost so you can plan accordingly.

By looking at variables like property size, desired services, and the extent of the cleaning required, you'll be able to accurately budget your move out cleaning cost. We’ll also explore average market rates to give you an idea of the spending range you can expect. From there, you can make decisions around your required cleaning levels based on condition, desired results, and affordability factors.

If you want the full picture on budgeting for move-out cleaning costs, let's take a look at the bottom-line impact.

Factors affecting move-out cleaning cost

Getting a rental property move-in ready after someone moves out takes time and money — but just how much should you expect to spend on professional cleaning? As a landlord, you know that a deep cleaning, appliance checks, and maintenance are key tasks between tenants.

As a tenant, thoroughly cleaning before you leave a property also carries costs but likely saves you money in potential rental deposit deductions down the road.

Move-out cleaning rates can vary widely depending on the property size, level of cleaning required, and location. In 2024, the average total cost of moving across the U.S. is $360, but let's take a look at the main factors cleaning companies consider when pricing this service.

Size of the home

The size of the property is one of the biggest factors in the cost of move-out cleaning. Larger properties generally require more time, effort, and resources to clean thoroughly. Consider the square footage of your whole house or rental unit to help you estimate the cleaning cost.

Condition of the property

The condition your property is in before the cleaning service providers come can affect the overall cost. If the property is well-maintained and relatively clean, the cleaning process may be less time-consuming and cost less. But if the property requires extensive cleaning due to neglect or damage, move out cleaning services will take additional time and effort — and cost more.

Type of property

The type of rental property impacts basic move out cleaning costs. Condos, apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes have different layouts and features that affect pricing. Apartment buildings require cleaning of common areas like lobbies, hallways, and laundry rooms. Standalone houses need attention to exterior spaces like yards, patios, and garages.

Services

The specific services you require for your move-out cleaning will impact the cost. Standard cleaning services often include dusting, vacuuming, mopping, bathroom and kitchen cleaning, and surface wiping. If you need additional services like carpet cleaning, window washing, or deep cleaning of specific areas, this typically bears an additional cost.

Labor

The labor required to complete the cleaning job is another factor affecting the cost. Some cleaning companies charge hourly rates, while others may offer fixed pricing based on the scope of work.

Try to be as transparent as possible with the cleaning company about the extent of the work you need done. If the cleaners discover that the property needs more work than you originally let on, like removing stains or dealing with stubborn dirt, the cost of the move out clean will increase at the cleaner's discretion.

Location

Different regions may have varying rates for cleaning services due to dynamics like market demand, local labor costs, or the cost of living. Urban areas typically have higher cleaning rates compared to rural or less populated areas.

Standard cleaning vs. Deep cleaning

When prepping your rental for new tenants or hiring cleaning services for your move-out, you'll choose between standard move-out cleaning or deeper cleaning options. But what's the difference?

A standard clean tackles the basics. Cleaners will wipe down and dust surfaces, vacuum and mop floors, and clean the kitchen and bathrooms. It provides a decently maintained home with a freshening-up.

Deep cleaning, on the other hand, is a whole production involving scrubbing every surface and removing layers of grime built up over time. A deep clean goes the extra mile, extracting dingy spills from floor cracks, eliminating soap scum from tile joints, brushing dust out of window tracks. It's a house cleaning that returns a neglected or heavily used property to a like-new sheen, ready to sparkle for the next renters.

Choosing the type of move out cleaning service you should get comes down to your rental's starting condition and how thoroughly you'll need to refresh it.

Move-out cleaning additional services costs

A basic cleaning typically covers only a certain set of tasks, meaning that depending on your specific needs, you may need to enlist additional services to get the property back to its original condition and ready for new tenants. Some of the move-out cleaning additional services that you should consider are:

Carpet cleaning

Carpets gather dirt, stains, and odors over a rental's lifespan. Professional cleaners use industrial equipment and solutions to deep clean what regular vacuuming misses. Their methods extract ground-in soil and grime to improve the appearance of your property.

What’s the potential cost? Carpet cleaning prices usually fall between $120-$240 — the final number depends on home size and carpet condition. More rooms equal higher quotes, as do heavily soiled high-traffic areas. Deep stains will also drive up costs due to specialized spot treatments house cleaning services need to apply.

Window cleaning

Smudge-free windows instantly brighten any rental and let in more natural light. A professional cleaner uses commercial-grade equipment and methods to eliminate dirt, streaks, and film from interior and exterior glass. Their expertise removes grime that regular cleaning can miss.

What does the average price range for window cleaning look like? Expect to pay $80-$300 depending on the number and size of windows — more panes means your cost will be higher. Hard-to-access second story windows also increase costs due to the extra equipment needed. The cost is worth it, since window cleaning can make a strong visual impact for your refreshed rental property.

Appliance cleaning

Appliances attract layers of splatters, drips, and spills over time. Cleaning professionals tackle baked-on grease, food gunk, and hidden crumb build-up that everyday wipe-downs miss. They detail the inside and outside of refrigerators, ovens, and stovetops for a like-new finish.

What are the charges per appliance? About $10-$40, depending on the size and cleaning intensity needed.

Blinds cleaning

Blinds often collect dust, pet hair, and other particles, making cleaning difficult. Professional blind cleaning services have the expertise to remove dirt and grime from blinds without harming materials.

What factors impact the final bill? Size, fabric, and current condition of the blinds will add anywhere from $5-$10 to your total cleaning costs.

Hardwood floor polishing

Hardwood loses its shine to scratches, scuffs, and wear with heavy use. Professional cleaning service providers have industrial buffers and polishes to revive the natural luster of hardwood floors.

What’s the typical range per square footage for hardwood floor polishing? Somewhere from $100-$300, depending on the current condition and size.

Tile and grout cleaning

Grout lines readily trap dirt, mold, mildew, and grime over a rental's lifetime. Cleaning service providers use industrial-strength cleaners and tools to extract years of built-up gunk from porcelain, ceramic, and stone surfaces.

What’s the total for a typical grout cleaning? Expect to invest $100-$200 depending on the overall size and state of surfaces.

Garage cleaning

Garages become dumping grounds over time, accumulating dust, cobwebs, debris and leftover belongings. Professionals clear out and dispose of any remaining items before tackling built-up dirt and oil staining. They can sweep, pressure wash and detail the space to meet your standards for cleanliness.

What's the average price for garage cleaning? Get ready to spend $70-$200 depending on the garage's square footage and current condition.

Junk removal

If you have unwanted items that you need to dispose of during a move-out, a professional junk removal service can come to the rescue. They can safely and responsibly dispose of furniture, appliances, and other leftover items that you need removed.

What's the average cost for rental clear-out? Expect to invest $60-$370 depending on volume and types of goods needing removal.

DIY vs. Hiring a professional

When you need to handle move-out cleaning for the property, one major decision is whether to do the task yourself or hire a professional cleaning service. Let's weigh the pros and cons of these options to help you decide.

Doing it yourself

The DIY approach to move-out cleaning saves you money on the total cost of moving out or getting a rental ready to re-rent. Some of the advantages of this approach for house move out cleaning include:

  • Cost savings: You can save on professional cleaning fees by cleaning the property yourself. This can be particularly beneficial if you have the time, resources, and cleaning supplies to do the job well.
  • Familiarity with the property: For both tenants and landlords, you know the property's layout, condition, and any specific areas that need special attention. You can use this information to concentrate on those areas and clean them thoroughly to meet your standards.
  • Flexibility and control: Cleaning the rental property yourself gives you complete control over the process. You can prioritize tasks, use cleaning products you trust, and allocate your own time according to your schedule.

Hiring a professional

Even though it can increase the actual cost of getting your property ready for the next tenant, there are advantages to hiring professional cleaning services, such as:

  • Time and convenience:  When preparing for a move out, cleaning may fall lower on your priority list behind packing, changing utilities, etc. Hiring professionals frees your time to handle those logistics. As a landlord managing properties, maintenance and listing the property requires your attention, too. Outsourcing deep cleaning creates time for turnover priorities like showings.
  • Expertise and equipment: Professional cleaners have the skills, knowledge, and specialized equipment to tackle even the toughest cleaning challenges. They understand how to handle different surfaces and materials with proper care and cleaning techniques.
  • Consistent standards: Professional cleaning services that specialize in move out clean services know how to meet industry standards and expectations. They are familiar with the specific requirements needed to get the property in pristine condition.

Save money on move-out cleaning costs

You may wonder how you can reduce the cleaning cost of move-out cleaning. Here are some tips to save money without compromising on the quality of the cleaning.

Tip #1: Be prepared

You can save money on move-out cleaning by assessing the property's condition and creating a plan of action. Take note of specific areas that require extra attention and determine if you can handle them on your own or if you need more thorough cleaning.

Tip #2: Have a move-out cleaning checklist ready

Create a move-out cleaning checklist to help you stay organized and make sure that you don't miss any important tasks. For landlords, you can use this checklist as part of your ongoing operational process for apartment move out cleaning criteria.

Tip #3: Set expectations

If you decide to hire a professional cleaning service, you should establish clear expectations upfront. Communicate your specific requirements and standards to the cleaning service to avoid unnecessary additional charges. Clearly outline the scope of work, including any areas that require special attention or detailed cleaning.

Ask the right questions to hire the right cleaners

Now that you have a move-out cleaning checklist and know what you need for the move out clean, it's time to talk with prospective cleaning providers. Key questions to ask to find the right company include:

Service offerings

  • What do you include in a standard move-out cleaning?
  • What extra services do you recommend and how will they impact cost?
  • How long will the move-out cleaning service take?

Cleaning crew

  • Are all your cleaners fully licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How many cleaners will be in my home at once?
  • Can you give references from past customers?

Quality assurance

  • Is there a money-back guarantee?
  • What recourse do I have for addressing any cleaning deficiencies found later?

Process and materials

  • Do you follow a standard operating procedure for move-out cleans? Can you provide a sample checklist?
  • What types of cleaning equipment do you supply? Should I have any on hand?
  • What commercial-grade cleaning solutions will you use?

Move-out cleaning service cost

Move-out cleaning prices can vary based on factors like size, condition, region, and cleaning extent. Understanding average costs helps both tenants and landlords appropriately budget for this transition.

For tenants, investing time for a thorough clean or money for hiring professional help leaves a positive final impression of the property. It also increases your chances of getting the full amount of your security deposit back after moving out. This goodwill also allows landlords to provide positive references to your future rental applications.

For landlords, hiring an intensive cleaning service maintains the appeal of the property and provides smooth unit turnovers between tenants. Presenting a clean rental space can help preserve the property's perceived value and marketability for future leasing.

Whether you're a tenant or a landlord, setting realistic expectations for cleaning costs and services has tangible benefits for all parties involved.

Move-out cleaning cost FAQs

How much does move-out cleaning typically cost?

The average move-out cleaning cost a cleaning company charges is around $360, but it can vary depending on different factors like whether you need basic cleaning or deep cleaning services.

How long does a move-out cleaning take?

The time it takes for move-out cleaning depends on the size of the property and the extent of cleaning needed. For cleaners to do a thorough job, it typically ranges from a few hours to a full day.

Can I deduct move-out cleaning costs from the tenant's security deposit?

Yes — in many cases, you can. You can deduct from the security deposit if the tenant does not leave the property in a clean and satisfactory condition. Be sure to adhere to local laws and communicate these deductions to the tenant.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

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