Sure, when tenants move out, they are supposed to leave behind a clean apartment. But apartment building owners know the reality all too well—either nothing gets cleaned or the cleaning job is so slapdash that the tenant might as well have done nothing at all.
You can use that damage deposit to hire a housekeeper, but if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, you can save money with cleaning supplies and time as your only overhead.
Here are six tips from professional housekeepers to get apartments clean without breaking your budget.
Professional Cleaning Tips for Landlords
1. Follow a pattern when cleaning
The key to a thoroughly clean apartment is to divide the unit into sections and clean one at a time instead of tackling different sections at random. Housekeepers generally clean from left to right and from top to bottom to avoid missing any spots. Cleaning walls and shelves first lets you take care of any debris that falls when you clean the floor.
2. Use fewer cleaning solutions, more rags and gloves
A thorough cleaning doesn’t require a large arsenal of cleaning products. Pick one for glass, one for surfaces, and one for floors. Also, after application, give the product time to break down dirt before wiping.
Old-fashioned rubber gloves are your best bet for trouble-free cleaning. They protect your hands from cleaning solution chemicals and let you clean goopy messes more easily (while reducing the ick factor). Improved grip makes watery, slippery jobs simpler and less frustrating.
3. Clean small floors with cloths, not mops
Cleaning floors by hand does a better job of removing dirt, but it’s not practical for large rooms or when cleaning several apartments. Hand cleaning does make sense for small floors, such as bathrooms, closets and New York City kitchens. It’s also better for cleaning nooks and other hard-to-reach places that a mop can’t access.
4. Tackle windows from the outside
It may be tempting to clean windows armed with a bottle of glass cleaner and a roll of paper towels—but that leads to streaking and moves dirt across the window rather than removing it. Instead, use a foaming cleaner, such as a solution made with dishwashing liquid, with a sponge, and then wipe windows clean with a squeegee.
5. Clean ceilings, floors and baseboards
Dust the ceilings and walls, in that order, and use extended mops to evict dust bunnies from the corners. Not only will these often-neglected areas be clean, but this task also prevents dust from collecting throughout the unit, saving more time down the road.
6. Don’t forget to clean light switches and fixtures
Typically, light switches and lighting fixtures, as well as door jambs, are neglected. Use a damp microfiber cloth for doors and switches. For light fixtures and ceiling fans, feather dusters and cloths make it easy to remove dust that can otherwise spread throughout an apartment.
May all your tenants leave their units spotless, but if they don’t, we hope these tips make housekeeping a bit less onerous.