If you're about to move out of your apartment, I'm sure you are quite stressed. Moving is an extremely stressful process. It's even worse when you are concerned about getting your security deposit back.

Getting your full deposit back is difficult since your landlord will likely need to use some of it to finish your move out process. You can increase your odds by doing most of the process yourself, though. This includes cleaning your apartment, repairing damages, and cleaning your carpets.

Follow this checklist to help guide you towards a larger security deposit refund, and share it on Facebook with the link at the bottom if it helped you!

General Areas

  • Carpets cleaned

    The carpets need to be freshly cleaned when you move out. If you don't take care of this yourself, your landlord will do it for you. They will then take the cost (typically plus a convenience fee) out of your deposit. By scheduling it yourself, you can save the convenience fee.

    I also strongly recommend using us for your carpet cleaning needs. We already handle the carpet cleaning for nearly all of the student-housing market in Blacksburg and Radford. Because of this, you can be sure that your landlord won't choose to have the carpet cleaned a second time (taken from your security deposit) due to a lack of trust in the carpet cleaning process.

  • Holes in the wall repaired

    If you have accidentally knocked holes into the walls, they will need to be repaired. This also includes pin holes from posters.

  • If the apartment is furnished, the furniture might need to be cleaned as well

    Consult your landlord about this. Not all landlords will require this step.

  • Windows cleaned on both sides

    Thoroughly clean the windows on the inside and the outside. There should be no smudges or dirty spots on the windows.

  • Ceiling fans cleared of dust

    Dust accumulates on the top of ceiling fan blades. The ceiling fan blades will need to be cleared of any dust.

  • Walls and corners cleared of cobwebs and dust

    We all know how cobwebs build up in the corners. Use a feather duster to remove them.

  • Thoroughly dust apartment

    Try to make your apartment surfaces pass the "white glove test."

  • Scuffs on walls fixed and/or painted

    Black scuff marks will be immediately noticed when the inspection is performed on your apartment. Clean them off the walls (or touch up paint over them) to help the walls look great.

  • Light fixtures cleaned and dead bugs remvoed from them

    This will be one of the first things management notices when they walk your apartment. If your light fixtures are clean and looking good, it will go a long way towards helping you get your security deposit back.

  • All furniture, trash, and other belongings removed from the apartment

    The apartment needs to be completely empty when you leave.

  • Carpet damages repaired

    Consult with your landlord first. If there are tears, bleach stains, or other damages to your carpet, your landlord might expect you to pay for the repairs.

  • New stains removed from carpets

    You won't be held responsible for stains on the carpet that were listed on your move-in report. New stains, however, will be your responsibility. Try to have these removed at the time of your carpet cleaning.


  • Refrigerator cleaned

    Remove all food from the refrigerator. It should be completely empty. Then thoroughly clean it so that it looks and smells fresh.

  • Clean counter tops

    Clean and remove any stains from counter tops. Coffee stains might be particularly difficult to remove.

  • Clean underneath, behind, and on top of the refrigerator

    This is an important point. I have heard stories of deposits being withheld because the tenant failed to do this. Make sure to move the refrigerator and clean all around it.

  • Oven and stove top cleaned

    This might be the hardest step. Make sure to clean out the drip pans (or replace them if necessary). Fully clean any food droppings from the oven as well.

  • Tile and hard floors swept and mopped

    Most of the time, this is enough to make the hard floors look good. If this isn't cutting it, however, you might need to have them professionally cleaned.


  • Mirrors and metallic surfaces cleaned and shiny

    Use Windex or a similar product to clean the mirrors and metallic surfaces such as the faucet. They should all look perfectly clean and shiny.

  • Toilets and sinks cleaned

    It's a dirty job, but it has to be done. There should be no stains in the toilet bowl as well.

  • Soap scum removed from shower and bath fixtures

    This might require some scrubbing. Use strong and appropriate cleaners to make this step easier.

Following this checklist will go a long way towards helping you get your deposit back. The best rule of thumb to go by is to remember that your landlord will want the apartment to be in the same condition it was when you moved in.