Moving into a new apartment or home is exciting - filled with hope. It’s an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over fresh. It can also be a bit overwhelming. A million things are on your to-do list with insufficient time.

Once you’ve acquired the keys, one of your top priorities should be prepping your new place for move-in day. Like most folks, cleaning is at the top of your list. Whether you’re moving into new construction or a previously occupied space, it’s important to sanitize before you settle in.

Does the thought of cleaning your new apartment overwhelm you? Are you uncertain where to start? Did you know that many maid services Chicago offer move-in cleaning services? A cleaning service can help lessen your burden, leaving you more time to focus on the rest of your to-do list.

If you decide to take on this task yourself, this guide includes everything you need to know to prepare for your apartment move-in.

Why Clean Your Apartment Before Moving In

Many people wait until they’ve moved into their apartment before tackling any cleaning. Whenever possible, we recommend cleaning before moving your belongings into the space. There are several reasons why this is advisable.

Peace of Mind

Your apartment probably looks clean to the naked eye. The rental company may have even cleaned it before giving you your keys. Giving it a deep cleaning yourself ensures it’s properly disinfected, giving you a clean slate. Psychologically, it helps create a warm and inviting home. One that you can feel happy and comfortable in.

It Simplifies Things

There’s no cleaner slate than an empty apartment or home. Once your furniture and belongings fill the space, disinfecting becomes infinitely more difficult. Cleaning ahead of time makes it easier to reach dust and dirt in hard-to-reach places. You'll save time and money without furniture and knick-knacks to move and clean around.

It’s Cheaper

Whether you decide to disinfect your new apartment yourself or hire a Chicago maid service, cleaning ahead of time will save you money. An empty apartment takes less time to clean because there are fewer household items and appliances. You can also make your cleaning supplies stretch further. With a smaller cleaning budget, you can put your money towards more exciting things, like decorating your new home.

Move-In Apartment Cleaning Tips

Before we get into our move-in checklist, we wanted to share some cleaning tips. Follow these for a smoother, more effective cleaning process. If the process feels too daunting, consider enlisting the help of professional cleaning services Chicago.

  • Plan ahead - Save time by gathering your cleaning tools and supplies. Consider each room, ceiling height, and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Take it in steps - It might be tempting to work on one room before moving on to the next, often referred to as “zone cleaning.” Instead, complete one task at a time, starting with dusting. Work top to bottom and towards the door if you prefer zone cleaning.
  • Don’t forget your drains and dishwasher - Dishwashers provide the perfect environment for mold growth, bacteria, and unwanted odors. These areas are often overlooked. Experts recommend cleaning these areas every 3-4 months and caution against using harsh chemicals.
  • Take it from the top - Use gravity as a tool to work smarter. Start at the top, dusting from the ceiling corners down to the baseboards.
  • Work your way towards the door - Always work your way towards the door. This ensures a more meticulous cleaning and sends the dander and dirt back where it belongs.

Apartment Move-In Cleaning Checklist

Now that we’ve reviewed some best practices, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. It’s common to wipe down appliances and clean the bathrooms before moving in. But dirt and grime hide in places many of us never consider. This checklist ensures your new home is properly disinfected and move-in ready.

Disinfect Kitchen and Bathroom Surfaces

The kitchen and bathroom should be your top priority. These are highly-sensitive areas where germs quickly build up. Deep cleaning should be done on all surfaces, including inside the cabinets, drawers, cabinet doors, and handles. The shelf lining should be removed and replaced.

Pro Tip: Insect droppings and eggs can be difficult to detect. We recommend disinfecting the area with a chemical-free product to ensure a safe, clean environment.

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

When cleaning and disinfecting the bathroom, most focus on the obvious - sink, tub, toilet, and shower. The exhaust fan is often overlooked, causing years of dust and grime buildup. Don’t forget to pull back the protective cover and give the fan and cover a good cleaning.

Pro Tip: Add the exhaust fan to your spring cleaning checklist to avoid dirt buildup and maximize efficiency.

Kitchen Appliances

The kitchen is another area that many people fail to disinfect properly. Cleaning cabinet doors and drawers are a great start, but this room is filled with appliances that trap food residue, soap scum, and bacteria.

Start with the refrigerator. Wipe down every surface, paying close attention to shelf connectors, drawers, and baskets. Remove each shelf for proper cleaning. This is a good time to turn your attention to the dishwasher and garbage disposal. Clear the areas of any leftover food particles and disinfect them thoroughly.

Pro Tip: To clean your microwave, add vinegar and baking powder to warm water. Place the bowl in the microwave and turn it on for 3-5 minutes.

Living Space

Now that you’ve sanitized and disinfected the most sensitive areas, it’s time to tackle your living spaces. This includes your bedroom, living room, dining room, etc. Since these rooms don’t have as many nooks and crannies for bacteria to grow, they don’t require as much detailed work.

A proper cleaning, however, may require some elbow grease. If you aren’t up for the task, consider hiring a service that does house cleaning Chicago. Every Fresh Tech Maids technician is trained to ensure your home is free of the previous tenant’s germs. Our technicians clean honestly, using the latest in chemical-free cleaning innovations.

Pro Tip: There’s no better time to deep clean your closet than when it’s empty. Before moving items into your wardrobe, dust out the corners and wipe down all surfaces.

Disinfect Those Germs

While it’s impossible to see them, germs are everywhere. You must sanitize and disinfect all high-touch areas. These include:

  • Door knobs
  • Thermostats
  • Light Switches
  • Locks
  • Dials
  • Buttons

Pro Tip: Did you know that TV remotes are 20 times dirtier than any other household item, including the toilet seat? Remotes should be wiped down regularly.


Don’t forget to include this often overlooked item on your move-in cleaning checklist. Baseboards build dust and pet dander over time, making them a great breeding ground for bacteria. Wipe your baseboards down before moving in, paying particular attention to the entryways, kitchen, and bathroom.

Pro Tip: Not sure how to clean your baseboards? Mix a batch of vinegar cleaning solution and wipe them down with a cloth. An all-purpose cleaner or disinfectant wipe also works well.


Cleaning disrupts dust, so it’s best to leave your floors for last. Sweep, vacuum, and mop your floors to clean the last remnants of the previous tenant’s dirt and germs. Don’t forget to work your way out the door.

Pro Tip: For tile, laminates, and hardwood floors, consider using a steam mop. Rent a carpet cleaner or hire a professional to get your carpets spic and span.

Spring Cleaning

The term “Spring cleaning” is often used for regular household cleaning. While it’s nearly impossible to keep it 100% clean at all times, there are ways to keep your home safe from allergens and pollutants. Our move-in checklist can be used as a guide to help you keep your apartment fresh and clean. Clean high-traffic areas every one to two weeks, and frequently touched regions should be wiped down daily.

Hiring Professional Cleaning Services Chicago

Time is a precious commodity. If getting your new apartment move-in ready feels overwhelming, you may want to consider hiring a professional service. Before committing, we recommend speaking to a representative. Ask about their cleaning processes, products, if they send out a team or individual, and pricing. Most importantly, inquire about their hiring and training processes.

Every Fresh Tech Maids technician goes through a vigorous vetting and training process. We understand that trust is the cornerstone of every relationship and are committed to delivering the best experience. To learn more about our move-in cleaning services or discuss our honest cleaning methods, call us at (847)-392-0888.