Dog and house cleaning equipment

You love pets, and you luckily found an apartment complex that accepts them. You had to pay an extra security deposit, however, and that will only be refunded if you leave the apartment in its original condition. Since your pet has had a few accidents, you’re wondering how to thoroughly clean your place before the landlord’s final inspection.

With rent prices on the rise in big cities like Chicago and even in smaller cities like Austin and Denver, it’s important to take the right cleaning steps to ensure you don’t lose any additional dollars.

Get an Independent Observer

No, this isn’t a labor negotiation where you need a mediator, but your nose can get used to certain odors, and even if your apartment smells like a wet dog, you may not notice it. But your finicky friend might, and she can probably pinpoint those trouble areas. And, if she says, “bro, your whole house smells really funky,” you are going to have to do some major cleaning.

Start at the Top

Don’t clean the floor first if your precious kitty has peed on the stovetop. You’ll have to hit those burners with a good kitchen cleaning product, and the floor might get wet as you work your way from the cooktop and cabinets to the floor. Don’t clean the floor until you’ve cleaned everything above it.

But Wait

DIY carpet cleaning products—especially those cans of slippery foam that you buy at the supermarket—might be good for a spot stain or if you catch your beloved pug in the act and can move quickly. Trying to clean an entire carpet with a wet towel and a bunch of aerosol cans probably won’t work. And don’t think that you can get away with the rentable carpet cleaning units you’ll also find at the grocery store, as you’ll pay lots for fancy chemicals, and you’ll have some genuine greywater that you’ll have to dispose of many times. Instead, call a good carpet cleaner, pay the dollars, and enjoy a clean carpet.

Fix It

If your cat used the built-in desk as a scratching post, go to the hardware or big box store and see what kind of wood renewal stuff they sell. Scratches can be filled in and covered up.

Look Under the Bed

If you have never vacuumed under your bed, it’s never too late to start. Pet hair has a habit of hanging out below your box spring, and you can’t do a proper cleanup without moving the bed. Savvy landlords will get you every time for that hidden pet hair, so make sure to remove any pet hair you find.


Many of us are guilty of hoarding tons of unnecessary items in our houses. From old magazines to clothes we never wear to CDs we’ve long forgotten about, we all have far more clutter piling up than we care to admit. And let’s not forget about old, chewed up, or broken pet toys! Moving out is the perfect excuse for your whole family (including your pets!) to declutter. If you need some expert guidance about how to start the process, here are the top 20 things to get rid of when moving.

Call the Man

After you have totally cleaned your apartment, and before the mandatory inspection date, give the landlord a call and ask him to do a pre-inspection. He may be so impressed with your clean rooms that he’ll just mention a few places that need attention. Then, if there is something major, you’ll have time to correct it.

We do love our pets, and it probably isn’t necessary to call the hazmat team for a post-pet-disaster cleanup. That said, some serious attention to proactive cleaning can help get your security deposit back sooner than later. And since your doggy was probably a professional mess-maker, don’t be afraid to call professionals to help you get the place in security deposit refundable condition.

Maybe that money you’re about to save can be put toward a down payment on your first home; you never know!