When a student comes to the end of their residence, there can be a whole range of cleaning to catch up on. This is often with universities and colleges where students are living in prescribed accommodation or separate student digs with others, and at the end of the academic year or terms where there are key points of change.
Effective cleaning is of course important anyway, but where a home or room is let from a landlord or other establishment, then this is where handing back the room in a good clean condition is key. These end-of-tenancy scenarios usually state that everything has to be handed back in the good clean condition of when they found it, fair wear and tear maybe being allowed.
This is really a combination of a general clean and more specific end-of-tenancy clean for other kinds of general letters although with a few unique twists and turns to bear in mind. Student life can be messy to say the least, which is fine so long as it's kept on top of by the end, but the dynamics of others being involved and nagging landlords can make things interesting.
So here are a few student cleaning tips for those looking at a student clean-up. Whether you're a student needing to do this, a landlord needing to ensure if happens correctly, a worried friend or family member wondering if they have to step in and help, or a middle-man like a letting agent - this will help everyone get more of a handle on students end-of-tenancy cleaning:
Remember that a deposit held by a landlord could be kept if things aren't cleaned up correctly. For certain short-term residential leases this has to be kept separately from a landlord and a fair procedure adhered to in order to release it. Therefore not only check what the requirements are to release but that it has been correctly noted in the first place.
Ideally work with the landlord or letting agent to agree what needs doing and when, and then when actual monies will be agreed. There may be an initial inventory showing the original moving-in condition to refer to. Make sure cleaning isn't duplicated by a landlord sending in cleaners afterwards for just a few small extras like a carpet clean and instead getting the whole place unnecessarily cleaned up as well.
2. The End
Get a final definition of when things come to an end. This may sound too simple to be true, but it can save a lot of confusion afterwards.
So if there is a final hand-back date to the landlord, then make sure each student actually leaves well before then and gives ample time to clean up afterwards. You may need to focus on each individual room first, and then tackle the communal living areas last.
Then look at how this will all be determined as acceptable with the landlord, maybe a day or so before the agreed end to give time for people to then go in and finish off any other bits missed.
3. A Load of Rubbish
Removing rubbish is always a problem anyway, particularly so with student life. There can be tonnes of items left to get rid of, from old and broken items, general cardboard boxes and rubbish, and all those little extras such as old pizza boxes under the sofa.
Not only make sure it's all accounted for, including anything stashed away in store cupboards, but then work out how it will all practically be taken away. You may need a separate trip to the tip with extra bags and items, in which case transport will need to be arranged with students not tending to have their own cars to do so.
Maybe you can all chip in and pay for a special collection, and check to see if anything can be recycled not only to save the planet but be more cost effective.
4. Cleaning Products and Equipment
The good news is that you don't have to get carried away with things, which is good news with students who are on a budget and will tend to favour straight-forward discounted goods from a local supermarket, for example.
So stick with the basics, a good cloth, ideally microfibre, a good general all-purpose spray, and something a little bit stronger for, say, the toilet and areas like the oven and taps. A good old mop and bucket is helpful for floors, and of course some good gloves and possibly apron if you're getting really stuck in. Of yes, and lots of bin bags of course as well.
Hopefully you have a vacuum cleaner anyway, but make sure it's up for a big clean up, and you don't need to get any extra bags or even clean the vacuum itself.
On a practical note, you may need to get everyone chipping in with this on a shared basis, unless everyone just does themselves, and be careful of automatically using any existing items which you don’t know the history of and may have been around for years.
5. The Extra Mile
A quick flick around with a hoover and duster probably won't cut the mustard, and you're going to have to go deeper.
Actually start from the top and ideally with a long feather duster get rid of cobwebs etc near the ceiling, and remember to check areas like picture rails, curtains and rails, lampshades, and windows and sills.
Back at ground level, focus on doors, handles and mirrors to thoroughly wipe off all smears and stains, and always give the skirting a wipe down. It's amazing what good old hot water and cloth with some elbow grease can achieve.
Of course you have all the hidden and special areas like kitchen cupboards and bedroom wardrobes and desks to include, and all the equipment like microwaves and ovens, and apparatus like taps with lime scale that will need that extra TLC.
And don't forget to move items of furniture to cheek underneath and behind them.
To finish off you then have floors, often the last job on the list. Hopefully this is simple vacuum cleaning and mopping, remembering to get right into the edges and underneath things.
6. The Heavy Mob
Even with a good deep clean, there may be things just too much to cope with, in which case you need to bring in some heavy-mob help. Whether this is a cleaning company or some well-researched friends and family, this can help save the day.
Maybe the oven needs a full oven clean, or the carpets a separate carpet clean. There may be stains in certain areas as well, plus upholstery like sofas and curtains to have looked at.
A real nasty one may be the drains and any smells and blockages that you come across not for the faint hearted, with special substances to clear them being the first point of call.
You may also come across repairs and damage that border on some good DIY and handyman skills, whether new bulbs, a loose door handle and lock, and damaged areas of wall once things like posters come off them.
7. The Outside Areas
Don't forget any outside areas in the frenzy of getting the inside ones perfected.
This could be just straight forward paths and rear yards, with all kinds of dumped rubbish and old bikes, cigarette ends and after-party mess, and even neglected grass and planted areas that need a bit of gardening green fingers.
Remember any other hidden areas as well, such as garages and sheds, basements and cellars, and even lofts which might have items stashed in there.
8. Who Has What
Student living is often a communal experience with everyone having their own items here there and everywhere.
This needs to be bottomed out from the start, and who will be taking what and when, in which case they don't have to be cleaned for this purpose, with each person then often dealing with separately. It may be worth labelling these up so everyone knows just what is left to be done.
Then, make sure every little detail is noted, including individual cutlery and plates in the kitchen area which will probably need a good final wash after everything else, and then neatly placed back.
9. The Final Bling Factor
Okay, you're about there and things are taking shape. You hopefully have confidence that a proper job has been done, and therefore as a final step just make sure it looks the part now.
These little finishing touches can make a huge difference and provide a great first impression on others, and finishing off all the hard work so far. So it might be using smelly sprays as a final wipe around, or even nice smelling scents and candles.
Also remember the visual impact as well, so a nice bunch of flowers possibly, and everything neat and tidy afterwards rather than just slung around.
Easily Cleaning Up the Aftermath of Student Life
So when looking at getting a student pad nice and clean, these 9 tips will help make sure things are correctly covered. Whether it's the nitty gritty actual cleaning and what needs doing, or within the context of deposits and working with others and their expectations, these will help keep things on track.
And who knows, you might actually enjoy the process.