Cleaning Apartment Walls When You Move Out


As a form of insurance, most rentals collect a security deposit when renters move in. The security deposit can easily go over a thousand dollars, depending on how much your monthly rent is and if you have any pets. Renters can get deposit back, but only if the apartment has been brought back to the original condition including cleaning the walls, counters, stove and bathroom.

Most move out cleaning is similar to what a renter would do as daily maintenance, but very few people clean their walls on a regular basis. When the furniture is in the room, the walls rarely look dirty, but once you remove the furniture, you can see the difference between the clean portion covered by the furniture and the dirty area exposed to the daily elements. Some apartment dwellers choose to hire a professional to clean apartment, but this can get quite expensive. Others choose to ignore the walls, but you will lose some of the security deposit this way. Instead, cleaning the walls using a simple and effective process is the cheapest way for renters to leave their apartment in the original condition.


Start by gathering your materials. You will need clean rags, at least three towels, dry dust cleaner like Pledge Multipurpose, two buckets, a liquid concentrated all purpose cleaner and long rubber gloves. You may also need WD40 or a step stool.

Remove any large dirt and debris from the wall or surrounding area. Make sure to remove anything from the floor near the walls. Lay a dry towels onto the floor next to the wall. Sit the towels next to each other across the entire wall, slightly overlapping when they meet, so that the floor directly below the wall is completely covered by towels.

Combine the all purpose cleaner with water into one of the buckets. Most all purpose cleaners list the amount of cleaner to water in the directions. In the other bucket, add clean water. Keep the buckets separate so you will know which is which later on.


Put the rubber gloves onto your hands. Spray the dry dust cleaner onto either a rag or the wall directly. Wipe the wall down, removing any dust from the wall. If you have any crayon on the wall, spray WD40 onto a different rag and wipe the wall where the crayon marks are located.

Once the dust has been removed, bring the two buckets over to a corner of the wall. Place a rag into each of the buckets. Take the rag from the bucket with the all purpose cleaner. Start wiping down the wall at the bottom, cleaning about a third of the way up the wall. Wipe the wall in a circular motion. Using the rag from the bucket of clean water, wipe over the same area you cleaned, thoroughly rinsing the area.

Repeat this across the bottom of the wall, working your way all the way across. Once you have completed the bottom, allow the area to dry before moving to the middle of the wall. Repeat along the middle of the wall. If any dirty water drips down onto the clean wall, use the rag from the clean water bucket to wipe it up. Repeat again on the top of the wall. Use a step stool if necessary to reach the top of the wall.

Final Tips

Follow these steps for all four walls in each room of the apartment. Replace the all purpose cleaning solution, clean water and rags as needed. Repeat on any walls as needed.

If you smoked in the apartment, you may need to wash the walls multiple times and it still may not completely remove the stains. You can purchase professional cleaning sponges which may remove the smoke stains, but you need to use this prior to washing the walls and only in a well ventilated area.

These steps will work best on latex paint and most wallpaper, but you should always check in an inconspicuous spot prior to washing your entire wall. If the paint rubs off or if the wallpaper fades, do not continue with this process.