How to clean up after pets before you move

In four years of renting with a large breed dog I've learned that a landlord may allow pets, but that doesn't mean he loves animals so much that he'll forgive you if your pet damages his rental. In fact, pets are kind of a racket for landlords. Many charge a security deposit plus an additional pet deposit, and they're all too happy to take deductions. The best thing you can do when you move out is to look at the rental from the point of view of someone who doesn't have pets. If you didn't have pets, you'd probably notice small scratches or tears a lot more. Here's what you should look out for (and clean up) before you move out.


Cats and dogs can do a lot of damages to floors. Before you move out, sweep or vacuum up any pet hairs. If possible, sweep and vacuum twice to make sure you get everything. Then look for spots. If you notice any stains, treat them.


Pets, especially cats, leave behind an odor. As a pet owner, you may not notice the smell, but anyone who doesn't own pets will (and that can include your landlord.) If you have carpet, use a room deodorizing carpet spray before you vacuum. Let the spray sit for several hours or overnight to soak up the smell. If you have hardwood, use a mixture of ¼ cup white vinegar and six cups of water. The vinegar will absorb most of the pet smell.

Door Frames and Baseboards

Pets love to scratch up the corners of doors and the edges of baseboards. If the scratches are small enough, you can fix them yourself. Just sand the area with a fine-grain sandpaper and then repaint over the scratch. If the area is large, take photos of the damage. Your landlord will charge you for repairs, but a photo will ensure you can dispute the deduction if he overcharges you.


Make sure the blinds are all straight and facing the same way. If you notice any bent blinds, try to pop them out with your hands. If you cannot repair the blinds, consider replacing them yourself. You can buy a set of cheap blinds from any hardware store and your landlord may charge you more if he has to replace them.

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