Michelle Brandstetter

When you have a pet, moving out of an apartment can be a serious struggle. Furry friends have an uncanny ability to leave lots of deposit-threatening problems in their wake. Whether you're struggling with a dog that can't avoid the mud or a cat that has a love-hate relationship with the litter box, you'll need to put in hard work to remove their traces.

Here are some cleaning tasks you can do to de-pet your apartment and make sure you get your deposit back, despite whatever your four-legged pals have attempted to destroy:


If you have carpets or rugs, your first task should be giving all of the floors a serious once-over with the vacuum. Pet hair can get deep into carpet, so make sure you're using a vacuum with plenty of sucking power. This won't just pick up your pet's fur, however, it will also help gather up any of the dust and dirt it's been tracking across the floor.

You should also vacuum other parts of your apartment, like your couch or your windowsills. Do you have a long-haired pet and a ceiling fan? I can guarantee that if you've ever run the fan, it's at least a little bit coated in pet hair. How'd it get up there? That's just one of life's great mysteries.

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Clean the Carpet

Once you've vacuumed, you may need to actively clean part or all of the carpet. If you have any spots the pet has soiled during your stay, invest in a pet-specific carpet cleaner. These have enzymes that can break down whatever your furry friend has left behind. They're also designed to remove odors detectable to a cat or dog, so they should definitely satisfy your landlord's senses.

If you're dealing with a particularly tricky stain, look into renting a steam cleaner or even hiring a professional cleaner to get the job done. While this could be pricey, it's likely to cost less than replacing the carpet outright – a job your former landlord will almost certainly send you a bill for.

Search for Tumblefurs

If you have a shedding pet and any hardwood, you're bound to have tumblefurs. These are ever-growing balls of pet fur that bounce around your apartment and settle into corners and beneath furniture. Make an effort to spot these roaming furballs, and throw them away as you're preparing to move. You're going to find more on move-out day: Accept that, and toss them out as needed.

Check Under Pet Places

If your pet has a favorite place to stay, the odds are good that place needs cleaning. Even if it looks fine at a glance, you should make sure to give it a thorough inspection. For example, if your pet likes to sleep in a particular cardboard box, look under the box. There's probably a bunch of pet fur that needs to be swept up.

This is particularly important if you have a cat, as felines have an uncanny knack for leaving hair balls in the one place you never look. If you examine all your pet's favorite places, however, you're more likely to find its weird messes before it's time to leave your apartment.

Get a Petless Friend's Opinion

People with pets are terrible judges of an apartment's cleanliness because they've accepted a certain level of mess into their lives. Once you've cleaned your apartment, invite a friend who doesn't have pets over and ask for his or her honest opinion. He or she should be able to point out any issues you've overlooked in your petblindness.

Vacuum Again

I know it sounds like overkill, but trust me: Once you've done everything else, vacuum at least one more time. In the process of cleaning up the rest of the apartment, you've unearthed all sorts of fur and dust that had settled into place before.

Don't put off vacuuming until last, however, unless you know you have a strong vacuum. Pet hair can easily overwhelm a machine's filters, so it's best to do a little bit at a time and change the bags often.



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