Make Pre-PCS Cleaning a Breeze with this Checklist

​​woman cleaning large window

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In this article:


There’s no doubt that cleaning the house for move-out is not on the list of fun things to do. This quick checklist will make the home squeaky clean and prepped for PCS in record time!

To simplify this process, divide the checklist into high-traffic/highly loved areas and every-room basics.

Cleaning Your Home's High Traffic Areas

The most-loved and highly utilized rooms will likely need the most attention and a deeper clean. For those who live in military housing, place any potential work orders needed to get the house in full working order. 

1) Kitchen Clean Up

Start with the house's most used, and probably messiest, room: the kitchen. Even if a household serves three meals daily, it's seldom limited to just three. The reality is that the kitchen never closes, so expect to spend some time cleaning here.

  • Go shelf by shelf and wash the refrigerator interior with lukewarm water and a microfiber cloth.
  • Flex those cleaning muscles and scour the oven and racks with baking soda and water or an oven cleaning spray. Those with a self-cleaning oven should count themselves lucky and set it to clean. 
  • Shimmy these hefty appliances away from the wall to fit a small vacuum or broom behind them, collecting the hidden crumbs, lurking dust bunnies, and forgotten toys. 
  • Throw a cleaning tablet into the empty dishwasher and run it. When the cycle is complete, wipe down any residue and clean out the filter at the bottom.

Take a break from the heavy lifting and give each cabinet door and drawer pull a good wipe down. Then, put on some gloves and shift the attention to the range hood. 

  • When tackling the built-up grease on the hood above your cooktop, fill a bucket with boiling or hot water and stir in a good squirt of degreasing dish soap, such as Dawn. Use a non-abrasive sponge or rag to scrub the hood until clean. Follow the horizontal grain of the hood and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.
  • Use a similar tactic to degrease the hood vent filters. Stir ¼ cup of baking soda and a squirt of dish soap in a bucket of very hot water. Soak the filters for about 15 minutes. Scrub with an old toothbrush or kitchen scrub brush, rinse, and air dry.

Following regular kitchen faucet use, wipe down the sink hardware to reduce scaly stains. If limescale has built up, scrub the faucet and knobs with the vinegar and baking soda paste used to clean the oven. 

Tip: Barkeeper’s Friend is an amazing ally to get stainless steel nice and shiny again.


wiping off windowsill in bathroom

Photo from Canva


2) Make Bathrooms Squeaky Clean


What’s everyone’s least favorite room to clean? For many, it’s the bathroom. By now, most are a pro at keeping the bathroom clean as a whistle. A regular cleaning schedule sends soap scum packing from the tub or shower. Continue sanitizing the sink, counter, and toilet and mopping the floor.

Here are some ideas and products to try:

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Removes scum buildup in the shower. 
  • Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Shines up the porcelain throne with minimal work. 
  • Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover: Eliminates mold and mildew with little effort.
  • Invisible Glass: Gives your mirror that streak-free shine. For a green cleaning recipe to tackle your mirror, try mixing one cup of vinegar and one cup of distilled water. Spray this solution on a microfiber rag and clean the mirror. With a dry cloth, polish the mirror to a shine.
  • Dawn Dish Soap: If your porcelain sink has stains, mild dish soap and scrubby should help release the discoloration. If it doesn't, Bar Keepers Friend works wonders. However, ceramic sinks respond much better to vinegar and shouldn't require harsh chemicals as some can damage the finish. 

After wiping down the tub, toilet, and doors of the powder room vanity, go through the cabinet. Wipe down drawers and cupboards. 


Don’t forget! Try to use up any aerosol, liquid, or perishable items before moving day.


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cleaning carpet with vacuum

Image from Canva


Easy Cleaning Tips for Every Room


Move from room to room and think about creating a blank canvas. As movers usually require residents to remove artwork, curtains, and TVs from the walls, start with the big-ticket items. Use putty to fill the holes left from hangings and some paint to touch up the repairs. Then, move on to the smaller items to wipe the slate clean.

1) Windows

Take a few minutes to ensure that windows function well and let in as much cheerful sunshine as possible. 

Dampen an abandoned sock in the go-to vinegar and water cleaning solution. Slip a hand inside the sock and swipe along each slat of the blinds. If there’s a lot of dust build-up on the blinds, try vacuuming the loose stuff before wiping down each slat.




  • With either the crevice tool or the brush attachment on your vacuum, suck up the funky stuff along the window track. Then, spray the sill with vinegar and wait a few minutes for it to loosen hardened grime. Use a paper towel or rag to wipe out as much residue as possible.
  • For narrow edges, try brushing out the gunk with a Q-tip swab.
  • To ease a sticky window, spray a light layer of lubricant such as WD-40 on your freshly cleaned track.

If needed, replace any cracked or broken windows and torn screens.


woman cleaning windows with squeegee

Photo from Canva

2) Walls and baseboards

It’s time to shift to one of the most overlooked chores in the home: the smudged walls and dinged baseboards.

  • Remove fingerprints, smudges, and scuffs off the walls with a microfiber cloth wrung with degreasing dish soap and water or a melamine sponge (magic eraser). Use minimal water to prevent dribble lines.
  • Tackle the baseboards with the brush attachment for your vacuum. Suck up the loose debris, then run a cloth along the edge of the wall where it meets the floor. When moistened with vinegar or soapy water, a microfiber cloth will collect stubborn dust better than a brush or broom.

3) Air vents, filters, and detectors

  • Extend the vacuum hose and go around the room with the brush attachment on each vent or grate. If gunk clings to a fixture, remove it from the air duct and soak it in hot, soapy water. Wash with a microfiber cloth and rinse well. To prevent the grate from immediately collecting more dust, ensure it is wiped dry before returning it to its home.
  • Before the flurry of a PCS, it’s a good idea to change out the filters in the air vents. To help find an exact fit, take a photo of the brand name and measurements listed on the soiled filter for reference at the store. 
  • After replacing the air filters, run a test beep on the detectors. Adding fresh batteries to carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors is a simple task that ensures safety.

4) Floors

Whether they’re wood, laminate, linoleum, or carpet, the floors are the most abused and hold onto dirt and bacteria. Get ready for a deep clean!

  • Vacuum. Suck up all the loose dirt and hair settled in the carpet or floating on the hard flooring. Use the crevice tool to get into the corners of the baseboards and stairs. 
  • Pressure wash/shampoo. Drag the rugs outside and hose them down with the pressure washer. Use a carpet shampooer to treat the carpet. A spot cleaner works great for the stairs. Or, if possible, hire a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and do this step.
  • Mop. Fill a bucket with hot water, some vinegar, and a touch of dish soap and scrub those floors, wringing out the mop to avoid using too much water and damaging your flooring. For stubborn spots on linoleum, pull out a magic eraser and wipe until clean. Steam mop and collect any remaining dirt.

Now it’s time to rest and relax for a few moments, as your hard work makes moving out much easier. 


Get more PCS move tips with our free resources below!  






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