Get Back Your Full Security Deposit With Tennis Balls and Dishwasher Tablets

What exactly is “broom-swept,” anyway?

If you’re moving out of a rental at the end of the month, you obviously want to get your full security deposit back. But, as every renter knows, that’s easier said than done. Even if you take the time to do a proper deep-clean, you can still get dinged for a dirty oven or minor scuffs or mysterious smells.

Don’t give your landlord the satisfaction. All of these nitty-gritty deep cleaning tasks can be done with normal items you probably already have:

  • Buff out floor scuffs with a tennis ball.
  • Remove wall scuffs with plain toothpaste.
  • Deodorize walls and ceilings with diluted vinegar.
  • Degrease your oven with baking soda paste.
  • Dissolve stubborn, burnt-on oven window residue with a dishwasher tablet.

Armed with these tips, you’ll tackle moving day cleanup like a pro—no special equipment or industrial-strength products required.

This story was originally published in December 2018. It was updated on March 15, 2021 to reflect Lifehacker’s current style guidelines.