How Are Move-in Cleaning Costs Calculated? Full Breakdown and Guide


Maria DeSouza

| Published September 20, 2023

Are you moving into a new home? It’s an exciting experience, but remember to consider the cost.

Move-in house cleaning plays a big role in creating a welcoming living space for new occupants. If you are looking into house cleaning prices, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll learn how house cleaning costs are computed by the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, per square foot or per hour. Let’s get started!

Understanding Move-in Cleaning: An In-Depth Look

House cleaning services often offer move-in cleaning, move-out cleaning, and even after-event cleaning. 

Although many of the processes are similar, moving-in cleaning comes with a unique set of tasks, different from move-out cleaning.

Definition and Importance of Move-in Cleaning

Move-in cleaning is the thorough house cleaning of a residence before its new occupants settle in.

It involves deep cleaning and sanitizing various areas of the house. This ensures no dust, dirt, grime, or any potential allergens or germs are left behind by the previous occupants.

Given its tedious nature, hiring a great house cleaner or housekeeping service might be worth it, but remember cleaners often charge per hour.

Although move-out cleaning accomplishes the same deep clean, move-in cleaning may still be necessary, especially if the property has been long-unoccupied.

The primary goal of move-in house cleaning is to create a clean and safe living environment.

Key Areas Covered During Move-in Cleaning

House cleaning services prices will vary depending on the coverage of the move-in cleaning. It is often measured by the number of rooms, per square foot, or per hour basis.

House cleaners typically cover the following key areas in your house:


The kitchen is a problem space, especially because preparing and cooking meals can get messy.

If the previous tenants skipped their move-out cleaning, you may need to tackle grease, grime, and food residue. Cleaning this is vital to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria that can lead to serious illnesses.

Professional house cleaners thoroughly clean and sanitize countertops, cabinets, appliances (both inside and out), sinks, and floors. This ensures the kitchen is safe for new residents.


Bathrooms are high-traffic areas that require meticulous cleaning.

Whether you conduct a move-in or move-out cleaning, house cleaners scrub and disinfect toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, mirrors, and all bathroom fixtures. 

This is to ensure any health hazards are prevented and enhance the appearance of your bathroom.

Living Areas

Living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms are common spaces where we spend most of our time.

They need to be kept clean and dust-free. Professional cleaners will dust, vacuum, and mop floors, clean windows, wipe down surfaces and remove cobwebs from underneath the furniture.

Carpets and Flooring

Professional move-in cleaning services typically include thorough carpet cleaning or floor scrubbing. They ensure deep-seated dirt and stains are removed.

Otherwise, you can DIY and grab the vacuum cleaner, a mop and a dust pan.

Walls and Baseboards

Walls and baseboards collect dust and dirt over time.

Move-in cleaning ensures these surfaces are cleaned and restored to their original condition.

Elements of a Comprehensive Move-in Cleaning Checklist

Ever checked house cleaning prices and wondered what “standard cleaning service” covers? Here is a checklist of the detailed tasks in a move-in cleaning service:

  • Pre-Cleaning Assessment – The property is first assessed to determine the scope of cleaning required.
  • Dusting – All surfaces, including shelves, ledges, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and vents, are dusted.
  • Kitchen Cleaning – Home appliances, countertops, cabinets, and fixtures are cleaned inside and out.
  • Bathroom Cleaning – Bathroom fixtures, tiles, and mirrors are wiped clean and sanitized.
  • Floor Cleaning – Hard floors are swept and mopped to remove dirt and stains.
  • Window Cleaning – Windows and glass surfaces are wiped down.
  • Disinfection – Appropriate cleaning agents are used to disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and handrails.
  • Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning – If possible, contact a professional carpet and upholstery cleaning service. This helps revitalize the carpets and prevent allergies from accumulated dust.
  • Wall and Baseboard Cleaning – Walls and baseboards should be wiped down to remove accumulated dust and grime.
  • Final Inspection – The final inspection ensures all cleaning tasks have been completed properly.
Factors Influencing Move-in Cleaning Cost

Factors Influencing Move-in Cleaning Cost

Even before moving into a new residence, expect to spend some time and money on standard cleaning.

Move-in or move-out cleaning costs can vary depending on several factors that influence the complexity and extent of the cleaning process.

It is important to understand these factors to verify the costs of professional house cleaning services. Let’s look at a few:

Size of the House/Area to be Cleaned

The size of the house or area that requires cleaning is a primary determinant of the overall house cleaning cost.

Larger homes or apartments with more rooms and living spaces generally require more time, labor, and cleaning supplies. This also means the cleaning process for your new home will be more thorough.

As the square footage increases, so does the overall cost.

Level of Dirt and Clutter

The level of dirt, grime, and clutter present in the new property significantly impacts the cleaning cost. A house cleaner will typically perform the standard cleaning of visible dust and dirt.

However, if the previous occupants left the space in a  messy condition, house cleaners will put in extra effort and time for deep cleaning and sanitizing.

Heavy stains, extensive dust accumulation, and clutter removal can lead to higher costs. Additional cleaning services may be required, which can be determined during the initial assessment.

Any Special Cleaning Requirements

Some properties demand specialized cleaning methods.

Deep cleaning appliances, delicate surfaces, and antiques are examples of such additional services. Carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning are commonly requested too.

Your local cleaning company may also offer a green cleaning package. This ensures they’ll use pet-, child-safe, and environmentally-friendly products while cleaning your new home.

Ask your local house cleaners if they offer a comprehensive cleaning package. This will help you get the most out of your house cleaning.

Location and Local Market Rates

Standard house cleaning services also consider the geographical location of the property and the prevailing local market rates to compute your house cleaning cost.

The cleaning cost per square footage in one region may differ significantly from another. These costs are based on factors like cost of living, local demand for cleaning services, and the availability of cleaning companies.

Also, if the property is in a remote location or requires special equipment to reach certain areas, the cleaning company may charge extra for the additional effort and resources.

Analysing Average ‘Move-in Cleaning Cost’

Moving into a new home often comes with the need for a deep clean. This ensures a fresh start in a safe and sanitized environment.

To better understand the average standard cleaning cost, let’s break down the expenses based on house size, compare professional cleaning services with DIY options, and identify potential hidden charges to watch out for:

Cost Breakdown based on House Size

The cost breakdown of a house cleaning service varies based on several factors. These include the size of the house per square foot, the number of bedrooms, and the number of bathrooms. 

Understanding how these factors influence the cost can help you better anticipate expenses when considering hiring a house cleaner.

Per Square Foot

The house cleaning cost per square foot is one way for a cleaning company to quote for move-in cleaning.

House cleaning prices range from $0.10-$0.17 per square foot for standard cleaning, $0.11-$0.22 per square foot for deep cleaning, and $0.22-$0.33 per square foot for move-out cleaning.

Here are the rough estimates of the costs on a per-square-foot basis:

  • Small Homes (up to 1,000 sq. ft.) – Hiring a house cleaner to clean small homes typically falls within the national average cost range of $100-$250.
  • Medium-Sized Homes (1,000 to 2,000 sq. ft.) – The house cleaning cost for medium-sized homes may range from $200-$400.
  • Large Homes (2,000+ sq. ft.) – Move-in costs for larger homes have an average cost of $300-$600 or more due to the extended cleaning time and larger living areas.

NOTE: Most cleaning companies don’t charge on a square footage basis. Most compute per hour, also considering the number of workers required, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to clean.

Number of Bedrooms

Apart from square footage, the number of bedrooms in a house affects the complexity of move-in cleaning. More bedrooms means more to clean.

Here’s a rough estimate:

  • 1-2 Bedrooms – The national average cost for deep cleaning homes with 1-2 bedrooms is around $150-$350, depending on other factors.
  • 3 Bedrooms – For homes with 3 bedrooms, the average cost could range from $250-$450.
  • 4+ Bedrooms – Homes with 4 or more bedrooms may cost $350-$600 or more to clean

Number of Bathrooms

Some cleaning companies may charge by either the number of bedrooms, or bathrooms. The average cost ranges from $30-$50 per room.

Some companies don’t use the square footage to quote, but consider the type of room instead. The master bedroom, living room, and bathrooms likely require more cleaning due to higher traffic.

Here’s an approximate breakdown:

  • 1-2 Bathrooms – Homes with 1-2 bathrooms may cost around $150-$300.
  • 3 Bathrooms – For homes with 3 bathrooms, move-in costs could range from $250-$400, accounting for the additional cleaning.
  • 4+ Bathrooms – Homes with 4 or more bathrooms may have an average cost ranging from $350-$500+ due to the bathroom deep clean needed.

Note that these cost ranges (based on square foot, per hour basis, and number of rooms or bathrooms) are only approximations. Other factors like location, level of deep cleaning needed, and other specifications still apply.

We advise requesting a quote from the cleaning company to get an accurate idea.

Comparison of Professional vs DIY Cleaning Costs

A professional house cleaner offers the advantage of expertise, specialized equipment, and thorough deep cleaning. 

The cost of a professional house cleaning service is influenced by factors mentioned earlier, such as house size and level of dirt.

On average, professional house cleaning prices can range from $150-$500 or more, depending on the property’s specifications.

On the other hand, DIY house cleaning can be more cost-effective. However, it will require time, effort, and buying your own cleaning supplies. 

While DIY cleaning may save money, it may not yield the same level of cleanliness that professionals provide. Plus, the costs can add up if you need weekly cleaning.

Hidden Charges to Watch Out For

When considering standard house cleaning services prices, watch out for potential hidden charges that could impact the final cost. Some common hidden charges come from additional services like:

  • Pet Hair or Pet Odor Removal – If the previous occupants had pets, you may require extensive pet hair removal or odor elimination.
  • Stain Removal – Stubborn stains on carpets, upholstery, or surfaces might require extra treatments.
  • Heavy Grime or Mold Removal – Properties with heavy grime or mold growth may need specialized cleaning.
  • Access to Specific Areas – You may be charged extra to clean certain areas that are difficult to access, such as high ceilings or tight spaces.
  • Emergency or Rush Cleaning – If you need move-in cleaning on short notice or require rushed services, expect higher costs due to increased demand.

How to Choose a Cleaning Service

Standard cleaning services may offer services on a per-hour or per-square-foot basis. There are also other cost factors to consider, as we’ve mentioned above.

Furthermore, with numerous cleaning companies and cleaning packages available, selecting the right house cleaner can be overwhelming.

Follow these steps to choose a house cleaning service that best suits your needs:

Identifying Your Cleaning Needs

Before searching for a great house cleaner, take some time to identify your specific cleaning needs. Consider the following:

  • What type of cleaning do you require?
  • Do you need a move-in cleaning or move-out cleaning service?
  • Basic cleaning or deep cleaning?
  • How frequently do you need cleaning services?
  • Do you require a one-time, monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly cleaning service?
  • Which areas of your home need cleaning?
  • What about the kitchen, bathrooms, living areas, or carpets?

Understanding your cleaning requirements help you communicate effectively with your potential house cleaner.

Finding Reputable Cleaning Companies

When considering professional cleaning services in Boston, consider the following tips:

  • Ask for recommendations – Seek referrals from friends, family, or neighbors who have used the company’s standard cleaning services. These will help you gauge the reliability and quality of a cleaning company.
  • Check online directories – Utilize online platforms that list these services in your area. Look for a house cleaner with positive reviews and high ratings.
  • Look for certifications and affiliations – Find house cleaning services that are certified by or affiliated with professional organizations. These ensure they are compliant with industry standards.
  • Verify licenses and insurance – Ensure the cleaning company is licensed and insured to protect yourself in case of accidents or damages during the deep cleaning.

Understanding the Quotes

We highly recommend you contact several professional house cleaning services. Ask for their cleaning packages and, if possible, a customized quote. 

When reviewing the quotes, consider the following factors:

  • Services Included – Check what specific services are covered in the quote.
  • Pricing Structure – Understand the pricing structure, whether it’s a per hour, per square foot, or scope of work basis.
  • Additional Charges – Inquire about potential charges that might apply for specific additional services or special requests.
  • Contract Terms – Review the contract terms, cancellation policy, and any guarantees offered by the cleaning company.

Checking Reviews and References

It’s not difficult to compare cleaning companies since you can find online reviews and testimonials from previous customers.

Take this information to gauge the cleaning company’s reputation and customer satisfaction. Positive feedback is indicative of a reliable and trustworthy service.

Additionally, if you know anyone who has availed the services of the cleaning company, inquire about their experience and satisfaction. Ask what they liked about the individual cleaners and the quality of the cleaning job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the answers to these FAQs on moving-in cleaning costs:

What Services Are Included in Move-in Cleaning?

Many house cleaning companies include the following services in their package:

Dusting and wiping down shelves, countertops, and baseboards.
Cleaning and sanitizing kitchen appliances, cabinets, and fixtures.
Deep cleaning and disinfecting bathrooms, including toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs.
Vacuuming and mopping floors.
Cleaning windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces.
Removing cobwebs and cleaning light fixtures.
Disinfecting high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches.
Optional services like carpet and upholstery cleaning, and deep grout cleaning.

How Much Does It Typically Cost to Hire a Professional Cleaning Service?

The cost of hiring house cleaning companies varies based on the size of the home, the level of cleaning required, additional services, the location, and the company’s rates. 

On average, move-in cleaning can cost anywhere from $150-500 or more.

You can save money by doing the move-in cleaning yourself, but for deep house cleaning, it might be worth hiring a professional house cleaner instead.

How Often Should I Schedule Move-In Cleaning?

Move-in cleaning is a one-time service typically performed before new occupants move into a property.

Once you move in, you can consider regular cleaning schedules based on your preferences and needs. Many opt for either a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly cleaning service.

Should I Tip My Cleaners and How Much?

Tipping the house cleaner is not obligatory, but is a thoughtful gesture to show appreciation.

If you are satisfied with the quality of their service, consider tipping the individual cleaners. The amount can vary, but common practice is to tip around 10-20% of the overall cost.

What Are Some Alternatives to Hiring a Professional Cleaning Service?

If you want to save money and opt not to pay for professional house cleaning, here are some alternatives:

Clean your new home yourself using household cleaning supplies and tools.
Ask friends or family members for help.
Some apps and on-demand cleaning services offer more flexible and affordable cleaning options. You can book individual tasks or specific areas for cleaning.
If you prefer a deeper cleaning, you can rent cleaning equipment like carpet cleaners or pressure washers to tackle specific tasks.


Who wouldn’t want to live in a fresh and tidy living space? Move-in cleaning is key to a smooth transition to a new home.

Always remember to consider the various factors that influence house cleaning prices, like square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the demand for cleaning companies in your area.

Get quotes from different cleaning companies and choose the house cleaner that best meets your needs and budget.

Book An Appointment

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Follow our simple booking process to schedule your appointment in less than 60 seconds. Our professional house cleaners are ready to clean your living space.