Tackling Stains in a Rental Property: A Case Study

Flatmates, Debbie and Shona, were coming to the end of the lease on their rented flat and looking forward to moving into a bigger place they had found on the other side of town. They had one hurdle to cross, however, and that was the final property inspection – to ensure that they regained their deposit. But as the two girls surveyed their flat with a critical eye, they realised that some drastic stain removal was required if they were to have any chance of seeing their deposit again.

“We hadn’t been very good about keeping up with the cleaning,” admits Shona ruefully. “We both work long hours and the last thing we felt like doing in the evenings or on the weekends was cleaning – so we always did the minimum possible.”

Tackling Old Stains

This meant that many stains were only tackled in a half-hearted fashion, if at all. And the long time that had elapsed meant that many stains were deeply ingrained. The worst victim was the kitchen counter, which was covered with a mass of coffee stain rings, as well as the bathroom which hosted a variety of different stains. Thankfully, there was no carpet in the flat – only tile – but this had received a few stains too.

“I was so horrified, I just wanted to grab a scourer and attack the stains immediately by scrubbing at them but Debbie had done a bit of research on stain removal and told me that harsh, abrasive methods can actually make the stains set in deeper. So we decided to think carefully about each stain and make sure we were using the right removers, rather than just rushing in,” says Shona.

The girls decided to split the jobs up, with Debbie tacking the kitchen counter and the bathrooms, and Shona tackling the floors. The coffee rings were the first problem and Debbie attacked them with a paste made of baking soda mixed with water. This worked like a dream, with the brown stains coming off after a bit of gentle scrubbing with the paste. She then moved onto the bathroom, where she tried the baking soda paste again on the soap scum stains. Unfortunately, the baking soda past did not prove to be so effective this time, so Debbie tried soaking with some neat white vinegar instead. A good long soak in the vinegar followed by a gentle scrub ensured that all the bathroom stains were removed the bathtub and sink gleaming again.

Shona, meanwhile, had been tackling the stains on the floor. First, she vacuumed and mopped the floor thoroughly, then she got down to inspect the various stains. There were several nail polish stains from careless applications and these were fairly easily removed using a cotton wool soaked in some nail polish remover. There also seemed to be some general food stains and dried spills from drinks – these were easily tackled with an all-purpose household cleaning solution, followed by a rinse in some water.

She also noticed some chewing gum stuck in some corners. These required some chilling first with ice cubes and then Shona gently scraped them away with a blunt butter knife. Finally, she noticed that there were spots of mildew stains in the grouting between the tiles.

“The mildew stains were the toughest,” says Shona. “I tried everything – in the end, I found the best solution was to scrub the grouting with a bit of scouring powder, followed by a rinse and blotting up the excess moisture. There were actually commercial cleaners designed for cleaning mildew and I think next time I might resort to using one of those.”

Hard Work Paid Off

When the girls had finished, they enjoyed a well-deserved rest and a cup of tea each (carefully placed on coasters so as not to stain the counter again!) and surveyed the results of their labours. The place was gleaming and their agent was full of appreciation when he came to inspect the property the next day.

“Thanks to a bit of hard work and the right stain removers, we managed to meet the property inspection requirements and get our full deposit back!” Smiles Shona.

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