When you are preparing your house to sell, a simple tidying isn’t enough. To truly prepare your home to be photographed, staged, and eventually viewed by potential buyers you need to do a thorough deep cleaning. Not only will completely cleaning your house prepare it to be photographed and staged, it will also increase the value of your home. Taking the time to deep clean and declutter can boost your home’s value by 3-5%. So roll up your sleeves, grab a bucket, and get ready to deep clean your home.
Start by Decluttering
No one will ever see how clean your home is if your countertops, shelves, and cupboards are cluttered. Remove stacks of papers, family photos, excess toiletries, knick knacks, and mountains of books from every room. Closets, drawers, shelves, and counters are the area in your house that will hold the most clutter. Create three piles while decluttering: one to throw away, one to donate and sell, and another to box up or put in storage. During decluttering you should also remove excess clothing from your closets. Pack them up in boxes or donate what you do not want. Remember if the closet, pantry, cupboard, or drawer is attached to the house it can be opened and looked at by buyers.
Gather Your Supplies
Some types of surfaces such as leather, stone, glass, and wood need specific types of cleaners to protect their surface. Check the label of your cleaning product before you use it on any sensitive materials. Here is a basic list of deep cleaning supplies you need:
- Scrub brush
- Cleaning gloves
- Cleaning cloths
- Paper towels
- Shower and Grout Cleaner
- Scrub Sponge
- Wood Cleaner for Floors and Furniture
- Magic Eraser
- Window/Glass Cleaner
- Cooktop and Stove Cleaner
- Dish Soap
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
The kitchen is the room that gets the most use and is subjected to the most wear and tear with everyday cooking messes.
Pull out all of the food and drinks as well as removable shelves so you can spray and wipe down any sticky messes that might be hiding in corners. Clean off the shelves and put them back in before putting your food back. Remove magnets and personal items front he front and top of the refrigerator. Wipe down the outer part of the refrigerator. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator you can spray it with a stainless steel specific cleaner and wipe it with a clean cloth. Other types of refrigerators can be wiped down with soap and water.
Remove the racks and clean the unit with warm soap and water. Then, run your dishwasher through a full cycle without any dishes in it and then clean out any left over residue. Oven and Stove:
You can use your oven’s built-in cleaning system or use a spray oven cleaner and scrub it by hand. Wipe down the stoptop with a cleaner specific to what type of unit you have.
Finally, scrub the counters and the cabinet doors with a soft cloth and multi-purpose cleaner. Use an appropriate cleaner according to the type of countertop you have. Granite, marble, quartz, and natural stone counters need to be cleaned with a specific cleaner that will clean, polish, and protect the surface for future use.
Bathroom Cleaning Checklist
Second only to the kitchen, the bathroom is home to many messes with everything from globs of toothpaste to bathtub soap scum.
Use toilet bowl cleaner on the inner rim of your toilet and let it soak for 15 minutes to remove stubborn stains. Scrub with a toilet brush and then flush when done. Spray an anti-bacterial cleaning spray behind the toilet where dust can collect and wipe it clean. Clean the toilet let, under the toilet lid, the toilet seat, and on top of the toilet with a disinfectant spray and paper towels.
Use a shower/bathtub specific cleaner such as Soft Scrub that will remove stains, soap scum, and water stains. Ensure that the grout of white and cleaned as well so that there are no hard water stains around the bathtub/shower unit. If your grout has mold that will not come off or if the caulk is cracking you can remove it, throw it away and apply new caulk.
If your sink is prone to clogs, use a drain cleaner. When it is complete scrub down your sink and surrounding counter area with a product such as Soft Scrub. Wipe down chrome sink fixtures with a glass cleaner.
Spray your mirror and glass shower doors with glass cleaner. Wipe them down with a paper towel and ensure they are free from streaks.
The Whole House
Now that you have tackled the bathroom and kitchen it is time to work on the entire house. Move through the whole house and complete each task on the checklist. This method saves time, rather than going room by room and switching tasks.
Clean the Walls
Remove artwork, decor, and nails from the walls. Patch any holes if needed. Grab a bucket of warm soapy water and a washcloth. Wipe down all of the walls in your house from top to bottom; including the baseboards. Pay attention to high corners where small cobwebs may have formed over the years.
Start at the very top of the ceiling with overhead light fixtures and ceiling fans. Use a cloth and dusting product. Next dust window sills and door frames. Dust window treatments or remove them for cleaning. Move on to shelves, furniture, and wood surfaces in every room. Use a Multi-surface product to spray and wipe plastic, sealed wood, laminates, and electronics.
Sweep, Vacuum, and Wash the Floors
Move furniture out of the way and clean floors and carpets with a broom or vacuum. You can rent a carpet shampooer or have your carpets professionally cleaned. If they are very dated or in bad shape you can replace your carpets.
Mop the floors using a mop, bucket, and floor cleaning solution. Begin by cleaning the floors in the living room and kitchen. End in the bathroom where you will clean around the toilet. When finished, sanitize your mop.
Keep it Spotless
The hard work of deep cleaning is done and you are almost ready to sell your home. Put everything back in place and then prepare to stage your home. When you have buyers coming for a showing, double check to make sure beds are made, throw pillows are straightened, counters are cleared and wiped down, all toiletries are put away, and you have an air freshener dispenser in all main rooms. Keeping your home spotless for potential buyers isn’t alway easy but it does pay off in the end. With a deep cleaned home, properly staged rooms, and a bit of patience your home will sell quickly for a great price.