How To Deep Clean
One of the first pieces of advice that you’ll get when you’re selling a home is to clean it. But the sort of cleaning you do to sell needs to go a little farther than your regular housework. I call this “deep cleaning,” and it’s one of the best ways to tell the story that your home is a well-maintained one.
Buyers have to decide if they will make an offer after a very short inspection of your home, so everything you do to communicate the care you’ve put into it will help make that decision easier.
When you deep clean, buyers are not distracted by thoughts of how they’re going to remove stains or whether anyone’s checked this piece of equipment in the last few years. All they find are dirt-free spaces that are inviting and open.
Deep cleaning is about your surfaces and fixtures, the parts that are left behind when you move. These can become invisible when you’ve lived a long time in your home, but buyers will be viewing them with fresh, and critical, eyes. The following is a top-to-bottom list to help remind you of everything to check, clean, and polish.
Deep Cleaning Tips, from top to bottom
- Deep cleaning is also an opportunity for deep inspecting. Keep a notebook handy to jot down repairs and tasks that are outside the scope of cleaning.
- Start early, so that the smell of cleaning solutions dissipates prior to viewings, and you have time to follow up on your inspection notes.
- Dust ceilings to remove spider webs.
- Inspect for stains and smudges, and clean with water and mild cleaning agent.
- Make note of areas that require repainting. Ensure that any ceiling stains are not the result of active leaks before painting.
Windows and ceiling fixtures
- Dust all blinds, window shades, and ceiling fan blades.
- Launder or dry-clean and iron all fabric window coverings.
- Wash all windows including screens and storm windows if appropriate.
- Note for repair or replacement any cracked panes or torn screens in any windows.
- Clean all light fixtures and lampshades, and dust/replace light bulbs. Consider using higher wattage bulbs in dim areas. When staging, brighter is better.
Walls and Doors
- Wash walls in high traffic areas (stair wells, hallways).
- Wash kitchen and bathroom walls with water and a mild cleaning agent, because steam can make the walls greasy or soapy.
- Dust all walls, and inspect for fingerprints, smudges.
- Note any chips in paint or minor holes that might require repair and repainting.
Moulding and Trim
- Dust or wash all moulding and trim.
- Note any trim that needs repainting, repairing, or replacing. Note any areas that are missing trim.
Heating and Appliances
- Consider getting a forced air system professionally cleaned. This will reduce dust and be a big plus for potential buyers.
- Vacuum and wipe down all grates. Where grates can be easily looked through, remove grates and vacuum behind them.
- Use water and a mild cleanser to clean all radiators.
- Clean the exterior surfaces of all major appliances (fridge, stove, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, etc.).
- Clean the interiors of major appliances as appropriate (fridge, oven).
Floors and Stairs
- Wax or wash all floors and woodwork.
- Clean both stairs and risers (the vertical part of the stair).
- Shampoo carpets.
- Note any stains or damage that require repair or replacement.
Learn more in our Fundamentals of Staging series:
Fundamentals of Staging part 2: Deep Cleaning (you are here)
Have you read all of the Fundamentals of Staging and still want more? You can check out our staging tag, or Contact Lenore for a personalized staging plan that makes sure you spend your time and effort on the most effective ways to create a story for your target market, and sell your home.