How to clean a house to sell

Household 3 min read

Getting your home ready to sell can be stressful. You may not know where to start with so much to do in a short time. Cleaning every nook and cranny, drawer and closet, baseboard and crown molding, and all windows and blinds is the first step to a quick sale. Don’t miss a detail with this house cleaning checklist for turning your home into a marketable house.

Cleaning your house to sell checklist

1. Declutter each room first

Start your pre-sale house cleaning by taking photos of each room, wall, ceiling, and floor. Viewing the pictures will give you a fresh look at what potential buyers will see when they walk through the front door. If buyers can’t see past your things, they won’t be able to imagine their family living there.

Go room to room and divide your items into three categories:

  1. Keep: Pack as much as you can into boxes for the move.
  2. Donate: Give gently used items to charity stores.
  3. Toss: Get rid of broken items that fall into the “Why are we keeping this?” category.

2. Clean your house from top to bottom

Once you have purged each room of excess and unwanted items, cleaning becomes so much easier. Follow the top-to-bottom, left-to-right rule. This system makes sure you have cleaned every surface. To clean your house from top to bottom, give each room a deep clean by dusting and vacuuming the ceiling fixtures and items on the walls, furniture, and floors. Move furniture to get at the corners and baseboards.

3. Scrub the kitchen

When cleaning your house to sell, pay special attention to the kitchen. Even if it’s a little outdated, you can still impress buyers by ensuring it’s spotless, shiny, and clean smelling. Clear the counters, too—fewer items on display makes the space look bigger than it is. Don’t forget to clean the inside of the pantry, refrigerator, stove, oven, and dishwasher. Visitors will open them up and look around!

4. Clean the bathrooms

Cleaning the bathroom is important, but it can be a big undertaking. Make it more manageable by having everyone in the family clean up after themselves. Keep cleaners and sponges handy, so everyone can wipe down and touch up after use. Getting the family into a regular cleaning routine is never a bad thing!

Before an open house, polish up the countertops, faucets, sinks, bathtubs, and shower stalls. Polish the grout, too—use an old toothbrush and some elbow grease. Finish by hanging up clean towels and a new shower curtain.

5. Clean window treatments

Natural light is important for many buyers. Show it off by ensuring your windows are spotless and streak-free inside and out. Be sure to clean existing blinds and shades thoroughly as well. Use the brush attachment to vacuum, then dust them with a lamb’s wool duster. Finish by wiping them clean with an almost-dry sponge. Learn more about updating window treatments before selling your home.

6. Make the floors shine

If your home has carpet, wash the carpets — or hire a company to wash them for you. Mop and polish wood and tile floors. Roll up and store any area rugs, as they tend to make rooms look smaller than they are.

Other considerations for open house cleaning

You only get one first impression, so your house should scream, “Welcome!” Paint the front door, repair any screens, sweep the stairs or porch, trim the landscaping, and lay out a new welcome mat. You might also give your attention to the inside, too — declutter the entryway and store shoes, jackets, and store backpacks in a closet.

It’s important not to overlook the small details when creating your house cleaning checklist. Don’t forget to dust and clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, and light bulbs. It’s also important to wipe off baseboards and clean fingerprints from light switches, railings, doorknobs, cabinet hardware, and appliances.

Cleaning before an open house might initially seem like a big project. The key to success is getting into a daily cleaning routine so you won’t be scrambling when you get that last-minute call for a showing. Learn more about how to get your house ready to sell and home repairs to make before selling.

Was this article helpful?

3 min
3 min
2 min
2 min
2 min