How to Deep Clean Before Listing

When you know you’ll be listing your home for sale soon, you will get plenty of advice if you have a great real estate agent. One insight that a...
Deep Clean

When you know you’ll be listing your home for sale soon, you will get plenty of advice if you have a great real estate agent. One insight that a great agent will share is that your home needs a deep clean. Obviously, there are some folks who get into every corner and crevice each week, but many of us focus on the main areas of our home with our weekly cleanings and let other things go a bit. A deep clean seems like it wouldn’t change anything material about the house, but you’d be surprised how differently buyers react to clean versus dirty houses: the same house with and without a clean might convey “fixer-upper” to a buyer while dirty and “beautiful charmer” when clean. If you’re not sure your home needs a deep clean (or you know it does and isn’t sure how to start!), here’s the way to do it before you go to sell your home.

Declutter to begin

The first and most helpful step is to declutter your home. If you’re getting ready to sell your home anyway, you’ll be making a meaningful step toward packing. With every item you find, decide whether it has outlived its usefulness and needs to be donated or thrown away. With all things, you want to keep, begin the process of packing them and finding an out-of-the-way location to put them. Decluttering may seem separate from cleaning, but any professional cleaner will tell you it takes much less time to wipe down an empty shelf than it does to pick up each item, wipe it down, and wipe down the shelf around them.

Choose a room and create a checklist

Just decluttering will make rooms much easier to assess for your deep clean. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about all the deep cleaning still to go. For this reason, I recommend tackling the project one room at a time. When you look at that one room, think about everything from the top down: does the ceiling fan need the blades wiped? Do the windows need washing? What surfaces need wiping and will you sweep and then mop, or vacuum? This checklist has an extra benefit: there’s something very satisfying about checking each individual step off and knowing, when the list is complete, that you’ve completed a whole room.

One room at a time helps you feel a sense of accomplishment

Whether you go room by room for a whole day or tackle a room when you can on weekends leading up to your listing, the feeling of accomplishment in one room compels the move to the next one. Make sure that you tackle bathrooms and kitchens when you have plenty of stamina since even when these areas are decluttered they have a lot of small parts and items to clean well. Remember to do as much of this as you can before listing photos, since after that you can often just do small pick-ups around the house leading up to the listing day. One step at a time, it’s truly possible to deep clean before listing.

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