Improve your Staged Home: Interior House Cleaning 101

big white kitchen with wood floors and stainless appliances
Ensure your home is clean before buyers come Getty Images

Before you put your home up for sale, ensure it is clean and ready for strangers. Many people get so intimidated when it comes to cleaning when preparing to sell a home. It’s a lot like detailing a car before you sell it. You want everything squeaky clean.

To make it more fun, get your family and friends to help and have a special dinner or barbecue afterwards. If you really don’t see yourself doing a good job, it might be worth the investment to hire a professional cleaning service. Cleaning comes after de-cluttering, sp you should already have de-cluttered the home and now be ready to do a full cleaning, which is much easier to do after you’ve removed a good chunk of your belongings.

Let’s get started, room by room. First, make sure you have all the supplies you need. You’ll quickly lose motivation if you have to stop to find supplies or go out and buy them.

  • 01 of 05

    Deep Cleaning your House Starts in the Foyer

    open foyer with dark wood front door
    Create a welcoming foyer when buyers walk in Getty Images

    Guests will spend a good portion of time here as they walk in, look around, take their coats/shoes off and take in their surroundings.

    Clean the Entry and Foyer to Welcome Guests

    • Make sure the door and all hardware are sparkling clean.
    • Wipe off any fingerprints, which are quite common here.
    • Check for scuff marks along the walls or even the bottom of the door. If there's too much dirt and too many marks, it may mean it's time to repaint the door or walls.
    • Clean your welcome mat or get a new one.
    • Make sure lighting fixtures and light bulbs are all working and that you clean and dust the fixture and the bulbs.
    • Check the coat closet, if applicable, and make sure the walls and floor are clean and free of marks and dents. Remember, pack away unused items so there’s extra room in there, making it look spacious.
  • 02 of 05

    Ensure your Kitchen is on the House Cleaning Checklist

    Decluttered modern kitchen
    Make your kitchen look larger by decluttering countertops Getty Images

    Declutter the Kitchen for Maximum Buyer Appeal

    • Wipe down all the cabinets. You’d be amazed how much food splatters and grease get on the doors and hardware.
    • Clean all appliances, inside and out. This includes the entire interior of the refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven/stove.
    • Don’t forget to clean the stove hood, both on top and underneath. Make sure the grill is clean, the light bulb is working, and the actual unit works.
    • Pull out the refrigerator and clean behind it, including the cords. Clean underneath the refrigerator as well. Vacuum the grill underneath.
    • Clean the microwave inside and out.
    • Don’t forget to clean underneath the sink. Take out everything and wipe down the entire inside, including the pipes. Put everything back in an organized way.
    • Wipe down any blinds or shades and wash any curtains or throw rugs.
    • Find one place, out of sight if possible, to store and keep pet food, dishes, and other supplies.
  • 03 of 05

    Bathroom Deep Cleaning House Tips

    bathroom with lighted mirror and thatch accent wall
    Clean your bathroom for buyer appeal Getty Images

    Buyers Will Inspect the Cleanliness of the Bathrooms

    • Common missed areas include behind the toilet and underneath the sink. Make sure the pipes and fittings are cleaned well. Replace any missing plastic bolt covers on toilets.
    • Since de-cluttering your bathroom is essential, you should only have absolute necessities on display. Make sure they are clean (such as the toothbrush holder). Although, anything you can put out of sight is better.
    • Clean out under the vanity and make sure it’s organized and that you removed stuff when de-cluttering so that it appears spacious.
    • Scrub the floors and clean the grout lines.
    • After de-cluttering, you should have removed personal items, but make sure any that remain are neatly stored or organized. You might want to invest in a shower caddy to keep things in one place. The same goes for kids’ toys in the tub.
    • Keep dirty clothes and towels off the floor. Clothes should be in a hamper, and towels should be on rods or hooks.
    • Remove any prescriptions to a safe location. You actually shouldn’t store medication in the bathroom anyway.
    • Clean the fan and make sure it’s functioning.
  • 04 of 05

    House Cleaning Essentials Start in the Bedroom

    white bedroom with neutral accents and large windows
    Use fresh linen and bright colors in your bedroom Getty Images
    • Wash sheets, blankets, and comforters.
    • Wash or dry clean curtains and rugs.
    • Remove any stains on any fabrics.
    • Wipe down all furniture.
    • Clean the walls and floors of closets.
    • Keep dirty laundry off the floor or furniture. Put them in a laundry basket or bring them to the laundry room.
    • For kids rooms, keeps toys and other items corralled in one area and store them in containers.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Don't Forget to Clean your Utility & Storage Rooms

    Basement theater room with large screen and deep couches
    Convert your basement into a bedroom or media room Getty Images

    Ensure the Attic, Garage & Basement are Ready for Viewing

    • Sweep and wash the garage floors (and basement floors, if possible) and wipe down the walls.
    • Get rid of any dust, dirt, and debris, especially from corners and along the ceiling lines.
    • Wash the windows -- yes, even basement, garage and attic windows should sparkle.
    • Clean off shelves and racks.
    • Remove stains from garage floors. If walls and floor are particularly messy, they may need to be painted or repainted.
    • Clean garage doors, including the tracks, and make sure they function properly.

    Take a look at our basement and garage articles to get it ready for potential buyers.

    Article updated by Ronique Gibson - Home Staging Expert