Deep Cleaning Your Home Before Listing: Part 1 – Indoors

Giving your home a complete deep clean can be quite a chore, but if you’re selling your home it’s crucial that you do a great job. Here are some tips for the most efficient ways to effectively clean your home before listing!

Create Your Cleaning Solution

The first thing we’ll do is make a great, deodorizing multipurpose solution that we’ll use to clean most of the house. Put a drop of dishwashing liquid, a teaspoon of baking soda and a couple drops of a great smelling essential oil, such as lavender in a spray bottle. This will be our go to solution to clean most of the house. It’s completely non-toxic so it’s safe to use around kids and pets too.

Start with Walls, Doors and Baseboards

When deep cleaning your home, the best place to start with is your walls, doors and baseboards. Let’s start with the walls first. Dust your walls using a duster or lint free cloth. Next, use a spot treatment to treat any black “scuff” marks, crayon, or grease marks. To remove these stains, make your own painted wall “safe cleaning paste” using a couple teaspoons of baking soda mixed with some water. Using a sponge, gently rub this paste into the stain marks. Most stains should come off instantly, but for stubborn stains, leave the solution on for a few minutes before wiping clean.

Next we will wash the walls. For a cleaning solution that needs no rinsing, mix a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water into a large bucket. Drag the sponge horizontally, starting at the base of the wall and moving upwards. Take a clean, lint free cloth to dry the wall after every stroke of the sponge. Our multipurpose cleaner is also a great alternative is completely safe to use on painted walls: just remember to rinse the wall before drying to remove the soapy mixture.

Next, we’ll move on to washing the doors. Again, we can use our multipurpose mixture from our spray bottle. Firstly, dust the entire door and frame with a duster or lint free rag. Next, take a sponge or clean lint free rag, and begin washing the doorframe with a few squirts of your multipurpose cleaner. Use a clean, wet rag to rinse the solution off, and a dry one to dry off the frame. Follow these same steps to clean the entire door. Make sure to go along with the grain when cleaning wood doors. If needed, use a toothbrush to get in any grooves or to remove any stubborn stains off the door.

Now it’s time to wash the baseboards. Dust off baseboards well using a lint free rag. Using the same multipurpose solution we made, scrub your baseboards with a sponge. Baseboards often attract a lot of dust and grime, so a toothbrush is probably needed to really do a good job. Afterwards, rinse and dry off baseboards to finish.

Time to Clean the Windows

Many of us have tried and tried to get our windows crystal clean. But even with all the soaps, sprays, and the arm workout that comes along with fiercely scrubbing the windows, sometimes it feels like they will never get clean: especially if you have large, portrait windows in your home. The trick is simple. To properly wash your windows, you have to do it like the pros do. This may involve picking up a couple things from the store – any hardware store should have them. You will need a scrubber or large sponge, a squeegee, a couple of lint free rags, some liquid dish soup and a bucket.

Firstly, remove any screens. Choose to wash your screens outside or a large tarp, or even inside in a bathtub would work! Fill a large bucket with a teaspoon or dish soap and 2-3 gallons of warm water. You don’t want the mixture too sudsy, as we’ll be using it later to clean the windows as well. Take a sponge or lint free rag dipped in the water solution and well wrung out and scrub the screens. A toothbrush may also be needed for any tough spots on the screen. After scrubbing both sides of the screen simply rinse with water and leave out to dry!

Next, I suggest washing your inside windows, as they will not be as dirty as the exterior ones. That way you can wait to clean all of your tools until the interior and exterior windows are cleaned. The first tip is never wash your windows when direct sunlight is on them. The soap mixture will dry almost instantly, leaving you with a streaky mess. We will wash the windowpanes first. Take one of your lint free rags or a small sponge, dip it in the water and soap mixture, wring out well and scrub the window pane, drying off with your clean cloth when finished. Next, dip your scrubber or sponge into the soapy mixture and begin scrubbing your windows. For smaller windows the sponge would definitely work, but if the windows are on the larger side, you made want to invest in a scrubber with a handle. Remember to squeeze out your scrubber or sponge well before washing the window with it, this will eliminate excess dripping and running of the water.

Now it’s time to use your squeegee. Drag the squeegee in a reverse “S” shape across the window. Right-handed people should start on the upper left corner, and left-handed people should start on the upper right corner of the window. If this method is a little tricky for you, I suggest dragging the squeegee horizontally instead. This method works well because any of the water that drips would fall downwards and not mess up any of the window you’ve cleaned so far. Continue to squeegee until most of the suds are gone, making sure to wipe off the squeegee with a lint free cloth in between each stroke.

Next take a dry rag and clean up any water left on the edges of the window. This will get rid of any of the remaining soapy mixture, without leaving any streaks behind. Finally, remove any water that has dropped onto the window ledge with a clean rag. You now have yourself a clean window. Repeat this for all your interior windows, and then move on to your exterior, cleaning using the exact same method. After you’re finished cleaning all windows, put back you’re freshly cleaned screens. This may sound like a lot of steps to get your window clean, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a quick, easy and foolproof way to get your windows clean every time.

Cleaning the Carpets

Now it’s time to tackle carpets. To clean your carpet well before listing, it may be best to rent a steam cleaner if you don’t have something like it at home. These machines can often be rented at hardware or even grocery stores. A water extraction cleaner (also known as a steam cleaner) will coat your carpet with a soapy solution, and then extract the water mixture back into the machine, leaving you with a clean looking and smelling carpet. Make sure when using these machines not to get your carpet too wet, and to use the machine to get as much water as possible out of the carpet afterwards. If the carpet is too wet, it could cause mold to build up underneath the carpet so make sure you do a thorough job. For spot cleaning, club soda will often do the trick, but for deep or lingering stains, you may need to purchase a carpet cleaning solution, making sure to blot the solution into the carpet instead of rubbing so you don’t set the stain. Always try to treat the stain as quickly as possible, the faster you treat the stain, the better your results will be. When vacuuming your carpet, the most important rule is to go slow. The vacuum needs time to do its work. By vacuuming too quickly you’re sure to leave behind excess dirt and particles. For both carpet cleaning and vacuuming, make sure to move all furniture and clean underneath.

Make Your Home Smell Amazing

No matter how great of a cleaning job you’ve done, it won’t mean anything if your home doesn’t smell clean and fresh. This is one of the things buyers notice first when stepping into your home. The baking soda multipurpose cleaner with lavender oil we made earlier is a great way to deodorize your home fast. Use this solution to clean almost anywhere in your home. Kitchens are often left with weird food smells that build up over time. This cleaner is all natural and non-toxic, so it can be used inside your fridge, microwave, oven, dishwasher or tile flooring. It will leave your home smelling fresh and clean. Try cutting up pieces of a citrus fruit, such as lemon or lime and running it through your garbage disposal for a clean, citrusy scent. Airflow is also very important to the smell of your home. Open up a few windows for a fresh air scent, and to remove any stuffy air. Nobody likes a stinky bathroom. Try using a plug in air freshener to keep the room smelling great, and our lavender scented multipurpose cleaner is great for tile floors, sinks and toilets.

Cleaning your home before listing can be a daunting task. Hopefully these tips will help you clean your home efficiently and effectively for listing it, and then it is easier to clean prior to each showing. What are your tricks for deep cleaning? Share this post with your family and friends and let me know!