If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ve likely been looking at houses elsewhere, so you know just how important it is to have your home looking its best for potential buyers. Deep cleaning a house pre-move is different than tidying up for guests. Shoving your odds and ends into closets, drawers and garages won’t do the trick (buyers will want to see those spaces).
Deep cleaning your home before you move will take elbow grease and an exhaustive cleaning checklist. Lucky for you, we’ve put together the ultimate deep cleaning checklist.
Before You Deep Clean Your Home
Declutter and depersonalize your space. Pick up any miscellaneous items (mail, clothes, toys, etc.). Then, you’ll want to depersonalize by removing some of the things that make your house a home for you, like the overflowing family photos on your entryway table or the drawings that your young children made for you. You don’t have to gut the place completely – but you want to make it easier for a buyer to visualize themselves making it into their home.
Look at this as an opportunity to begin packing and organizing for your move. You’ll want to purge or pack most of your knickknacks and keepsakes but keep out a few decorative items so that the house doesn’t look bland. If you have some decorative items that you already plan to donate, leave those out, assuming they aren’t the gaudy Christmas gifts from your eccentric aunt that haven’t left your attic.
Decluttering goes for storage spaces like cabinets and closets, too. When you reduce the content in these spaces, it makes them appear more spacious (which makes it look better to buyers).
Don’t try to jam it all into one day. If you do this, future you will hate present you. Your mantra needs to be: “pre-move cleaning is a marathon, not a sprint.” With this in mind, do a little bit of cleaning each day. You can spread out your deep cleaning marathon over a week, or even two weeks.
If you’ve got a larger home or a lot on your plate, consider hiring a cleaning crew for some or all of the work. Angie’s List puts the average hourly cost at $25-$45 per cleaner.
Get your supplies ready. First, assess your home to figure out whether you’ll need any specialty products for some areas that could use some extra TLC. You may need grout cleaner or carpet cleaner. Just because you’ve put your couch on top of the wine stain doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Supplies needed for Deep Cleaning Your Home
- All-purpose cleaner
- Microfiber cloths
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Window and glass cleaner
- Bathroom and toilet cleaner
- Baking soda
- Lint roller
- Furniture cleaner and polish
Where to Begin
Tackle high up spaces first.
Cleaning the hard to reach surfaces first ensures that any dust that may fall on the floor is then cleaned up later on. Start high by cleaning the ceiling, ceiling lights and fans, walls, trim, and then lastly, wipe down the baseboards.
Wipe those windows.
Spray your windows with glass cleaner, let it sit for a minute, then squeegee it off. Pro tip: wiping it in one direction inside and the opposite direction outside makes it easier to see any streaks. Then, vacuum the sills and racks. You can also vacuum your blinds using the brush attachment. For curtains, wipe off the rod and toss them in the dryer for about 20 minutes. It’s way easier than ironing them, and they’ll look just as good.
Dust every surface.
Using a microfiber cloth and furniture cleaner and polish, wipe off every surface. Bookcases, tables, shelves, the whole shebang. Then, use a lint roller to dust your lampshades.
Deep clean the floors.
You may want to enlist some help for this task. To deep clean your floors right, you’ll need to move furniture, even the big stuff. To make this task easier, you can grab some furniture slides. Vacuum, then mop your hard surfaces. If you have carpet, you may want to rent a professional grade cleaner.
How to Deep Clean Room-by Room
Spray down your tub with cleaner and let it sit for a bit to break down any soap and grime. Repeat this with your toilet bowl and sink. This way, you won’t have to scrub as hard.
Then, scrub it all. Wipe down your windows and mirrors with glass cleaner. Disinfect handles and doorknobs; these are often pretty gross since they’re usually overlooked.
Clean out under the sinks and inside the drawers, wiping everything thoroughly. Remember, interested buyers will open pretty much everything that they can.
If you have grout, you can make a homemade grout cleaner using vinegar, baking soda and water. An old toothbrush is perfect for cleaning grout.
Empty your refrigerator and cabinets and wipe down the interiors and exteriors with a rag and an all-purpose cleaner. Toss out any items you don’t need.
Clean your oven using either the auto-clean setting or an oven cleaning solution. Be sure to remove the racks, as the auto-clean setting can sometimes cause discoloration.
An easy way to clean a dirty microwave is to mix a tablespoon of vinegar and a cup of water and then microwave it on high for five minutes. The vinegar vapor coats the food splatter in your microwave and makes it much easier to wipe off.
Then, wipe down all countertops, your stovetop and sink with a disinfectant.
Use a lint roller on your couch cushions, then remove them to vacuum underneath them. You might find money or lost jewelry, but you’re more likely just to find crumbs. If you have stains on your microfiber couch, you can dab on rubbing alcohol with a cotton round or a white sponge, which will help to avoid dye transfers. Dust all of your picture frames.
First, launder your bedding. Including the bed skirt, shams and pillows. Dry your pillows on low with a tennis ball to prevent them from clumping. If you have a bulky comforter that needs washing, take it to the laundromat.
While your bedding is in the wash, sprinkle baking soda on your mattress and let it sit for an hour. Then, vacuum it up with the hose attachment. Flip and repeat.
Get rid of or pack any clothes you don’t wear or are out of season. Create a donations box and a box for your out-of-season items.