Practical Home Cleaning Tips

March 1, 2012

A clean home is of utmost importance while it is on the market. Nobody wants to purchase someone else’s dirt. The following checklist provides cleaning tips with an emphasis on what most buyers commonly focus on when they walk through a home on the market. Provide this list to your clients and you will be surprised how grateful they will be for your guidance and direction.

ENTRYWAY and LIVING ROOM CLEANING CHECKLIST

Front Door Clean the front door with a good general purpose cleaner such as Simple Green. Use a metal polishing cloth to shine the metal hinges and doorknob. Install a brass kick plate to give the front door a more polished look.
Entryway If there is carpet in the entryway use a fresh, attractive carpet mat near the front door to keep this high traffic area clean. If there is tile in the entryway clean the grout thoroughly. A cleaning solution of 4 parts water to 1 part bleach will do the job. If there are hard wood floors in the entryway purchase a commercial grade restore cleaner made for hard wood floors.
Living Room For carpet, it is always best to use a professional carpet cleaner that can take out the tough spots and add a deodorizing solution. If this is not an option, rent a carpet cleaner. Pay extra attention to tough spots and deodorizing the carpet.
Woodwork Make sure that woodwork is free of smudges and nicks. This includes stair railings, baseboards and chair railing. A great product for wood is lemon oil, which can be used to cover scratches and restore luster on all wood surfaces.
Walls In a formal entryway it is imperative that all walls, baseboards and other molding are in perfect condition. There should be no scuff marks, dirt or dings.
Lighting Clean all light fixtures and replace burned out bulbs so they all have equal wattage.
Windows Windows should be spotless. The best products for this are ammonia and vinegar used in water. The solution should be mixed ½ cup of ammonia, ½ cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water. Use a sponge to wash the windows and a lint free terry cloth towel to dry them. The windows should sparkle and be smudge free.

KITCHEN CLEANING CHECKLIST

Floors To clean vinyl floors use a damp microfiber mop to eliminate any accumulation of soap buildup. If the floor is still dull, use a vinyl floor restorer or polymer product. If a tile floor is present use the instruction provided above to clean the grout.
Counters Buyers zero in on counter tops and they should be in perfect condition. There are products on the market specifically designed to restore laminate counter tops to like new condition if they are not to badly worn.
Cabinets Cabinets need to be cleaned with a de-greasing product such as Simple Green. Cabinets should be cleaned inside and out because buyers will open them. Don’t forget the cabinet pulls and hinges.
Pantry The pantry should also be cleaned inside and out. Buyers will open the pantry to check for storage space. The pantry should be well organized and free from clutter.
Hood/Exhaust Fan Clean and de-grease under the hood. Make sure the lights and fan are working.
Stove Buyers will open the oven and look inside. It should be spotless! Make sure all elements work and the knobs look new.
Dishwasher Leaks, rust spots on the racks and stained liner do not give a good impression. These should be cleaned. Make sure the dishwasher is empty and has a pleasant smell for any showings.
Refrigerator The inside should be spotless and smell good, especially if you are including it in the sale.
Light Fixtures Light fixtures should be cleaned and in good condition. Replace bulbs with the highest wattage as can safely be used. The more light in the kitchen the better.
Sink The sink should be spotless with no hard water spots, rust stains, or damage. Use vinegar to remove water spots. Use a light coating of mineral oil to give stainless steel sinks a shine.
Faucets Faucets should be in perfect condition with no drips or damage. Shine metal parts with window cleaner.

BATHROOM CLEANING CHECKLIST

Floors If the floor is tiled use the grout cleaning solution mentioned above. If the floor is vinyl, clean it thoroughly. Make sure it is not beginning to curl up due to failed glue. If it is, this is an inexpensive, easy fix.
Fixtures Fixtures should be clean and shiny. Don’t forget doorknobs, pulls and hinges.
Mirrors Mirrors should be shiny and streak free. Use the vinegar and ammonia solution mentioned above for this task.
Sink It is important to remove all rust and hard water spots.  If the sink is chipped, there are repair kits available. Work carefully to match the color.
Showers/tubs Make sure tile and grout are clean. Re-caulk where the tile or other surface meets the tub or shower pan. Shower doors need to be cleaned with a hard water stain remover so that the glass and metal are shiny and new looking.If necessary, re-caulk around the tub.
Toilet The toilet should be spotless with no bowl water stains. Bleach is a good toilet stain cleaner. Replace the seat and hardware if needed.
Lights Make sure the light fixtures above the sink are clean and polished.  Multi-bulb fixtures should have the same wattage bulbs. Don’t forget to clean the switch covers.  Replace them if they are old or cracked.

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