8 Places to Clean In Your Home Before Selling


A deep clean is the perfect follow-up step to decluttering and repairs. The goal of the deep clean is to get rid of dirt, stains, and smells that may turn a buyer off. Showcasing your home’s best qualities is always the goal, and deep cleaning your home before selling helps create that welcoming environment that allows a buyer to see themselves living in your home. Instead of being fixated on that gunky corner of the kitchen or bathroom, they’re able to focus on and appreciate the updated kitchen counters and nice double-sink bathroom vanity. 

Cleaning well does take time and effort, but it’s worth it when the result is your home looking fresh and ready to move into.

8 place to clean in your home

When you clean, you’re going for freshness. 

What does that mean? It means you want to remove the signs of a well-lived-in home and make your spaces look (and smell) as new and unmarked as possible. There may be some longterm impacts of a lived-in home that you can’t clean away, but most of what can turn a buyer off can be. 

1. Clean the kitchen

Thinking about deep-cleaning your home can be a daunting task, but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and just do one thing at a time. Also, start with what you know, like the regular daily or weekly things you may already be doing. This means things like cleaning and putting away dishes, wiping down surfaces (including counters, backsplash, appliances, and even cabinets), and scrubbing out the sink. Not so bad, right?

Now just extend the same effort to the things you may normally gloss over or do more infrequently. Dust appliance and cabinet tops, give the garbage disposal a scrub, and clean the inside and outside of the garbage can the next time you empty the bag.

a messy kitchen that will need cleaning before selling

Finally, go after those things that take a little more time and effort but can have a big impact on the way your kitchen appears to the fresh eyes of a buyer. This means organizing cabinets and drawers, wiping crumbs and dust out of the corners as you declutter. Same goes for the fridge and pantry. Be sure to throw out or compost old food that’s lingering in the back of the shelves while you’re at it. 

Like decluttering, this cleaning will help make your kitchen storage spaces look larger and more appealing. Just be sure to clean out those pesky back corners that are now visible again. And yes, this also means giving that microwave a proper scrub – inside and out. Same goes for the oven, as well as the toaster and coffee maker, assuming those don’t fit into a cabinet or drawer.

2. Clean the bathrooms

The same approach you took in the kitchen will work in the bathrooms. Start with the regular maintenance you’re used to, and then move on to other overlooked areas. 

Cleaning and washing countertops, sinks, mirrors and floors can help bring the shine back into a lived-in bathroom. Be sure to get into the grout of a tile counter or backsplash, and in the seams of the faucet and sink. While these details won’t make or break a sale, they may push a buyer over the edge from like to love.

The shower and tub may be hidden behind a door or curtain, but rest assured that your buyers will take a look. Get the soft scrub out and try to work that stain out of the tub and get the shine back into the fixtures. A clean or even new shower curtain can also importantly help brighten up your shower. The toilet likewise should look as fresh and new as possible.

Just like in the kitchen, do your best to clean all cabinets, drawers, and any closets. Also clean the trash can the next time you empty it, inside and out. Lastly, be sure to clean any rugs or mats you have in the bathroom. If stained, consider a fresh new one or even remove it altogether if appropriate for your space.

a person scrubbing the toilet to clean their home

3. Clean the bedrooms

You’ve already done the work to declutter your bedrooms, so cleaning is pretty straightforward. 

Sweeping or vacuuming and dusting is a great first step. Put on clean, fresh bedding and make sure throw pillows and blankets are clean and stain-free. Be sure to launder or dust any window treatments as potential buyers will definitely be checking out your bedroom views. If you have a ceiling fan, don’t forget to give it a quick wipe. 

Finally, make sure dirty laundry is put away in a closet and kept up on. The last thing you want your buyer to smell when they walk in your bedroom are those gym clothes in the corner waiting to be washed.

4. Clean the office

Assuming you’ve done your decluttering work, the office should also be relatively straightforward, but does have some special consideration beyond the regular dusting and vacuuming you did in the bedrooms. Things like bookshelves and office electronics (like a keyboard or printer) can collect a lot of dust so be sure to go over the entire space with an eye on dust. 

You may also want to check for coffee stains on the carpet or a stained office chair. It’s true these items won’t be staying behind after you move, but dirty furniture can sour a buyer’s sense of an otherwise clean and fresh space. And don’t forget to empty and clean up that garbage can!

5. Clean the family or living room

\Soft surfaces like couches, blankets, and drapes should definitely be laundered or vacuumed. Do your best to work out any lingering pesky stains in the ottoman or throw pillows. Dust all surfaces including coffee and side tables, window sills, shelves, and electronics. Even if you’ve decluttered, you may still need to organize a bookshelf or entertainment center to give it a cleaner look. And remember, don’t forget to look up and catch any dust or cobwebs on a ceiling fan or around can lights.

6. Clean the entry

Rugs and mats at your entry are there to get dirty. That’s their purpose. But a fresh first step into a new house can help set a tone for a buyer. If laundering or vacuuming doesn’t clean up a dirty rug, consider a new one, or remove it entirely if appropriate. 

The doorknob and door can likewise make a big first impression. Check for dirt or smudges around the knob or on the door from heavy, everyday use. This is the kind of thing that builds slowly and we often don’t notice – but a buyer may.

Hang lingering coats in a hall closet and move shoes to bedrooms or under an entry bench.

7. Clean the laundry room

Just like with the entryway, laundry rooms can dirty over time and we may not notice the buildup of dust or grime. Give the washer, dryer, and any cabinets the same once-over you gave appliances in the kitchen. 

Dryer lint has a way of spreading beyond the dryer itself. Dust every surface, and give the floor a thorough clean. Even consider cleaning out the dryer vent and ducting covers in the room too. These places can hold onto dusty and musty smells your buyer may notice.

8. Clean the garage

You may be thinking: it’s a garage, it’s bound to be dirty. And while that’s true to an extent, there’s still some simple things you can do to help make your garage look more appealing. Yes, sweeping and wiping down dirty surfaces is helpful – but the number one thing you should do is organize. 

For a lot of people, the garage is a catch-all storage space for seasonal decorations and tools. While that’s fine, keeping things organized will help it look cleaner, bigger, and less stressful to potential buyers.

As much as possible, put things into cabinets, boxes, or bins with lids. Get tools, toys, bikes, and sporting equipment organized. Donate any unused items and take those miscellaneous recyclables to where they need to go. And don’t forget about undesirable odors. This may mean storing something outside or in a shed, but it will be worth the inconvenience.

dirty garage that needs cleaning before selling the home

Bonus: Clean the entire house

The entire house? You’ve basically done this already – congratulations! 

The point we’re trying to make is this: there are a few tasks that should really happen throughout your home. So make sure you follow these house-wide steps to clean your home before selling:

  • Wipe down baseboards, light switches, outlet covers, doorknobs, and walls as needed.

  • Dust surfaces that may have eluded you, like picture frames and other wall decorations, light fixtures, hallway shelving, electronics, window blinds, fans, and even door frames.

  • Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners and other areas that you may have missed.

  • Wash windows (inside and out) and clean out messy interior window tracks.

  • Sweep, mop, and vacuum all floors and rugs.

  • Consider having your carpets cleaned, especially to remove odors and lingering stains.

  • Clean or replace furnace filters, HVAC filters, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as needed.


Well done! You’ve now got the cleanest, freshest house in the neighborhood. You’re also ready to showcase your home’s best features to potential buyers, without the fear they’ll get sidetracked by old gunk or a mild odor. 

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