You may think this isn’t rocket science, yet it’s amazing how often I’ve come across a home that needs a good cleaning. A visually clean home that sparkles and shines is one of the key elements to selling a home. Not only does the house need to look spotless (goodbye dust bunnies), but curbing those lingering odors from last night’s fish or curry dinner, plus long-term pet odors are as equally important to address. Spending the extra time to clean will not only show how nice your home is, but it will be healthier.
Pay attention to these high impact areas on a daily and weekly basis:
- Front Entrance – remove all cobwebs, dead leaves and plants, sweep out the front step and refresh your welcome mat (especially if it is tattered looking). Repot your planters in groups of three in coordinating colors with fresh plants and keep them watered!
- Windows – clean windows inside and out with a white vinegar and water solution (see below for the recipe), and old newsprint. Make certain to clean the window sills too. Cleaning windows when the sun isn’t shining through them is ideal. If you don’t do windows hire a professional window cleaner for streak-free windows.
- Flooring – vacuum, mop and shine whether you have carpets, wood or tile flooring. Keep them clean and free of debris. Clean shiny floors reflect spaces and enhances the room. Remember to clean in the corners and under furniture.
- Look Up – yes, look up at the ceiling, corners and tops of cabinets and you may notice a small collection of cobwebs stretching from one corner to the next. A quick zap with the vacuum nozzle should take care of those pesky spiders.
- Pet Areas – cat litter boxes can be offensive if not maintained on a daily basis. Make certain to vacuum and then wet mop around the litter box (sweeping only moves the dust around). Wash down surrounding walls with an enzymatic cleaner (available at pet supply stores) that breaks down pet-waste odors and urine. Make certain that all pet dander is vacuumed on a daily basis, pick up toys, and tuck food and water dishes in an area where visitors won’t trip upon them when you have a showing. Immediately clean up mishaps from your pets rather than letting them sit and absorb into the furniture, flooring or curtains.
- Bathrooms – the shower and bathtub, toilet bowl and sink are areas in a home that get so much use, yet gets neglected. Make certain to wipe these areas down after each use and don’t forget to wipe up the floor, especially around the toilet. Lingering odors can become stale and uninviting, as most rooms lack windows and fans are rarely used. Buyers are always pulling back the shower curtain to see the tub, make it presentable and don’t forget to clean out the stopper too!
- Odors – masking last nights dinner, pet odors and stale air can be remedied by opening all windows for cross ventilation and allowing the fresh air to move from room-to-room. Masking odors with plug-ins or heavily scented candles can only make the problem worse and raises a flag to prospective buyers. Vacuuming with baking soda sprinkled on the carpet can help to absorb some odors. If you must use plug-ins do so sparingly.
Window Cleaner Recipe: 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, 4 drops of dishwashing soap, mix in a spray bottle and use a soft clean, lint-free cloth wipe the windows, finish with newsprint (don’t use the colored pages) for a streak-free window.
Maintaining your home on a daily basis will make it simpler to keep your home sparkly, shining and presentable when your house is on the market. Even if you aren’t planning to sell maintaining a clean home increases your energy level and could even help you breathe a little easier. If you need help finding someone to help with these tasks, contact me.