Deep Cleaning the House to Sell: A Time-Saving 10-Step Checklist

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: November 5, 2021

If you do it right, it puts extra money in your pocket. Still, getting your home ready to sell can really challenge your housekeeping superpowers. This is more than spring cleaning. This project makes a big difference in how buyers see your house as their potential home.

When you’re cleaning a house to sell, a checklist makes it easier, but who has time to sit down and work out the details?

Don’t worry. We know cleaning out a house to sell is a big job. We help homeowners all across Chicago get ready to relocate year-round, and we can help you too.

10 Must-Do Steps for Deep Cleaning the House to Sell

The hardest jobs are easier to manage when you get organized first. As you start cleaning your house to sell, our checklist can help you stay on track. Follow these 10 pre-sale cleaning steps, and turn your home into a house that really impresses prospective buyers.

deep cleaning house to sell checklist

1. Step Back and Plan Ahead

Take a good look at every room. Size up what needs to be done with an eye to organizing tasks. Plan on tackling one big chore at a time, and be honest with yourself about how long each job might take.

2. Move Out the Clutter

storage unit

Cleaning out a house to sell starts with getting rid of clutter. Pre-cleaning makes the heavy work easier, and it helps stage your home for potential buyers. Clear counters in the kitchen, dressers in bedrooms and shelves in the den.

Power Tip: Buyers peek in closets, so stash your boxed-up personal belongings in self storage.

3. Dig Deep in the Kitchen

Buyers like to look into every kitchen drawer, cabinet and corner. Make sure they inspect clean, well-organized spaces. Check lower cabinets for signs of insect debris, clear stray crumbs from drawers, and sweep away dust bunnies behind and under appliances.

Power Tip: When cleaning around appliances, never try to move them by yourself even a few inches. Stoves and refrigerators can easily tip over.

4. Put Extra Shine in Bathrooms

cleaning bathroom

Wash shower curtains, polish fixtures, and clean out behind toilets and under sinks. If tile and grout look dingy, call in a cleaning contractor who can quickly put a new-home shine back into floors, counters and backsplashes.

5. Refresh Carpets and Rugs

Carpet and rug cleaning before listing the house can add significant value to your asking price. It also eliminates the possibility that you’ve missed less-than-fresh carpets. Prospective buyers aren’t nose blind to smells you’ve become used to like pet odors in carpet fibers.

6. Clean From Ceiling to Floor

washing windows

General dusting, vacuuming and sweeping are ongoing chores. One-time projects include polishing light fixtures, wiping down walls and cleaning windows, doors, sills, trim and baseboards. Save time and effort by working from top to bottom and left to right.

7. Open Up the Windows

Interiors look better when they’re bathed in natural light, so keep windows sparkling clean inside and out. Pay attention to details like frames, sills and latches. Clean blinds and cords, and wash or dry-clean drapes. Polish panes in doors, sliding glass entrances and basement windows.

Power Tip: A handy squeegee upgrades window-cleaning efficiency by saving time and streaks.

8. Head Down to the Basement

basement cleaning

Make sure the basement looks presentable. If it’s unfinished, sweep the floor, knock down cobwebs, and move out stored boxes and belongings. If you enjoy a finished basement, give it the same detailed cleaning you apply to other rooms in the house.

9. Don’t Forget the Fireplace

Most guides on how to clean out your house to sell don’t take into account the fireplace found in so many Chicago homes. It’s an important feature that catches a buyer’s eye. Whether yours is gas or wood-burning, clean up the fireplace, and check its components for safe operation.

10. Be Ready to Ask for Help

home cleaning service company

Some homeowners hire house cleaning services before selling, and the advantages add up quickly. As much as you can do by yourself, there are still pre-sale jobs that belong in professional hands including carpet stain removal, air duct cleaning and mold remediation.