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By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Although several other factors contribute to the overall process of staging, cleaning is where the real magic happens. According to a survey, 93 percent of real estate agents recommend that sellers declutter their house before putting it on the market.

In this post, we will present the essential tips on how not to clean a house when selling and tips on how to improve the process, with a list of the common mistakes many homeowners make during the process.

Dont's of Cleaning a House to Sell

Don't Rush The Process

Deep-cleaning a house takes time and effort. Taking things slowly ensures your house is ready to impress prospective buyers. Otherwise, you might miss out on a great deal.

Each of us has different standards of what is clean, which is fine. However, when you are looking to sell your property, you will need to bring your cleaning standards to-to a level that will make the property clean and appealing to all potential buyers.

When viewing properties, buyers scrutinize everything and look at every corner.

Their main goal after inspecting the layout is to check for potential drawbacks that will allow them to undercut your asking price.

Don't Try To Do It All at Once

Some homeowners tend to clean a significant portion of their houses in one go. Remember, it takes time to prepare your house for viewing. Instead of tiring yourself, try to divide your cleaning process into days.

Don't Overlook the Small Things

When it comes to deep-cleaning, there’s a big misconception that only the prominent and visible stuff matters. Small things like decorations and plants also contribute to the overall aesthetics of the place.

Don't Go Overboard

Lastly, don’t stress too much about having a spotless house, as there’s a limit to what you can do. Once you have thoroughly cleaned a room, sit back and congratulate yourself on your accomplishment. You must try and enjoy the process.

How many times each of us decided to clean the house first and ends up not doing it?

Life can take its own course and sometimes cleaning and house chores can add up generating more stress. 

Bad habits are easy to sneak into our lives, while good habits require more work and persistence. Maintaining a cleaning house especially when you are selling is a tough job and here’s why.

Stats show that 2 out of 3 properties end up either not selling or attracting low-ball offers simply because they are not properly maintained and clean. 

Eight ways to prevent your house from a good sale

Not knowing what you want: Not being able to determine what you want to achieve is a recipe for a messy house

The missing list of benefits: Especially for large families building habits for a routine cleaning can be hard and another ingredient for a dirty house

Not committing to habits: Procrastination works against you. How many times you have waited until the last minute to clean before a potential buyer’s showing on your doorstep?

Missing rewards: After each clean, missing even a small reward can make the tasks look even more mundane 

Explosive start: It may sound reasonable but it works against logic, explosive starts are effective only once, after that the momentum is lost without setting up a habits

Performance over consistency: Keeping up a speedy tempo for a long time it’s not sustainable and will tear you down

Not using a friend: Don’t go alone into tasks, with which you are not comfortable, at least for the start

Looking for perfection: Hitting goals constantly it’s not sustainable and incompatible with a normal lifestyle

If you have never done a deep clean of your house and it’s up for sale, it’s best to get help with the first step. 

Suppose you can afford to hire a cleaning or decluttering company to set some rules and give you the needed start. Then it’s up to you to ensure regular maintenance and cleaning are ongoing.

Then, just 2 to 3 weeks later, you will recognize that cleaning it’s not the hassle anymore that’s been before.

If you can’t afford to hire a cleaning company, get help from a friend, get a house cleaning checklist and execute.

6 Cleaning Tips Before Selling Your Home

Start by Dividing Rooms

Before gathering supplies, it’s best to plan by dividing your house into different rooms or sections. Cleaning can be overwhelming, but if you tackle one room at a time, you can slowly progress towards a much cleaner space.

house cleaning daily plan
Cleaning plan on a house for sale

Suppose there are five rooms in the house. You can have a target of working on just one room daily. If you have larger rooms, you can divide them into smaller sections and work on one section at a time. It’ll help you stay focused and prevent burnout.

Deep-cleaning a house after a long time isn’t a process you can do instantly. Instead, you need to have the right tricks up your sleeves if you don’t want to burden yourself.

Get Rid of All the Junk


Junk or clutter takes up the most amount of space in a house. Most people have acquired a lot of unnecessary items over the years. Hence, it’s essential to look at each room and get rid of stuff you don’t need.

You can look to donate some items and sell the things that are in good condition. It’s best to remove as much stuff as possible, as this will give the buyer a better visualization of your house.

Wash Windows and Floors

Windows and floors are the initial things a prospective buyer would notice, and you must wash them as thoroughly as possible. Buyers like sunlight coming into rooms, so it’s best to leave the curtains or blinds open during viewing.

Additionally, the right cleaning supplies also play a significant role. You can easily make a DIY window and floor cleaner by mixing warm water with a little dish soap and vinegar.

house selling window and floor cleaning
House selling window and floor cleaning

Lastly, try to cover every tile and spot, and make sure to remove grime and fingerprints. Clean windows and floors give the impression that you care about your house and take pride in its appearance.

Combat Mold

Mold is the most sensitive topic for prospective buyers, as it can be a source of various diseases. Generally, it’s found in bathrooms, windowsills, shower curtains, and walls.

You can eliminate mold using removers like RMR-86, Star Brite, and Home Armor. While removing mold, remember to wear protective clothing such as a shower cap and rubber gloves.

Fast Clean

Imagine you just got a call from your realtor saying that a prospect is coming to your place in 2 hours. In situations like these, time is of the essence. All you need to do is focus on tasks that would take five to ten minutes or less.

For instance, take out the garbage, clean dirty dishes, clear messy toys, dust surfaces and remove any clutter that could turn off a potential buyer. You don’t have to worry about cleaning every corner of the house. 

Focus on the Kitchen and Bathrooms

The kitchen and bathroom are two crucial areas of a house and quite possibly the dirtiest ones. You must inspect them thoroughly for any stains or built-up grime. In terms of the kitchen, scrub your cabinets and clean your sink, fridge, oven, and especially the countertops. 

You can make a DIY spray cleaner by mixing baking soda, warm water, liquid soap, and distilled vinegar. Use it to scrub every little smudge in the bathrooms. You can clean your shower curtains in the washing machine using warm water, detergent, and white vinegar.

For the heavy DIY doers, there are several things to avoid when cleaning:

  • Avoid using vinegar on stone counters as it can damage materials such as granite.
  • Don’t mix bleach with ammonia to make DIY cleaners. The mixture produces gas which is very harmful to your health.
  • Avoid using a laundry stain remover on carpets as it’s likely to leave a sticky residue that attracts dirt.
  • Don’t use bleach to clean rust as it will worsen it. You can use a rust stain remover instead.

How To Maintain a Clean House

Deep cleaning a house is full of overwhelming chores that can take quite some time. Hence, it’s essential to understand the value of seasonal cleaning. 

Seasonal cleaning is all about cleaning after every season. Rather than doing a one-time spring cleaning, try to clean your house after every major seasonal holiday.

It’ll help to keep your house in immaculate condition throughout the year.

Build a Habit of Cleaning

Habits are the small things that contribute to our everyday routine. Instead of cleaning after a long interval, try to make it a part of your routine.

Find a designated place for everything

Everything has its place. People often put their items around the house and forget to pick them up. At first, it might not seem like a big issue, but sooner or later, you find yourself wasting time on these little tasks.

Have a Look at Your Room Before Leaving

An essential step to maintaining a clean house is to remain on the lookout for clutter. Instead of leaving places in a rush, look back and ensure everything is in its place. Dont forget to fix the bedsheet or wipe away any spilled drinks.

Learn the Power of Having a Clean Environment

Cleaning shouldn’t be to impress others. Consider it a type of meditation that allows you to live in a healthy and secure atmosphere. A clean place can reduce stress and anxiety.

Remember, the objective isn’t just to clean but to feel comfortable and relaxed around the house.

Picture of George Nicola
George Nicola

Deep cleaning a house to sell can seem exhausting, especially if you have a tight schedule.

However, with consistent effort and proper techniques, you can turn a messy house into a sight for potential buyers.

Remember, no prospect will be impressed by an unclean place.

Instead, try to wow buyers with a home interior that’s as clean as a whistle.

Happy Cleaning!

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