Dirty Home Spaces Turn Off Buyers

Women Cleaning Kitchen

When I was little my Italian great-grandmother, in her Italian accent, called her Spring Cleaning “the deepa clean”.  I always thought this was funny, and my mother used to say it to me too when I’d help her clean the house.

A great deal of preparation goes into getting a home ready for prospective home buyers. Motivated sellers must get their landscaping in top shape and repair items that could prevent a quick sale.  Simple staging presents the interiors in the best possible way.  Keeping the house clean for showings, possibly over a period of months, needs to be a priority for home sellers.  Here are some areas often overlooked when regularly cleaning your home.

Light Fixtures & Ceiling Fans

We generally focus on what we can see when we’re cleaning, often forgetting what’s above us.  Over time, your light fixtures and ceiling fans will accumulate a lot of dust.  For your ceiling fans, obviously turn them off, then wipe the dust off the blades, the fan housing, and any attached light fixture.  After dusting, wipe clean with any non-toxic, odorless cleaning product such as Simple Green or Krud Kutter. A white vinegar solution is not recommended.

Baseboards & Crown Molding

Clean baseboards and crown molding have an enourmous impact on the visual appeal of the room.  Start with you vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment. Next, use your preferred cleaning solution to wipe them all down.  If you have scuff marks, try Magic Erasers.  They truly are amazing at wiping off marks from shoes, vacuum cleaners bumbers, etc.


We all clean our toilets regularly, but how often do you clean the base of the tank?  I always use rubber gloves when cleaning the bath, as the cleaning products are a bit harsh on the skin.  Clean the base of the toilet, and don’t forget the curved flow section where dust and grime accumulate.  Clean the tank and lid thoroughly. For a complete bowl cleaning, remove the toilet lid and clean the lid holes on the top and underneath.

TV, Frames other Dust Collectors

If you’re home is staged properly, you’ve already removed and packed any framed photos from your wall or on furniture.  Any remaining artwork or decorative items should be dusted and cleaned.  Other object that can accumlate grime or dust are your TV and the TV remote, audio/visual equipment, and your computer.

Kitchen Cabinets & Bathroom Vanities

All your cabinets should be spotless and appear as new as possible, inside and out.  Refrain from scrubbing cabinets as you may harm or create scratches in the finish. Magic Erasers are again a savior here.  They remove caked on grease stains with ease. Take everything out of the cabinets and drawers.  Vacuum them thoroughly and then clean with diluted white vinegar solution or non-toxic cleaning product.  Now move on to all the drawer handles and knobs.  If they are beyond cleaning, replace them.


Your kitchen appliances are a primary selling point for your home.  They should be in pristine condition.  For stainless appliances, use a microfiber cloth with either a store bought stainless cleaning product, or a more organic solution.  Follow these great tips for the do’s and don’ts of stainless cleaning.

  1. OVENS: If you have a self-cleaning oven, run the cleaning.  This typically takes about 4 hours. Otherwise, use your preferred oven cleaning product according to the manufacturers specs. After the oven has cooled completed, wipe out any remaining ash or grime. If some grease stains remain, your Magic Eraser works here too.  If you do use Magic Erasers on the oven walls or racks, be sure to wipe clean with warm water to remove any cleaning residue.
  2. REFRIGERATORS: Start with the inside.  Remove all food and place in a cooler to stay fresh.  Clean all shelves and drawers with a non-toxic, odorless cleaning product. Take out the ice bin and clean or wash in dishwasher.
  3. DISHWASHERS:  Three simple steps for a squeaky clean, fresh dishwasher: a) Examine the drain area and remove any foreign objects, b) Run an empty wash cycle with 1-cup of white vinegar in the top rack in the hottest setting, and c) Run a short-wash cycle with about a ¼ cup of baking soda sprinkled on the bottom in the hottest water setting. If you have problems with mold and mildew, add ½-1 cup bleach in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full cycle. Do not do this step if the inside of your dishwasher is stainless steel.
  4. MICROWAVES: Remove the rotating glass plate and wash or run through dishwasher. Place 1 cup of water and a chopped up lemon, lime or orange or several tablespoons of white vinegar in the micowave and run on high for 5 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, remove the bowl and wipe the inside clean. Any stubborn grease on the inside or out can again be removed with a Magic Eraser.

Glass & Mirrors

Clean windows and mirrors will make a room brighter and more appealing.  Clean all windows both inside and out. Use a white vinegar based solution to avoid streaks.  Mirrors may take several cleanings.  And newspapers do work better than paper towels, if the ink is soy-based, which most publishers switched to by 2000. Look for a Soy Ink seal, or if you hold the paper between 2 fingers and after a minute or two there is no stain, the ink is soy-based.

Air Vents

The best way to clean the air vents is to remove them from the wall or ceiling.  You can then thoroughly clean them from top to bottom. This also allows you to get a vacuum cleaner to clean as far as you can reach into the air ducts to remove dust and other foreign objects.

Window Frames & Door Jambs

Your window frames and door jambs need to be in their best condition; not only for the prospective buyer but also their inspector. Start with your vacuum and brush attachment to remove all dust and dirt. This includes inside the window. Then use your preferred cleaning solution to wipe clean the window frames and door jambs.  Don’t forget your Magic Erasure for trouble spots. Remove the window screens and rinse them with a hose or in your bathtub.