5 Unexpected Places to Clean Before Listing a Home

by Amy BellJune 13, 2013

With summer upon us, the housing market is starting to heat up. A crucial aspect of readying a home to place on the market is taking time to thoroughly, meticulously clean, both inside and out. There are obvious areas that most home owners will tackle first when it comes to the cleaning process, but today’s ideas go beyond the standard cleaning tasks to alert you to areas that might get overlooked in the cleaning hustle and bustle. Taking time to detail these areas along with the obvious ones will ensure you don’t overlook an eyesore that might ultimately deter an interested buyer!

Area 1: Mailboxes

Chances are, one of the first things prospective buyers will pass by when they come to your home is your mailbox, and a pollen- and mildew-covered mailbox will definitely make for a lackluster first impression! To clean, use an all-purpose cleaner diluted in warm water, and apply to the mailbox with a brush, scrubbing to remove mildew and other stubborn stains. Rinse well with a garden hose to finish.

Area 2: Exterior Doors

The doors on a home’s exterior are faced with extreme temperatures, moisture and anything else the elements throw their way. Washing them thoroughly with soapy water and a rag or sponge will remove any pollen, mildew or other grime that has accumulated there. Sliding glass doors should be detailed thoroughly, removing any dirt that has accumulated in the door’s track by using a vacuum’s hose attachment and then wiping down all surfaces with an all-purpose spray. Often, you won’t realize how dingy a door has become until it has been cleaned. Once your front door is spotless, hang a wreath to welcome potential buyers. It makes a great first impression!

Area 3: Under the Microwave

It might seem obvious that the inside of a microwave would need some TLC before the sale, but don’t forget that on microwaves mounted over a stove, grease and other messes accumulate underneath and need to be scrubbed away. Over-the-range microwaves include a filter on the underside of the unit that needs to be cleaned regularly. To do so, remove the filter (consult the manual for your appliance for the appropriate way to do so), and thoroughly wash it in soapy water. Allow it to air dry completely before replacing. Use a Magic Eraser to scrub away any grime that has settled on the underside of the microwave unit itself.

Area 4: Air Vents and Returns

No matter how tidy you keep your home, there is inevitably dust in the air. And where does that dust ultimately tend to settle? On the places all of that air flows through: vents and returns. Dingy white vents can be a real eyesore! To clean, start by using a vacuum hose attachment to remove the majority of the dust, and then wipe everything down with a rag and soapy water. When the vents and returns are clean, be sure to replace your filters! A clean filter is a sign of a homeowner who pays attention to the upkeep and maintenance of his or her home, a great selling point for prospective buyers.

Area 5: Washer and Dryer

Even if you aren’t planning to include these appliances in your home’s listing, washers and dryers need to be cleaned thoroughly to give prospective buyers the best possible first impression of your home’s laundry room. Clear away any lint, detergent or other messes that have accumulated on top of each unit, and then use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe each one down until it shines.

Investing a bit of time into the home-cleaning process can potentially pay off handsomely once your home is on the market, allowing prospective buyers to focus on the great things your home has to offer instead of small but unsightly eyesores. Tackling less-than-obvious areas in cleaning is one way to ensure your home stands out from the other homes on the market.

Do you have an area for cleaning to recommend that might get overlooked? Feel free to share it in the comments!

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About The Author
Amy Bell
  • June 18, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Great advice, Amy! You’d think that the mailbox and the exterior door are kind of obvious places to clean, but nope. So many sellers just can’t be bothered with that.

  • Hank Palacio
    June 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Spider webs and debris on roof. Webs arpimnd eves and windows. Blow off roof and/or pressure wash.

  • June 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Under the kitchen sink is nice…under bathroom sinks too. Dirty window screens are a real turn off to me. And ceiling fans.

  • July 1, 2013 at 6:29 am

    There are few things that come to my mind … like changing the vacuum cleaner bag, cleaning the garage floor from some oil leeks …if i think of something else .. ill comment again 🙂

  • Anonymous
    January 14, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Okay, now I have to check my Air Vents and Returns. Thank you for giving my this idea!

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