Cleaning Checklist

Cleaning your home is the first step to showing it in its best light. Buyers look into every nook and cranny. You should go through your home as if you were a potential buyer and look at it with critical eyes!

If it is dirty, clean it.
If it is broken, fix it.
If it is noisy, silence it.
If it is not working, repair it.

Here is a checklist to help you plan your cleaning and repairing schedule:

Every room

  • Clean all walls of smudges, stains and fingerprints
  • Repair any chipped plaster
  • Touch up the paint where plaster is repaired
  • Clean or remove wallpaper and wax any woodwork
  • Launder curtains and drapes
  • Clean mini blinds
  • Vacuum and shampoo rugs and carpets
  • Repair any worn spots on carpeting, or pull up and replace with area rugs
  • Mop and clean floors
  • Dust and polish furniture
  • Repair and stain furniture nicks or scratches (although they are not buying your furniture, this reflects on the overall care of the home)
  • Repair loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and drawers
  • Replace all light bulbs; make sure all light fixtures are in good working order
  • Clean all light fixtures
  • Replace switch plates that are cracked or discolored
  • Polish and shine any brass hardware
  • Clean all glass and mirrors
  • Tighten banister railings
  • Clean ceiling fans and make sure they are in good working order
  • Eliminate or disguise any household odors with good quality sprays or plug-ins

Living room and family room

  • Clean the fireplace and polish the fireplace tools
  • Remove unhealthy plants
  • Put children’s and pets’ toys away
  • Pack and store knick knacks and personal photographs

Kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room

  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Polish the faucets and make them shine
  • Eliminate clutter by removing unnecessary small appliances
  • Organize shelves and drawers to create space
  • Clean all appliances
  • Wash dishes, run the dishwasher and empty it
  • Clean the sinks
  • Remove water stains, soap buildup and mildew
  • Clean the toilets; tighten the toilet seat if needed; put the seat down
  • Wash or replace shower curtains
  • Re-caulk and repair grouting (or re-grout)
  • Remove rust stains, mildew and water stains
  • Take out the trash


  • Eliminate clutter and organize closets, shelves and drawers to create space
  • Make the beds

Garage, storage shed and basement

  • Dispose of hazardous waste
  • Sweep, clean and paint the garage floor
  • Organize shelves and get things up off the floor (you want to show that the garage has room for cars and other things and that the basement has lots of room for storage)

Check out our article Preparing Your House for the Real Estate Market for other helpful tips to help show your home at its best.