In a recent post, we provided some easy tips for getting your house in shape to show. We focused on repair work such as replacing your roof, removing dated wallpaper, replacing light fixtures and more.
In this post, we’d like to focus on cleaning tips. It’s easy to get in a rut with cleaning, but when you try to look at your home through a buyer’s eyes, you’ll be surprised at the small things that may be unnoticeable to you, but glaring to a buyer.
When getting your home ready to sell, spending some elbow grease cleaning can save you some money and make your home more attractive to buyers. Here are a few of the items to try.
Cleaning Painted Walls
When cleaning painted walls, start with a clean microfiber cloth or sponge and water. Gently wipe or sponge walls. If the grease, grime, and dirt persist, use mild water-based cleaner or dish soap. For difficult stains like soot or tobacco smoke, use a spray kitchen cleaner or all purpose cleaner. Do not use the abrasive side of a sponge, steel wool, or other metal mesh cleaners as these will remove the paint and may mar the drywall.
Caring for Stainless Steel
Ideally, clean stainless steel appliances once or twice a week. Disinfect with a disinfectant spray or bleach and water solution (1 part household bleach to 9 parts water), then use a wax-based aerosol spray. Lightly mist a soft, lint-free cloth and wipe over the surface to remove fingerprints and other marks. Don’t use anything abrasive—not even liquid cleansers or soft scrubbing pads as they can scratch or ruin the surface. If you have hardened, burned-on food on your stove burners, remove them, and soak them in warm water and dish soap until it is soft enough to remove.
Caring for Your Tiles
Clean your bathroom and kitchen tiles using a neutral pH cleaner or make your own with a gallon of water and 1/4 cup baking soda. Apply the mixture to floors with a soft mop or sponge. To clean your grout, use the same baking soda and water mixture, or use a toothbrush to apply a paste of an oxygen-based bleach and water. Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes, then wipe with a soft cloth or sponge and water. Once grout is clean, use a grout sealer to protect it. Apply the sealer with a small, slanted foam brush.
Various types of countertop material requires different approaches:
- Granite: wipe up stains immediately and have your granite sealed yearly. For rust stains, use a poultice of a half-gallon of water to 1/4 cup household ammonia. Use hydrogen peroxide in water for juice or coffee stains. Add a couple drops of ammonia for harder stains. Everyday scratches and wear respond to superfine, grade 0000 dry steel wool.
- Butcher block: To remove stains and scratches from solid butcher block, sand lightly with a fine wood sand paper. Oil the surface with food-safe wood oil.
- Solid Surface: Composite, solid-surface materials respond well to gently sanding with a fine dry steel wool or mildly abrasive cleanser. Remove stains with the oxygen-based bleach and water paste described above.
- Laminate countertops: Stains on a laminate countertop respond will to the bleach and water mixture or kitchen cleaners, but scratches are more difficult to disguise. Try a wax-based polish to fill in small lines and scratches or try this recipe. If your countertop is very marred, consider replacing it or using one of the DIY countertop faux finishes to give it an updated look.
Clean wood floors with a water-based household cleaner or wood soap, or follow the instructions here. If your floor has scratches, use an oil-based polish in a color similar to your wood to fill in the scratches. If you have many scratches, consider lightly sanding the area and applying a stain-finish combination available at most hardware or paint stores.
For synthetic carpets, you might rent a carpet-cleaning machine. Be sure to use only the soap or cleaning solution suggested, and avoid applying too much soap as the residue may attract more dirt.
Source: Alan and Heather Davis