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Expert Home Staging Tips: Keep It Clean

ForSaleByOwner May 3, 2024

What’s the most crucial part of home staging? Getting your home clean and keeping it that way. The care and condition of your home alerts potential buyers to the beauty (or the beast) they will be inheriting if they choose to purchase your home, so when you’re preparing and staging your home to sell, you can’t afford to miss any details. After all, there are dollars in the details. Darlene Parris, Owner, Home Stager and Interior Redesigner of Los Angeles-based UPSTAGED!, compiles a ‘must do’ cleaning list for staging your home.

Bathroom sink with flowers and mirror

If you have gone through the process of depersonalizing, decluttering and eliminating unpleasant odors in your home, then much of the cleaning necessary to properly stage your home for sale is already done. These expert cleaning tips will help you put the finishing touches on a successful home staging.


A potential buyer will be systematic in their ceiling to floor inspection of your home, which is why you should take the same approach when eliminating dust from all areas of the house. The best method for getting rid of dust is to work from top to bottom starting in the corner of the room and moving in a clockwise manner outward.

Start with your ceiling line, focusing on ceiling fans and light fixtures. These items are commonly missed while also being notorious for collecting dust. Make sure that you target the tops of any archways or overhangs, and give your walls and baseboards a good scrubbing while also evaluating whether or not they require a new coat of paint. If you have wood or tiled floors, start by removing the dust with a broom, duster or vacuum before moving on to a thorough cleaning and polishing.

Flooring (Carpet)

If your home is carpeted, a deep cleaning is in order. You may be more comfortable hiring a professional to help ensure that you get rid of any troublesome stains and pet odors, but you can also do it yourself. Keep in mind, however, that stains and odors caused by pet urine, especially that of cats, will require specialized treatment for removal.

If your carpet is sagging in places, have it re-stretched or replace it if necessary as your budget allows.

Flooring (Wood and Tile)

Your wood floors need to sparkle, so it’s important to know that the finish instead of the type of wood will determine treatment and care. For example, if you have floors that are surface-sealed using polyurethane or polyacrylic finishes, you can perform a quick sweeping and mopping to care for the floor. If, on the other hand, your floor is oil-treated or penetrating-seal-treated, your floor will likely require a liquid or paste wax for protection. This is also true for other wood surfaces in your home like paneling or built-in cabinetry. Be certain that you clean up any scuffmarks and make repairs where necessary.

If you have tiled floors, clean them with a solution that’s recommended based on the type of tile you have. For tiles on the walls in your kitchen and bathroom, use the same general process of performing an overall cleaning followed by spot and grout cleaning with the appropriate products.

Make sure that you replace any broken tiles and re-grout where the current grout has degraded and is unappealing to the eye.

Additional Spaces

Pay special attention to your kitchen and bathrooms. Clean the glass shower enclosure and eliminate hard water stains as much as possible. Potential buyers will see hard water stains as an indication of your home being unclean. If there is no shower enclosure or door, hang a new shower curtain. Hang fresh towels on the day of your open house to complete the look and feel of an overall clean space.

In the kitchen, wipe the fronts of cabinets clean as well as door handles and drawer pulls as they tend to attract grease and dust. Clear your sink of dirty dishes and clean your counter top surfaces. Put away all cleaning items in a designated, but out of sight, area for easy access.

Although potential buyers aren’t there to buy your furniture, they will pay attention to the cleanliness of your home furnishings. If your upholstery is in need of cleaning or your furniture is in need of dusting, make sure that these important issues are addressed as well.

Deep Cleaning

Keep in mind that this initial deep cleaning is no ordinary, regular or routine cleaning regimen. If buyers get the impression that there is too much work to be done, they may be turned off to the idea of purchasing your home. You want potential buyers to understand that you have been a responsible homeowner and that you have given your home great care and attention to detail over the years. Make sure you thoroughly clean room by room even though the process may seem daunting. And remember, if you do not have the time to do all of this yourself, you can elect to enlist the help of a professional cleaning crew to make your home sparkle and shine.

Following these expert staging tips will ensure that your home is at its best when buyers come knocking.

This is part 5 of a 5-part series about staging your home as you prepare to host potential buyers at showings and open houses. Learn more about eliminating unpleasant odors in Part 4 of our Expert Home Staging Tips.