A deep clean is essential when it comes to preparing your home for a sale, but it’s the finishing touches that can really make a house feel brand new again.
Buyers on today’s market are often looking for homes that are ‘move-in ready’ so that they don’t have to worry about any strenuous cleaning after the keys have been handed over.
A recent survey of 500 UK adults conducted by Martin & Co found that:
77% of UK adults would be less likely to put in an offer on a property that was unclean or cluttered.
66% of UK adults would rather save on costs and clean their home themselves if they were moving out rather than hire professional cleaners.
A clean home sends a powerful message. It conveys that the property is well-maintained and cared for, creating a positive impression on both visitors and potential buyers.
Property experts Martin & Co, Lora Manolova, end of tenancy specialist at Fantastic Services, and Hester Van Hein, professional organiser at Tidylicious share some of the best-kept cleaning secrets to give your home a touch of sparkle.
If your home is ready for those final touches of sparkle, here are some of the best-kept secrets from the world of cleaning.
Expert tips for professional-standard home cleaning
Start with decluttering
A clutter-free, organised home can appear and feel roomier than more cluttered homes of the same size because there's more space than things.
The size of a home can affect the price, so if you can make your home seem more spacious, you might be able to sell faster or increase the price.
Focus on one room at a time, and work clockwise around the room. Divide all items into categories and put any unwanted items on a discard pile straight away.
Gamify the decluttering, turning it into a scavenger hunt, which might be the way to get your children involved. Another way is to play the Minimalism Game developed by The Minimalists - a 30-day challenge where you get rid of one thing on day one, two things on day two, and so on.
Focus on high-traffic areas
When thinking about cleaning your home for viewings, the rooms that need extra attention are the high-traffic areas. Prioritise cleaning your entrance, your living room (especially the areas where you spend most of the time), and kitchen. Vacuum and mop the floors thoroughly in these areas. Don’t forget to dust and wipe down all surfaces, including light switches and doorknobs.
Ventilation is key
Let the fresh air come in while cleaning by opening windows or doors. This helps in expelling cleaning fumes and allows fresh air to circulate. Overwhelming fumes from cleaning can be unpleasant and this will help if you are fighting allergies or you have children or pets.
Use colour-coded cleaning cloths
Using coloured-coded cloths can help you get organised when cleaning, you can buy a whole pack of colour and fabric-coded clothes for each room and surfaces. If you can’t find colour specific cloths then assign the cloths you do have to different areas to avoid cross-contamination. For example, use yellow colours for kitchen surfaces and another for bathroom surfaces.
Deep clean appliances
Don't forget to deep clean appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. Run cleaning cycles with appropriate cleaners for each appliance. If you do not have a special cleaning solution for these appliances, a solution of baking soda and white vinegar is the perfect way to clean them well.
Address grout and seals
You can put your old toothbrushes to use for detailed cleaning in small, hard-to-reach spaces. Scrub grout, faucet crevices, or any tight spaces that need attention. Also make sure to check and clean seals around the windows and doors.
Consider professional carpet cleaning
If your carpet is in a much worse state than you expected, or if you rent your property, then domestic cleaners and vacuuming may not be strong enough to help.
For a truly deep clean, consider professional carpet cleaning services. This can remove deep-seated dirt and allergens from carpets. Moreover, it is much cheaper to book only a carpet cleaning service than a whole end of tenancy cleaning service.
Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner
This should be a must for every household. Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters for a more thorough clean. However, keep in mind that you need to regularly clean or replace vacuum filters to maintain efficiency.
Test cleaning products in small areas
Before applying a new cleaning product, you need to test it in a small, inconspicuous area. This will ensure it doesn't damage or discolour surfaces. The market is flooded with different cleaners, so make sure to take precautions.
Don't overlook light fixtures
This is important. For a professional level of cleaning, you need to clean all light fixtures including bulbs and lampshades. This enhances lighting and gives the room a brighter feel. You will be grateful for this cleaning trick when it’s time for viewings.
Vacuum, then scrub
It’s tempting to get right down into the business of scrubbing the bathroom floor when the task is in front of you, but you may notice that the dust and hair just keep accumulating into a soggy mess that sticks to every nook and cranny.
Cut the whole process short by vacuuming beforehand. Once the floor and surfaces are clear of any debris, you can then continue as usual with your go-to bathroom cleaner and sponge. This simple step will have your bathroom floor looking and feeling brand new.
Shine stainless steel with olive oil
If you’re tired of wiping away fingerprints from your fridge door and appliances to no avail, the shiny finish you’ve been looking for is just a drop of olive oil away. Use some dish soap and water to remove any surface dirt and allow time to dry. Then apply a pea-sized drop of olive oil to a paper towel and buff the appliance until shiny.
Remove bathroom soap scum
If the tiles in your shower room appear a little dull and faded, this might be because soap tends to form a hard-to-remove film over surfaces that you can’t get rid of by just rubbing. Instead, next time you run the shower, wait for it to dry afterward then scrape away the scum with a plastic putty knife and a scouring pad for the grout lines.
Clean up coffee rings
Coffee rings can mysteriously appear all over the house, and they’re notoriously hard to scrub away. The trick is to dab a small amount of white toothpaste (white, not gel) on the stain and rub it in with a clean cloth. Toothpaste has gentle exfoliating elements that are perfect for removing tough marks, without damaging the surface.
Make the oven sparkle
Baking soda and vinegar is the magic recipe for bringing your oven back to life – and this method is a lot cheaper and easier than buying an oven cleaning kit! Simply create a paste made up of baking soda and water and a squirt of dish soap. Use a sponge to coat the entire inside of your oven with the paste and once covered, close the door and leave to sit overnight.
In the morning, fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar, then use it to fully saturate the inside of the oven. Wipe away with a damp sponge and reveal the shiny, fresh surface.
Budget-friendly cleaning hacks
Baking soda and vinegar power duo
Mix baking soda and vinegar to unclog drains. Follow with hot water. Pour half a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then flush with hot water.
Rubber gloves pet hair picker
Use rubber gloves to pick up pet hair from carpets and upholstery. Dampen the gloves and run your hands over the surfaces.
Lemon for a fresh home
Use lemons to naturally clean and deodorise various surfaces. Rub half a lemon on cutting boards to remove stains and odours. You can also mix lemon juice with water for a DIY all-purpose cleaner.
Reuse old toothbrushes
You can put your old toothbrushes into use for detailed cleaning in small, hard-to-reach spaces. Scrub grout, faucet crevices, or any tight spaces that need attention.
Vodka for shiny fixtures
Use vodka to clean and shine chrome fixtures. Apply vodka on a cloth and wipe chrome surfaces. Buff with a dry cloth for a streak-free shine.
Coffee grounds for odour absorption
Place dry, used coffee grounds in a bowl to absorb odours. This is perfect for your cabinets and wardrobes. You can also leave the bowl in the fridge, freezer, or other smelly areas.
Cotton swab detailing
Use cotton swabs for detailed cleaning in small, intricate spaces. Dip a cotton swab in a cleaning solution to target corners, vents, and other tight spots.
Shoe polish for appliance shine
Apply shoe polish to stainless steel appliances for a glossy finish. Rub a small amount of shoe polish on appliances, then buff with a clean cloth.
Dish soap grout cleaner
Mix dish soap with baking soda for an effective grout cleaner. Create a paste, apply to grout lines, scrub, and rinse for a fresh look.
Professional cleaning vs doing it yourself
When it comes to preparing your home for new owners or viewings, cleaning is essential but can be costly.
Professional cleaning costs can vary based on factors such as the size of your home and the specific services required. On average, it might range from a few hundred to over a thousand pounds for a full house deep clean.
DIY cleaning is generally more budget-friendly as your main expense will be cleaning supplies if you don’t already have them. The cost of supplies like detergents, microfiber cloths, and other cleaning agents will be less expensive to buy than paying for a professional clean.
While cost-effective, DIY cleaning takes time, effort, and attention to detail. It's an excellent option for those who enjoy hands-on tasks and want to tailor the cleaning process to their preferences. However, if you are not the best cleaner yourself and time is essential for you, you should probably consider using professional services.