7 Places Sellers Forget to Clean

When getting a home ready to show, it’s easy to concentrate on decluttering or where to put the dog during the open house. But there are common blind spots where dirt likes to gather, and they also happen to be places buyers might be scrutinizing.

Don’t have house hunters thinking about how hard your listing might be to keep clean; show off how it sparkles instead!  Here are seven common overlooked areas of the home and tips on how you can get them clean.

The Bedskirt

No one wants to see a dingy bedroom, but a dirty dust ruffle can make the whole room seem tired and unappealing.

Clean it:Usually this can easily be thrown in the wash along with the rest of the bedding. If it’s dry-clean only, you might recommend sellers send their original off to the cleaners and then pack it, replacing it with a cheaper version for showings.

Drawer Organizers

When sellers are setting the table, they’re looking for flatware, not crumbs. But buyers are definitely going to take a peek at how much storage they might get in any kitchen, so make sure they’re not grossed out by what they see.

Clean it:Simple plastic dividers can be washed by hand, or in the top drawer of the dishwasher.  More complex built-in drawer organizers can be tackled with a small vacuum attachment and wood-cleaning wipes.

The Dishwasher

You’d think this would be one of the cleanest spots in the kitchen, but over time, bits of food and residue can cut down on the machine’s overall effectiveness. And savvy buyers are always on the lookout for dated appliances in the kitchen, so don’t think they’re not going to look inside this washing workhorse.

Clean it:Run a rinse cycle—without the dishes—about once a week for a deep clean.


Sure, dusty bulbs (especially in open fixtures) are off-putting in general. But remind your sellers that bulb cleaning can also make their place seem brighter and more appealing overall.

Clean them:Turn off the fixtures, let bulbs cool and dust with a clean, dry cloth.

Ceiling Fan

Just like flipping on the lights and counting outlets, you know house hunters are going to check to see if the ceiling fan is a cooling tool or a wobbly mess. Don’t let buyers look up and see dust and allergens coming down on them.

Clean it:Use a stepladder to get close to the fan, place a pillowcase over a blade and then drag it toward you so it catches the dirt inside.

Washing Machine

This is especially problematic in front-loaders and newer models, which tend to seal so well that they become breeding grounds for bacteria. Don’t let a buyer’s excitement over a new washer-drier set get slammed by a moldy smell when they take a closer look.

Clean it:Leave the machine door ajar between loads to air it out. After each cycle, wipe down the door and rubber gasket with a clean microfiber cloth. Clean the detergent dispenser the same way, but only about twice a month.

Kitchen Trash Can

Sellers may remember to take out the trash before a showing, but the bag may not be where that funky smell is coming from.

Clean it:Empty the can, rinse it out in a bathtub or outside with a garden hose. Spray the inside and outside with disinfectant and rinse again.