Cool Tricks To Get Your House Sparkling Clean With Less Effort

Dated: 02/15/2016

Views: 1560

by TJ Anderson

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So I realize that yesterday it was pretty much raining Dippin' Dots (The Ice Cream of the Future) and spring feels a long way off. But really, we’re only about a month away from (theoretical) warmer weather and daffodils and… spring cleaning.

Anyway, spring cleaning’s a thing I recommend my clients do regardless of season when they’re getting ready to sell. I mentioned it a little in my post about preparing a home to go on the market, but I think it’s worth a little more specificity. 

Some buyers have the imagination to look past small issues, little bits of deferred maintenance and a share of mess. Most don’t. And one of my jobs as a Realtor is to help my clients remove as many obstacles as possible that are standing between a buyer and that “I love it! Let’s write an offer!” feeling.

I know, I know, deep cleaning is a whole lotta no fun. But through the years I’ve scoured (pun intended) the far reaches of the Internet for solid tricks to make deep cleaning easier and more effective, and these are my favorite. Keep ‘em in your back pocket for when you’re getting ready to list — or use them now, for a nice fresh-and-clean space.


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Shine up your dingy/spotty faucets

Any number of stinky chemicals will do a decent job of getting your bathroom fixtures to bling again, but I stand behind this natural solution: cut lemon, rub on faucet, admire.

Get the murk off your shower head

Never good when a buyer is admiring your nice shower tile, only to get smacked with a goopy, cruddy shower head. Taking care of that is the easiest of easy: Fill a zipper/sandwich bag with vinegar, put it over the shower head so it’s immersed, tie the bag on there, and leave it overnight. (Or just an hour or so if you don’t have the time.) The gross literally wipes right off.

Take the ring off it

It happens to the best of us: a ring around the tub that makes it look old, dingy and all-around icky, but doesn’t seem to want to come off. Great trick: a halved grapefruit, a liberal amount of kosher salt, and scrub away. You’ll be amazed at how well this erases the dreaded ring.

Get that grout in shape

Man, light grout can look so great when it’s new, so rough when time (and use) has done its work. For fresh and happy grout, grab an old toothbrush (or, if your roommate/better half is refusing to help clean, their toothbrush), mix up some hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and do some good scrubbing. This, to be fair, isn’t the easiest tip — but it doesn’t make you breathe in harsh chemicals, and it works.

Nix the hard water stains on your shower doors

Glass shower doors: So pretty when new, so depressing when covered with hazy hard water stains. And scrubbing those off can be a total drag. I’ve had great luck with a simple fix: make a 3:1 solution of water and vinegar in a spray bottle (apple cider vinegar works and smells nice), spray on, let it sit for a bit, and wipe off.

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Brighten up grimy light fixtures

Over time, the glass globes/shades on your light fixtures can get pretty gross. And sure, you can climb up on your stepladder and dust and wipe and etc. Easier: remove the glass parts and run them through the dishwasher. The most minimal of effort, maximum effect.

De-dust those ceiling fans

This one’s so easy to forget — but, of course, buyers often look right past the fact that the ceiling fan is nice, newer and high-end when it’s crud-flecked. Fast and easy: Get the blades clean without spreading the dust all around the room by using a pillowcase. You’ll clean top and bottom at once, and keep the crud contained. (The above video demonstrates.) Done before you can say, “Ugh, what else do we have left to clean?”

Get your oven spic-and-span even if it’s not self-cleaning

Something I always try to stress to clients: Don’t think that something being behind a door means buyers won’t see it. Buyers do — and should — open everything. Often including your oven. So those crisped-up pizza remnants and grease globs gotta go. 

Two tricks: If your racks are gross, sit them in a tub with warm water and a few dryer sheets. I don’t know the science, but an hour or so later, and the gunk wipes right off. Then for the rest of the oven: If you’d rather not bomb the house with harsh oven cleaner, try filling an oven-safe bowl with about a quarter cup of ammonia, placing it in the oven and leaving it overnight. Those aromatic ammonia fumes will get the gunk prepped for an easy wipe-off. 

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Hide evidence of your furry friends

I am just about the biggest dog lover you’ll come across (I have a standing offer to sponsor adoptions and fostering from MACC, as a side note). But even I don’t get an I-wanna-buy-this feeling when I walk into a home and there’s pet hair everywhere. It’s a struggle, getting rid of evidence of our Best Furry Friends, but it’s gotta be done. Something I’ve found works great on stubborn furniture and carpets: a shower squeegee. Run it over those spots until you’ve pulled up as much of the pup/kitty/bunny/ferret fun as possible. 

Shine up those stainless appliances

Stainless has been the top choice for years now when it comes to appliances, but if you have stainless, you know the struggle: fingerprints and streaks and all-around quick and steady lack of shiny-and-new. It’s really hard to find a good solution, even when you buy all sorts of cleaning supplies supposedly made for the purpose. Some of the best success I’ve had: Use whatever cleanser you usually like to start, then put a small amount of olive oil on a cloth, and carefully (and evenly) rub the appliance’s surface. Come back with a dry cloth afterward, and take care of any extra oil/give a little buff. Your fridge will seriously look almost as shiny as the day it was installed. 

There are a million more tricks like these — some more effective than others. Any that you’ve found particularly miraculous? I’d love to hear your success stories (and pass them on).

If you’re reading this and chewing on the possibility of putting your home on the market, I’d love to help — give me a call or send me an email, and let’s talk!

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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