Want To Sell Your House? Clean The Kitchen!

My new Twitter buddy, Julia, from hooked on houses, has a post today on images that a realtor takes for a home listing. This struck a chord with me, having just bought and sold a house (not in that order!) And, having gone nuts over staging, tweaking images...and cleaning.

In my months of house hunting recently, I cannot tell you how much an unkempt kitchen was a total turnoff. It didn't even have to be a dirty kitchen (that's a definite turnoff.) But, even a slightly messy kitchen was...distracting, yes, that's the word. Distracting in a negative way is a negative thing (oh, how profound.)

Every realtor will tell you that a house, these days, needs an edge to be noticed. The house has to stand out among its competition. The chances of standing out greatly diminish if a home is in disarray, especially if the competition in the same price range shines...literally. The kitchen and bathrooms are viewed as utilitarian spaces, where cleanliness is important. That's sort of an undercurrent in one's mind, I think, when one visualizes oneself cooking and living in the kitchen. Therefore, it should be a clean slate, devoid of clutter and mess. 

In addition to the tips I previously mentioned on getting your kitchen ready for resale, in which I mentioned cleaning, I'd like to go a bit further... 



  • floor
  • window glass
  • window trim-oftentimes it's just a wipe with a rag. If the trim needs to be painted, paint it!
  • baseboard molding - clean or paint it
  • cabinets - clean your cabinets and all their cracks and crevices on the outside
  • cabinets - clean your cabinets on the inside as well
  • joints - such as at the floor and the cabinet toekick molding, the baseboard molding and the floor, anyplace where grime accumulates
  • walls - does your kitchen need a fresh coat of paint?
  • dust all surfaces, shelving, decorative items, and so on
  • clean the garbage pails - take them outside and hose them down/clean them
  • clean out toaster/toaster oven
  • clean/wipe down all countertop appliances. Move them from their places and clean all around them.



  • sink(s)
  • refrigerator
  • dishwasher
  • microwave - there are numerous solutions, but it's a must-do
  • backsplash
  • cooktop and especially grill
  • vent hood

Basically...clean everything. Wipe down everything. Dust everything. Leave time before showings and open houses to do it again and again and again, as the showings present themselves. 

I promise you your house will have much more of an edge than it did before. I know how important this is...I just sold my home in a very tough market. Tough, because my home's price bracket was completely stagnant - lower priced homes were selling to first time home buyers and much higher homes were selling, although a bit less so. But, the middle/upper priced homes were, and are still, simply not moving in my area. Fortunately, ours did! And, every time we had a showing or an open house, we all pitched in and strived for near perfect cleanliness (and not because we enjoyed doing it.)

I think that helped immensely, and I remember how I reacted as I looked at potential homes for our family. Here is a link to eco-friendly cleaning supplies