The Cleaning Secret Weapons Two Home Stagers Swear By

updated Jun 15, 2023
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Anyone who’s ever worked with a home stager will tell you that these professionals can work some serious magic on even the most cluttered, cramped, outdated, or otherwise less-than-aesthetically-perfect homes going up for sale. 

How do they do it? With a highly trained eye for interior design, a formal education, and lots of real-world experience, yes. But also with a carefully curated arsenal of trusty cleaning tools and tricks that they’ve honed over the years working with dozens of clients. 

To that end, I asked two home stagers to dish on their cleaning secret weapons — and they both happily obliged.

Rachel Moore, a home stager and lead designer for ​​Madison Modern Home in Southern California, swears by the cleaning brush attachment for drills, which she uses in the bathroom of her own home.

Though she used to assume that she’d need to get her shower and tub reglazed and re-grouted to make them look clean again, she discovered that the fast-spinning heft of her drill, equipped with a stiff-bristled brush, was enough to do the trick.

“No amount of elbow grease was ever enough to clean the vintage tile and basin of my shower and bathtub,” she says. “The drill brush attachment uses the power of a drill to get into the teeny grout lines and grind out the built-up soap scum. Years and years of gray, slimy yuckiness is gone, and it’s super-satisfying to boot. My once dull and soap-scum-laden tub sparkles after using it.”

Florida-based home stager and designer Candance Toscano recommends Weiman’s Glass Cook Top Cleaner to all of her clients. But, she advises, don’t let the name fool you: While it’s super handy for making glass cooktops shine in the kitchen, this cleaner can also work wonders on bathroom sinks, faucets, and even shower doors. “I love anything that serves multiple purposes, especially when it comes to cleaning,” she says.

More broadly, she recommends that homeowners pay attention to all the little seemingly insignificant details when it comes to cleaning their homes as they prepare to sell. Don’t forget hidden places, such as the inside of the dishwasher, just because you think no one will ever open the door — a buyer just might, and they may be turned off by what they find. 

That attention to detail should also extend to the home’s overall feel, including how it smells. Her second-favorite “cleaning” secret weapon is a candle, particularly one with a light scent like apple pie, pumpkin spice, or vanilla cookie.

“A foul odor is a big reason buyers will not purchase a home, but you don’t want to use anything with a heavy scent either — buyers will often think you are trying to mask something,” she says. 

Cleaning aside, Toscano’s biggest piece of advice for people who are preparing to sell their homes is to prioritize decluttering. While buyers definitely expect a sparkling home when they walk through the door during an open house, they’re also looking for a bright, open, airy space where they can envision their own belongings.

“Consider it pre-packing for your move,” she says. “Box up books, clothes, and personal items and place them neatly in the garage or, better yet, a rented storage unit.”