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It is critical to clean your home before renting. Not only does cleaning help you identify necessary repairs and maintenance, but it also allows you to have a clean house from top to bottom so that it looks its best for potential tenants.

If you’re getting ready to list your rental home, there are a few things you’ll want to do to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. One of the most important things is to give it a good cleaning.

Not only will this help your home look its best in photos and showings, but it will also make potential tenants feel more comfortable about signing a lease. Potential tenants will be able to see that you take pride in your home and that you’re willing to put in the effort to make sure it’s clean and ready for them.

A good rule of thumb is to start at the top and work your way down. This means cleaning the ceilings, walls, and floors before moving to other details like fixtures and appliances.

In terms of cleaning supplies, you’ll want to make sure you have an excellent all-purpose cleaner, a dust cloth, a vacuum cleaner, and a microfiber cloth or paper towels. You may also want to invest in a steamer or steaming service if your home has any hardwood floors or tile surfaces.

Essential Cleaning Tips to Prep Home For Rental Income

Suggesting basic cleaning seems like a no-brainer, but some lesser-known cleaning tips will make your rental home pop. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Wipe down walls, baseboards, and light fixtures – these areas can collect dust quickly, and potential tenants will be sure to notice.
  • Vacuum or mop all floors – no one wants to move into a dirty home.
  • Clean all windows, inside and out – letting in natural light will make your San Francisco rental home feel more open and inviting.
  • Dust blinds or curtains – again, dust can accumulate quickly in these areas.
  • Wipe-down appliances – stainless steel appliances are especially prone to fingerprints.
  • Bathrooms need good scrubbing – pay special attention to the toilet, sink, and shower. Grout and seams can get dirty quickly, so be sure to give them a good cleaning.
  • Don’t forget the little things – switch plates, doorknobs, light switches, etc. These are all areas that potential tenants will touch, and you want to make sure they’re clean.

Doing a deep clean of your rental home before listing it is essential to create an excellent first impression.


Wash all walls, doors, and painted surfaces with a mild soap, all-purpose cleaner, or Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser.

  • Clean the top door frame (that’s an often-forgotten area).
  • Wipe down baseboards – The baseboards are easy to forget about, but potential tenants will notice if they’re dusty.
San Francisco homeowner cleans stainless steel fridge in preparation of renting out home


  • Stainless steel appliances show fingerprints quickly, so be sure to give them a good cleaning. You can use a microfiber cloth or an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the refrigerator and the freezer. It’s also a perfect time to check or replace the filters for water and ice.
  • For tougher stains or smudges, try using a Magic Eraser or diluted vinegar.
  • Don’t forget to clean light switch plates, door handles, and other fixtures.


  • Start by removing any cobwebs from your ceilings, and a long-handled broom or duster can help with this.
  • Next, spot clean any areas that look dirty or dusty. If there are large stains, you may need to break out the ladder and give the ceiling a good scrubbing.


  • Vacuum or sweep all floors, making sure to get into corners and other tight spaces.
  • If the carpets need a deep clean, consider renting a carpet cleaner or hiring a professional to do the job for you.
  • Remove any traces of pet hair by sweeping or vacuuming. If there are any stubborn bits of hair, you can try using a rubber glove or tape to remove them.


  • Wash all windows and mirrors with a mild detergent or window cleaner.
  • Polish any chrome or stainless-steel fixtures with a soft cloth.
  • Good time to check the safety mechanisms.
  • Clean or dust window coverings.
  • Start with the inside of all windows and prepare a cleaning solution with white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) for a streak-free clean. Then move on to the outside. If your windows are encrusted or grimy, you may need to hire a professional window cleaner.

Cleaning Tips for Specific Areas of the Home

Some areas of the home require a little extra attention when cleaning. Here are a few tips for those areas:

  • The kitchen is the heart of the home, and potential tenants will be looking closely at this area. Be sure to clean the stovetop, oven, fridge, dishwasher, and sink. If you have any stainless-steel appliances, be sure to wipe them down, so they’re free of fingerprints. It’s always a good idea to pull the stove and refrigerator away from the wall (if possible), so you can clean behind them. Turn on items like garbage disposal and dishwasher and let them run for a few minutes to clean them out.
  • Bathrooms can get dirty very quickly, so it’s essential to give them a thorough cleaning before listing your rental home. Be sure to scrub the toilet, sink, and shower and clean the grout and seams. Flush the toilet several times to eliminate any lingering odor and make sure pipes are clear.
  • The bedroom is often the first place people look when touring a home, so it’s essential to make this area invitingly clean. Thoroughly vacuum/mop the floor. Clean and dust ceiling fans. Wipe clean closet doors, door frames, and light fixtures.
  • The living room is another critical space in the home. Be sure to dust all surfaces, including ceiling fans and light fixtures. Vacuum/mop the floor and clean under any furniture that is movable. Wipe down doors, door frames, and windowsills. If you have any upholstered furniture, be sure to vacuum or steam clean it, so it looks its best.
  • If you have a laundry room, be sure to sweep and mop the floor. Clean around and under the washer and dryer (including lint trap). Blow-out or vacuuming out the dryer vent before a move-in is an excellent idea to prevent any dryer fires.
San Francisco property owner standing on ladder and painting outside of house to rent out

Cleaning Tips for Exterior Points of Rental Property

The outside is just as important as the inside.

The following tips may seem like maintenance tasks for which you don’t have time, but they’re essential for a well-maintained property. As San Francisco property managers, we’ve seen too many properties go without a good power washing, only to have the new tenant complain about the state of the property.

Here are a few tips to make sure your rental is looking its best:

  • Trim bushes and trees, pull weeds, and rake flower beds.
  • Paint any peeling or faded paint.
  • Replace broken or missing roof shingles.
  • Check the condition of the driveway, sidewalks, and porch. Repair any cracks or holes.
  • Sweep off patios and wipe down chairs or furniture.
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts.
  • If there is a pool, make sure it’s clean and algae-free. Pool toys and floats should be neatly stored away.
  • Ensure that all exterior lights are in working order.

If you want to avoid doing a deep cleaning every time someone moves out, it’s a good idea to put together a cleaning checklist for your tenants. This can help ensure that the tenants will keep the home clean regularly. You can also charge a cleaning fee when tenants move out, covering the cost of any necessary and reasonable cleaning.

You could also consider hiring a professional cleaning service to come in and give your rental home a thorough cleaning before listing it. This can be a great way to get the house ready for potential tenants and can help make sure that everything is sparkling clean.

Let Sharevest Property Management Manage Your Rental Home Listing

You may think that cleaning and preparing a home for listing is a lot of work, but it’s worth it when you find the right tenant and get a higher rental rate. At Sharevest Property Management, we can take care of all the details for you so you can sit back and relax. We’ll make sure your home is in tip-top shape before listing it on the market, and we’ll handle all the showings and paperwork.

Contact us today (650-348-2020) to learn more about our full-service property management in San Francisco, including maintenance, pre-listing inspections, and tenant screening.