The Ultimate Checklist for Cleaning Your Entire House
We all know the feeling: your baseboards are gathering dust, your oven is accumulating crust, and to be honest, you can't even remember the last time you dusted your light fixtures. Have no fear, clean freak—we're here to rescue you from the trenches of filth.
While we all know deep cleaning our home is a must, it can be hard to know where to start when you have so many things to do. We're using one of the oldest methods in the book—a cleaning checklist—to show you how to get the job done without getting overwhelmed.
How Often Should You Clean Your Home From Top to Bottom?
The answer to this question depends on numerous factors. Do you have pets? Do you live in a dusty area? Do you have small children running around? Do you wear shoes in your house? Do you use a regular housekeeping service? All of these impact how often you should deep clean your home. Typically once a month is your best bet, but use your best judgement, and when all else fails, run your finger across the major surfaces in your home to check for dust and walk around barefoot for an hour. If your fingertips are dusty and the bottoms of your feet are dirty, it's probably time for a deep clean.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
Cleaning Tools & Equipment
- 1 vacuum
- 1 mop
- 2 microfiber cloth
- 1 bar mop towel
- 1 roll paper towels
- 1 sponge (preferably with a soft side and a scrubber side)
- 1 toilet bowl brush
- 1 grout brush
- 1 non-abrasive steel wool scrubber
- 1 bottle all purpose cleaner
- 1 bottle glass cleaner
- 1 bottle mild soap, such as dish soap
- 1 bottle disinfectant (toilet bowl cleaner, bleach)
- 1 bottle scrub or exfoliating cleanser
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
Wipe Down Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans
We'll start the kitchen the same way we start every room: by working from ceiling to floor. Grab your step ladder and add 1-2 sprays of all-purpose cleaner to a microfiber cloth. Remember this important rule of thumb: less is more when it comes to cleaning products—using too much product can leave streaks and sticky residue.
Gently wipe down light fixtures and ceiling fans (if you have them). Don't worry about dust dropping on the floor or counters–we're moving top to bottom, so we'll get that next.
Tackle Countertops and Cabinets
Once you're done with high dusting, move down to countertops and appliances. You can repeat this process for the fronts of cabinets and drawers as well.
- To really deep clean your countertops, use a sponge, some mild dish soap, and hot water.
- Wash the countertops thoroughly, then wipe down with a wet microfiber cloth to rinse.
- Finally, for an extra shiny finish, wipe with some all-purpose cleaner.
Wipe Down Your Appliances
You can use dish soap or a gentle exfoliating cleanser for pretty much every appliance in your kitchen, as long as you use unscented and non-toxic products in your oven and microwave, as you don't want harmful chemicals cooked into your food.
You might need to use a steel wool pad to scrub your oven and stove grates if gunk is really stuck on them. Finally, if you have them, be sure to wipe all stainless steel appliances in smooth vertical strokes for the shiniest finish.
Finish With Your Kitchen Floor and Baseboards
Last but not least, move to floors and baseboards. Mop first, then vacuum. Be sure to lift up the corners of any rugs and pick up small mats when you vacuum. Wipe down baseboards with a bar mop towel and some all-purpose cleaner.
Bathroom Cleaning Checklist
Dust Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans
In your bathroom, start again with high dusting on light fixtures and ceiling fans. Follow the same tips described in the kitchen cleaning checklist.
Wipe Down Mirrors
Next, we'll clean the mirrors. The "less is more principle" applies here more than ever. Often, people get streaks on their mirrors and try to fix them by adding more glass cleaner. Try to hold back and add 1-2 small sprays of glass cleaner to your mirror, then wipe down with a bar mop towel. The less product the less likely you are to get stuck with streaks.
Clean Countertops and Sink
After your mirrors are sparkling and streak-free, move on to countertops and sinks.
- You'll want to use a sponge, dish soap and hot water to wash down the surfaces first, then follow up with an all-purpose cleaner.
- Make sure you've designated different sponges to use in your bathroom and your kitchen.
- You can use the same process in your bathtub, and add a little exfoliating cleanser to your sponge if some scrubbing is necessary to lift spots and grime.
Clean Your Shower
- Start with washing the walls with dish soap, a sponge, and hot water.
- Rinse with a removable shower head if you have it, or just fill up a cup and pour it down the walls to rinse.
- If your shower is glass, finish the surface with glass cleaner to make it shine and avoid water spots.
- Got grout? Get a grout brush, hot water, dish soap, and scrub. Once the grout is clean, rinse it to avoid soap scum.
Clean Your Toilet
You'll want to use some disinfectant for this area. Start with the inside first, using a toilet bowl brush and toilet bowl cleaner to scrub the inside. Flush when you're done and store or throw out the brush properly. Next, wipe down the outside with disinfectant cleaner and paper towels.
Wash Bathroom Tile Floor
As with the kitchen, mop first, then vacuum. It helps if you have a vacuum with a crevice tool, especially in your bathroom, as it helps to reach behind the toilet where hair and dust can get caught. And make sure to shake out and/or wash any bathroom rugs or mats if you can.
Bedroom Cleaning Checklist
Dust Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans
You guessed it—we're starting with high dusting. Light fixtures and ceiling fans are first. You'll want to be extra careful if your ceiling fan is over your bed, unless you're prepared to wash your duvet cover. To avoid dropping dust here, use a microfiber cloth on an extender pole and wipe in long, slow strokes. The microfiber will actually catch the dust instead of just pushing it off the surface and onto your bed.
Dust the Rest of the Room
After you've done high dusting, refresh your microfiber with a spray of all-purpose cleaner and dust the rest of the room. Bedrooms have items like lamps, nightstands, picture frames, and knick-knacks that collect a lot of fine dust. A microfiber cloth is the most effective and gentlest way to pick up the dust.
Make Your Bed
Time for the most important step: making the bed. The key to making your bed feel luxurious is the three T's: tight sheets, triple folded duvet, and totally fluffed pillows.
Pull your sheets extra tight, fold your duvet over three times at the foot of the bed, and give your pillows a karate chop in the middle to give them that extra fluffed look.
Mop or Vacuum as Needed
Last but not least, floors. Mop and vacuum as needed, and be sure to get the dust on your baseboards with a bar mop towel. You can use a round brush tool attached to a canister vacuum first, then follow up with an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
Living Room, Hallway, and Common Spaces Cleaning Checklist
Start With Dusting the Room
These areas will be done very similarly to the bedroom. Start with high dusting, then dust all the knick-knacks, and finally get your upholstery pristinely clean.
- For upholstery, grab a lightweight canister vacuum with an upholstery attachment. Most canister vacuums come with one included, so look online or check out your local superstore to find one.
- Remove each furniture cushion and vacuum them one by one on all sides.
- Vacuum underneath all the cushions, the back and sides of the furniture, replace the cushions, fluff the pillows and fold any blankets.
- If you have some furniture stains, try gently scrubbing them with some mild soap or upholstery shampoo.
Address Floors and Baseboards
You'll finish up with floors and baseboards, just like the other rooms.
Tips for Keeping Your Entire Home Clean Longer
- Regular light maintenance in between deep cleans is crucial.
- Dusting is your best friend when it comes to maintaining a clean home. Consider taking one a day week to dust one of the rooms in your house (and remember, ceiling to floor).
- Not to sound like your grandmother, but taking your shoes at the door off does help in keeping those floors clean longer.
- Remember that a tidy home is a clean home. Have a spot for your things and always put them back—you'll thank yourself later.