How to Deep Clean a Dirty Living Room

person vacuuming the living room

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

While we may be doing an excellent job of maintaining our living rooms, occasionally we need to do more than maintenance. Take the time to review what goes into a living room intense cleanup.

What You Need

  • Dust mop (preferably with a long handle)
  • Step-ladder
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Small bucket with handle
  • Sponges
  • Vacuum with attachment
  • Gentle cleanser
  • Rug shampoo machine with upholstery attachment (optional)
  • Spot remover for upholstery or carpets (optional)
items for deep cleaning the living room

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Steps for a Thorough Cleaning

  1. Begin with a 15-minute living room cleanup.

    This will clear out the clutter and give you room to do the actual intense cleaning in your living room. Don't worry about cleaning the floors in the 15 minute clean up. We will do this later.

    clearing clutter for the big clean up

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  2. Dust down the living room ceiling and corners of walls in.

    Determine if the walls need to be washed in dirty spots. Spot wash, remembering air vents, doorknobs, doors, and switch plates.

    dusting ceiling corners

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  3. Dust and clean all art and photographs along the walls in the living room.

    Be careful when cleaning framed art and photographs. Never spray cleaner or water onto the frame. The liquid can seep behind the glass and damage the pictures. Instead lightly wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.

    dusting artwork

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  4. Dust and clean the ceiling fan in the living room.

    There is nothing more embarrassing than turning on a ceiling fan and having large chunks of dust fall down on your guest's head. Use this living room cleaning time to dust down the fan and fan blades. You may need to use a gentle cleaner like Murphy's Oil Soap. Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing.

    dusting the ceiling fan

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  5. Take down draperies, curtains, and blinds to wash or have cleaned according to the manufacturer's directions.

    Vacuum and clean windowsills and corners. Wash the insides and outsides of the windows. Take down and rinse off the screens of the living room windows, before replacing.

    taking down curtains

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  6. Dust and clean out the couches and chairs.

    Use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment to clean out couch crevices. Check to make sure none of your missing items have found their way into the abyss of the couch. Clean slipcovers, accent pillows, etc. in the living room. Use an upholstery attachment on a rug shampoo machine to clean soiled couches and chair surfaces if needed. If a light cleaning is needed use upholstery spot cleaner. Test in a hidden area first.

    vacuuming the sofa

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  7. Dust down and clean all accent lamps and knickknacks in the living room.

    Use a vacuum attachment or duster to clean the lampshades, lamps, and any extra decorative items.

    dusting lamps and knick knacks

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  8. Remove books from bookshelves.

    Dust down the books and the shelves. If your collection of books is overflowing, it might be time to donate, trash, or sell. Too many books weighing down shelves can give a living room the appearance of being cluttered.

    removing and dusting books from bookshelves

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  9. Dust down accent tables and your living room's entertainment center.

    Unplug and dust down all the electronics. Check cords for fraying and wear. Dust down the television screen.

    dusting entertainment center

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  10. Clean the carpets and rugs.

    If your carpets and rugs are heavily soiled it may be time to call a professional. You can also rent cleaning machines to use. Be sure to ask for one with an upholstery attachment. If your carpets are only lightly soiled vacuuming and spot treating may be all that is necessary.

    vacuuming the carpet

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

  11. Take the time to clean the doormats inside and outside your doorways.

    Wipe them down. Dust them off. Whatever needs to happen so that shoes don't transfer the dirt of your mat to your home. Double check that your mats are still in good condition to protect your carpets.

    cleaning a doormat

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Cleaning Tips

  • Gather all of your supplies together first thing. Trying to sort through the pantry cabinet for your dust cloths might make you frustrated enough to declutter the cabinet. It's easy to forget what your initial goal was.
  • Partner up with a friend or relative. After you get done intensely cleaning your living room, help them do theirs.
  • Listen to music, an audiobook, or a podcast. The time will pass a lot more quickly if you have an enjoyable atmosphere. This is a great time to commandeer the stereo for what you want to listen to. If anyone objects, offer to let them have a turn with the stereo and the cleaning.