Who out there wonders what everyone else does when they clean their homes? Do you secretly worry that you’re not doing everything you should to keep your house in order? Do you want to know the process a professional house cleaner uses when cleaning a home? If so, you’re in the right place.
To help you achieve the best results from your cleaning routines, I’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist breaking down the tasks which make up a typical house cleaning job. Completing every item on the list each time you clean isn’t necessary, so don’t be intimidated.
The trick is in establishing a rotation that’ll ensure all items are done on an as-needed basis. And “as-needed” is a pretty loose timeframe. Some things might have to be done every six months and some every week. Each home is different. Customize your cleaning routine to fit your situation and keep it as simple as possible.
Tasks that are done in all rooms:
- Working from high to low, eliminate cobwebs or dust along the edge where the walls and ceilings meet, on the ceiling itself, and in corners.
- Dust ceiling fan blades, light fixtures, and anything else up high.
- Dust the top edges of curtains and valances or other window treatments, window blinds, window sills, window grates, shutters inside windows.
- Dust the edges of picture frames and wall-hangings.
- Dust ridges on multi-panel doors, louvered doors, tops of door frames and doors, chair rails, air-vent covers.
- Dust free-standing floor lamps, lampshades, finials, light bulbs, floor lamp bases.
- Dust baseboards, baseboard heaters.
- Spot clean fingerprints and other marks on walls, switch plates, doors and door frames.
- Clean doorknobs, handrails, banisters.
- Clean exterior glass doors and spot-clean insides of windows if necessary.
Tasks in the living room, family room, foyer, den, dining room, bedrooms, similar rooms:
- Dust tables, shelves, stands, curios, dressers, chests, and other similar furniture, as well as the stuff on top, such as bric-a-brac, electronics, books, clocks, lamps, pictures.
- Dust the sides, legs and feet of furniture. Eliminate any cobwebs along bottom edges.
- Spot clean glass doors on things like china cabinets.
- Spot clean mirrors.
- Dust (or vacuum with a dusting brush) fireplace hearths.
- Wipe down or dust leather furniture.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture as needed.
- Clean the floors: vacuum, sweep or dust mop bare floors & damp mop as needed.
Cleaning interior stairways:
- On uncarpeted stairs, use a damp cloth or small broom and, starting at the top, brush dirt and dust down each stair using a dustpan to collect the dirt as you go.
- Dust around spindles, the spindles themselves if necessary, and any moldings.
- Use your vacuum cleaner stair brush attachment to clean carpeted areas on stairs, and use the dusting tool or a cloth to clean and dust uncarpeted edges and any moldings.
- When cleaning stairways, don’t forget to wipe the handrails clean.
Kitchen cleaning tasks:
- As in any other room, dust ceilings, blinds, furniture, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to dust off the top of the fridge and the tops of cupboards if they don’t meet the ceiling.
- Wipe down table and chairs or stools.
- Clean appliance fronts: microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, trash compacter, stove, oven(s). Look out for fingerprints and sticky areas on keypads, knobs and handles.
- If you have an inset water or ice dispenser in your refrigerator door, don’t forget to clean this area.
- Clean inside the microwave, if necessary.
- Clean cook top.
- Clean top of range hood if you have one.
- Wipe off the countertops and backsplashes, and wash the outsides of appliances on the counters as well as any other paraphernalia and anything mounted to the underside of upper cupboards. Shift appliances from side to side so you can clean the counter underneath.
- De-crumb the toaster or toaster oven.
- Spot clean cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
- Optionally, clean your garbage container outside and/or inside.
- Clean the sink
- Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.
Laundry room tasks:
- Dust from the ceiling down, as in all rooms.
- Dust all flat surfaces, walls, ridges on cupboard doors, whatever areas you can reach behind your washer and dryer, baseboards.
- Spot clean the outsides of washer, dryer and any other appliances, and clean dispensers for laundry soap, fabric softener, as well as door gasket.
- Vacuum the dryer lint trap.
- Spot clean cupboard doors and wipe off any countertops.
- Clean utility sink, if applicable.
- Clean floor. Clean behind and under laundry baskets, hampers, etc.
- Dust the bathroom as you would in any other room. Don’t forget the edges of towel racks, the lip along the top of partially tiled walls, the ridges around the top of shower walls, the top edge of shower curtains or shower doors, blinds and window grates, knick-knack shelves, and the edge along the top side of medicine cabinets or other cupboards.
- Dust the covers on any ceiling vents.
- Dust light fixtures.
- If walls are tiled, clean with a damp cloth and buff dry, or spot clean.
- Clean sink and vanity.
- Spot clean cupboard doors.
- Clean mirrors.
- Clean tub/shower.
- Clean the toilet inside and out.
- Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.
The most important element to keeping a home in the best possible shape is maintaining a regular cleaning routine. This ensures that every part of the house gets cleaned periodically, meaning that everything gets dusted, floors get cleaned, the kitchen gets a thorough wipe-down, and bathrooms get sanitized.
While the list might seem long, the basics of cleaning are limited to dusting, vacuuming or floor cleanup, rudimentary kitchen cleanup like keeping counters clean, and bathroom maintenance. Both kitchen and bathroom cleaning is most efficient if it’s done on a daily basis, but do what you can when you can. Just know that more often is better in those two rooms, if nowhere else.
Cleaning your home every week or two doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive experience. Keeping up with the basics is quick and easy if you do it often, focusing on controlling the accumulation of dust and whatever debris gets tracked in on the feet of all who enter your home.
Add in the kitchen and bathrooms tasks that are part of good hygiene practices, and you’ve got yourself a simple routine that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Then just rotate in whatever other chores need to be done as you notice the need arise. All those other chores are nothing more than gravy. At its core, house cleaning is really quite simple. The real secret is keeping it that way.
Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.