The Best Way to Clean Your House: Schedule and Tips
The Best Cleaning Tips
- Pick one day a week to clean your home and stick to it.
- Use vacuum cleaner attachments on furniture, between and under cushions, drapes, blinds, vents, and baseboards.
- When mopping floors, only use a small amount of soap and a damp (not soaked) mop.
- An old toothbrush works wonders on drains, faucets, showerheads, tub jets, and other tough-to-reach spots.
How to Clean a House
Does it seem like your house is always dirty? Do you feel like you are constantly cleaning, but never really have a clean house all at once? There is a way to clean your house and keep it clean, but you have to make a commitment. Just like eating healthy or getting enough exercise, it won't happen unless you make a plan and schedule it. Write it on your calendar!
There are different strategies to clean a house, such as cleaning a room a day or tackling one chore a day, but the method that works best for me is to clean the house once a week. Put in two or three hours of cleaning per week, and your house is always clean.
Note: If your housekeeping has been neglected for a while, you will need to start with a deep cleaning. And if you can't even get to the deep cleaning due to all the junk in the way, you will need to start by decluttering your home.
How to Clean a Glass Cook TopClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Clean a Kitchen
I always start my housecleaning with the kitchen. Make sure all dishes are put away and start the dishwasher if necessary. Clean these items in this order:
- Stove top: Wipe traditional stove-tops off with a soapy sponge. See pictures to the right for how to clean a glass cook top.
- Microwave: Wipe it out with an all-purpose cleaner. If the bottom tray is removable, take it out to wash and dry. Wipe the microwave again with a clean wet sponge or rag to rinse. Leave open to air dry.
- Counters: Wipe with an all-purpose cleaner and don't forget to wipe under the coffee maker and anything else that is on the counter.
- Appliances: Wipe down all large appliances.
- Sink: Your basic Comet works well on most sinks, and there is a no-scratch version for stainless sinks.
Cleaning Supplies for Bathrooms
A Bathroom Cleaning Caddy
The items in my caddy are:
- bathroom cleaner, for example, Soft Scrub
- sponge or rag
- glass cleaner
- paper towels or clean rag for glass
- plastic cup or small pitcher for rinsing tubs and showers
- toothbrush to scrub around drains, faucets, tub jets, and shower heads.
- cleaning gloves
How to Clean a Bathroom
The bathrooms are what usually take me the longest to clean. To make sure you have all of your bathroom cleaning supplies handy, always keep them together in a plastic caddy.
The first thing you need to do is remove everything off of the counter-tops. Store them under the sink, or use an organizer box to hold them while you clean. Squirt some bathroom cleaner around the inside rim of the toilet and let sit while you clean the rest of the room.
Clean these areas in this order:
- Mirror: Start at the top and work your way down. To avoid streaks, use less spray and wipe until dry.
- Sink and counters: Use an old toothbrush (Yes, a toothbrush!) to scrub away any dirt around the drains or faucet, and then wipe the counters.
- Tub and shower: The old toothbrush works on tub jets, shower heads, and any other small areas. After cleaning, use the plastic cup to rinse.
- Toilet: Scrub the inside bowl with the toilet brush and then use your rag or sponge for the rest of the toilet. Don't forget the outside base down to the floor.
How to Dust
Dusting may seem like a pain, but it really doesn't take much time. Here are some tips on dusting:
- Swiffers are very popular, but to save money, a slightly damp microfiber cloth works fine. Just be sure to keep it rinsed out and clean.
- Do not use dry feather dusters—they only move the dust around. Your goal is to remove the dust.
- Be sure to pick up objects as you dust, and not to just dust around them.
- Don't forget to dust hanging pictures and mirrors.
- Ceiling fans and light fixtures can be dusted once or twice a month, and you can plan those cleanings as shown in the cleaning checklist sample below.
- Furniture polish—I am not a fan. If you have specific furniture that calls for that, then use it. Otherwise, stick with the damp cloth.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Murphy's Oil Soap for Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors only need a capful of Murphy's Oil in a bucket of warm water.
How to Clean Floors
After dusting, it is time to vacuum and sweep the floors. Starting in the kitchen, be sure to either sweep or use the vacuum cleaner attachments to get the crumbs that collect in corners and under cabinets. I like to vacuum all my floors, including the tile and hardwoods. For those, you may opt instead to sweep or clean with a dry dust mop.
Mopping should be done once a week in the kitchen and bathrooms, and then in any other high-traffic area you may have. All over mopping can be done less frequently and can be scheduled on your cleaning schedule. Here are some tips for mopping:
- The secret to mopping is using just a tad of soap and keeping your mop damp, but not soaked.
- Hardwood floors only need a capful of Murphy's Oil in a bucket of warm water.
- For tile or linoleum floors, you just need a capful of floor cleaner, such as Pine Sol, mixed with a bucket of warm water.
- On any type of floor, avoid using the soap that squirts right onto the floor. You don't need that much soap, and those brands tend to leave marks where you squirt.
- Another option is to use just a bit of vinegar and warm water for your floors.
Cleaning Special Areas
There are some areas of your home that do not require weekly cleaning. To tackle these, you can schedule a once or twice a month cleaning. For example, I mop all the hardwood floors twice a month, so I schedule that for the 1st and 3rd weeks. As for cleaning baseboards, I do that once a month. The cleaning schedule sample below will give you an idea of how you can make your own checklist to suit your home and lifestyle. Other special areas you may want to add to your list for occasional cleaning are as follows:
- Baseboards: Wipe away dust with a damp cloth.
- Cabinets: Use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe away spills in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Blinds: Use a damp cloth, Swiffer, or even a vacuum cleaner attachment.
- Air vents: Vacuum away the dust that collects here.
- Fans and light fixtures: A Swiffer is really good for these tough-to-reach places.
- Mop all floors
- Clean windows
House Cleaning Checklist Sample
Keeping Your House Clean
Now you are ready to pick a day of the week to be your house cleaning day. If you ever need a head-start, clean your kitchen completely the night before cleaning day. It will only take you a little longer than the time you normally spend cleaning the dishes after supper. If you ever are unable to clean the whole house in one day, save the bathrooms for the next day.
Enjoy your clean home!