How to Clean Your House Like a Pro: From Top to Bottom in 4 Hours
Cleaning Tips From a Professional Cleaner
You can clean virtually any house in about four hours a week. I learned this when I had a residential house-cleaning business. One reason that cleaning other people's houses is a lot easier than cleaning your own, is that you're not involved in the mess. Nothing is personal and you don't get distracted while you're cleaning.
You can clean your own house just as efficiently if you don't get distracted. You can also save money instead of hiring a professional house-cleaning service. My five-step method includes:
- Setting a Cleaning Schedule
- Cleaning Bathrooms
- Cleaning Ceilings and Walls
- Cleaning Floors
Learn How to Prioritize Your Cleaning Needs
Household chores like washing dishes, intensive kitchen cleaning and laundry are better left for another time as they can distract you from your mission. If you are efficient, you can multi-task and run the dishwasher or laundry machine while you focus on the tasks at hand. We will talk about some techniques to tackle these chores towards the end. I do suggest including the kitchen when you are clearing cobwebs, dusting and cleaning floors.
How to Deep Clean Your House Fast
If the house has not been kept up, you will probably find a lot of dusty corners that haven't been cleaned in a while the first time you clean. This is what I found any time I got a new client, no matter how tidy the house looked.
Cleaning vs. Clearing Clutter
The first thing to understand is that there's a difference between clearing clutter and cleaning. A lot of times when we're cleaning our own houses, we do both at the same time, but this is not the most efficient way.
When a professional cleaner comes in, the house is generally expected to be "picked up." If I would come in to a house to clean it and there was stuff lying around, I would simply make a pile for the homeowner to sort out later.
Cleaning to Remove Dust Mites
A lot of these untouched areas can harbor dust mites, dust bunnies, and other irritants that should be cleaned and removed regularly for general health and wellness. That's why it's important to clean more frequently throughout the year rather than just a little "spring cleaning."
Dust mites thrive off of dead skin cells—human and pet dander—and cause allergies and asthma. They like to live in fabrics and soft bedding, like mattresses, pillows, carpets, rugs and blankets. This is why it's important to clean weekly.
Step 1: Set a Cleaning Schedule or Cleaning Routine
The key to being able to keep your house clean is organization and consistency. This means that if you are able to stick to a cleaning schedule or cleaning routine and do the entire house each week, you will probably find that it will take you less time after a few weeks—like 2 hours rather than 4. Be sure to have some fun as you clean so it feels like less of a chore—put on your favorite music, wear appropriate clothing, and get to it!
Step 2: How to Clean the Bathrooms
The first thing I do is to start on all of the bathrooms at once. Remove everything from the tubs and showers and spray them with your choice of cleaner so they can soak. I do the same with the toilet bowls. I put the cleaning products in and give them an initial swish with the brush. This is a good time to take a trash bag with you and empty all of the waste baskets.
Step 3: How to Clean Ceilings and Walls From Top to Bottom
While my bathroom-cleaner products are working in the bathrooms, I start on cobwebs and dust on the ceilings, like in the corners and door jams, and work methodically around each room. Work your way all the way down the walls to the baseboards. A Webster works OK for corners, but I think it works better if you cover it with a cloth—the cloth is just better at wiping off those sticky webs.
I like to use a for the walls and ceiling. This is a better alternative than your standard feather duster because it's made of microfiber and it's washable. If you don't have one, you might try your favorite microfiber mop. Before they were available, I used to use a broom with an old towel tied over it to sweep the ceiling. Clean light fixtures and fan blades while you're doing this. Casabella® Everywhere Duster
When to Clean Light Fixtures
If you have light fixtures that are really dirty or full of bugs, you won't be able to take them all down and wash them within your 4-hour time period. For that type of job, you can do one or two of them a week until they're all caught up.
Step 4: Finish Cleaning the Bathrooms
By the time you've removed all the webs and dust, you're ready to finish the bathrooms. I used to use a broom to scrub tubs and showers, but now Mr. Clean makes a nice tool for cleaning the bathroom. It is called the . It does a good job of scrubbing and you can reach the whole shower easily without throwing your back out. Magic Reach
When you are through cleaning, put all the shampoos and things back in the shower and do the vanity and mirror, scrub the sink and polish all the fixtures.
Paper Towels or Microfibers?
Now you are ready to finish cleaning the toilet bowls. Don't forget the rubber gloves for that job. I use a small wastebasket with a bleach solution in it to disinfect the toilet bowl brush after use. Paper towels are good for wiping the outside of the toilet and the seat to avoid contaminating other cleaning materials or rags with serious germs or bacteria.
The floor is last, I usually find it easier and more thorough to clean the bathroom floor with a rag than a mop. A Swiffer works pretty well for quick clean-ups, but it's still hard to get into the tight spaces like behind the toilet.
The Best Way to Clean Your Shower Curtain
If your shower curtain has mildew and is made of fabric, you can wash it on the gentle cycle and hand to dry.
Step 5: How to Dust Your House
Now that the hard part is done, you're ready to start dusting. Dusting is important because you reduce dust and dust mites throughout the house that otherwise cause irritation.
- Furniture: Starting at the top and remove all small items from the shelves and table tops. Polish wood surfaces with whatever oil or wax you prefer.
- Lamps: If the lamp shade is covered in fabric, remove it and set it aside to be vacuumed. Wipe off the lamp itself and lift it to dust underneath.
- Knick Knacks: Wipe each item from the shelves and coffee tables down before putting them back. You'll want to use a separate rag with windex or something similar for dusting the knick knacks so they don't get smeared with oil or wax.
How to Clean Books on Shelves
Books on shelves are another one of those jobs that you can take on one week at a time. You can dust the shelves and fronts and tops of the books each week, but occasionally it's good to take all the books off the shelf and dust each one.
Video: All About Microfiber Cloths
Step 6: How to Clean Your Floors
When all of the dusting is done, you're ready to use the vacuum cleaner to clean up debris and dust bunnies. Here is the order in which you should vacuum:
- Lamp shades: Vacuum the lamp shades and put them back in place.
- Furniture: Upholstered furniture should be vacuumed each week as well.
- Floor corners: Use the corner tool first to get the edges and corners of the floor. Then move on to the rugs and carpets.
- Hard floors: Clean the hard floors. I use my canister vacuum cleaner for that job, but if you have an upright vacuum, you may want to sweep.
If the linoleum or tile floors are really dirty and stuck with dirt, I use a roller-head sponge mop and bucket. If they are only moderately dirty, I use a slightly damp microfiber mop. It works really well. If there's a difficult spot, you can use a damp cloth by hand. For hard wood or laminate, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning.
My Favorite Cleaning Tool for Hardwood Floors
I originally bought this mop to clean walls. I recently moved into a rented house that had painted walls that were in good shape but dirty. Rather than repaint, I decided to try cleaning the walls. This mop was excellent for that purpose. The mop is very light, so good for working overhead.
Now I also use it on my hardwood floors. The microfiber is great for cleaning and has the advantages of a string mop. With the spinner, you can have the mop as wet or dry as you want it. When the head gets too dirty, you just throw it in the washing machine.
The spinning mechanism seems sturdy. I have used it three times a week for the past three months, and it works as well as the day I got it.
I also use the mop to apply Weiman Wood Floor Polish and Restorer. I love this floor polish, it really brings my old hardwood floors back to life. If you use the mop to apply this polish, put it in the washing machine immediately afterwards. If you let it dry with the polish on it, the mop will get stiff.
Between polishing, I just damp-mop the floors with the mop spun as dry as I can get it.
Additional Tips for Cleaning Your House
As mentioned, several tasks should be left for another day. But if you are feeling productive, here are some miscellaneous household tasks that you may want to tackle:
Tips for Doing Your Laundry
If you are a multitasker and an efficient person right off the bat, you can consider running your washing machine as you clean your house. This might make sense if you use your weekend for laundry and deep cleaning.
Remove All Laundry From the Rooms
Before you begin cleaning your bathrooms and bedrooms, remove towels and bedding from these areas as part of the picking up process, this allows you to reach all surfaces that would otherwise be hidden.
The only hazard with doing laundry while cleaning is that you risk wrinkled clothing if you don't get to the folding right away. It's not such a problem with towels and knit clothing. I have a hanging rod above my washer and dryer where I hang shirts right out of the dryer. Most shirts will not need ironing if you do that.
Tips for Cleaning Your Kitchen
To start, you may want to wash all of your dishes, dry them, and put them away or run your dishwasher and let them vent. When cleaning your kitchen, do the following:
- Wash your cutting boards: Remove all cutting boards and objects from the counter. Create stacks of paper or use any spare baskets or containers to sort miscellaneous items and move them off of your counters. Use a sponge with warm soap and water and wipe down the tops and bottoms of your cutting boards. Rinse with hot water. Let dry.
- Organize your drawers: Do you have a drawer full of containers? Take the time to arrange it by size and style. Create a streamlined pile for the lids. Consider sorting your utensil drawer as well.
- Dispose of expired food: Go through your pantry and refrigerator and get rid of expired food.
- Wipe down your drawers and cabinets: Use a separate cloth for each task. Dampen a cloth and wipe out the bottom of the drawers—lift everything up or remove all items entirely and do a quick wipe and dry with a dry cloth. Use a damp rag to wipe down all cabinet surfaces.
- Clean your stove: Clean your stove top with an appropriate cleaner. You can use an old sponge to clean underneath the grills with a little soap and water by lifting them. Gently scrub any stuck debris, a little baking soda is very effective at removing stubborn grease. If you have a countertop stove burner (electric), use an appropriate cleaner. You can run your stove's self-cleaning mode as you tend to other tasks, but consider opening the windows. Do not leave your house while running the oven.
- Clean your microwave: First, soften hard debris inside the microwave by placing a cup full of water or a wet cloth inside and running it for a minute. The steam will make it easier to clean. Then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Take the microwave plate out and soak it in warm, soapy water. Wash and dry. Clean the outside with a glass cleaner.
- Clean your sink: You can use a sponge, warm water and dish soap to clean your sink. I use Dawn dish soap. Dishwasher soap is more effective if you have a stained sink. If your sink has already been scratched by harsh cleansers, you may have no choice but to continue using them to get your sink clean. Just make sure to rinse the sink well, especially after using anything containing bleach. If you leave it on it can discolor or damage you sink surfaces.
- Perform a final wipe: Before you put objects back in their places (mixers, coffee makers—be sure to wipe these down, too), use a counter-cleaning product and spray the entire surface. Go over it with a microfiber cloth.
- Clean the floors: Come in with your vacuum cleaner or microfiber mop and an appropriate floor cleaner and clean up any debris. Back out of the kitchen as you mop to avoid footprints.
Tips for Doing Your Dishes
If you are a hand-washer, you can plug up your sink and fill it with some warm, soapy water. Let your dirty dishes soak while you do other tasks. After 10 minutes or so, return to hand-wash and rinse. Place dishes in the dish-drainer to air dry.
Baking Soda Hack
When letting your dishes soak, add two tablespoons of baking soda to your soapy dish water. The sodium bicarbonate helps to break down stubborn food.
DIY Glass Cleaner
Excellent DIY Glass Cleaner
This makes for an excellent DIY glass cleaner. Be sure to follow the dilutions properly to avoid overly soapy results. Supplies:
- Dawn soap
- 32-oz spray bottle
- Fill your bottle with roughly 20 oz of water—this is a little over half full.
- Add 1 rounded drop (the size of a lentil) of Dawn soap to the bottle. Gently swirl or shake until slightly foamy.
- Let the bottle sit until the suds have settled down. The bottle should have a subtle blue tinge but not look obvious.
- You can add a little more Dawn if you find that the cleaner isn't working well, but less is more.
This works great for glass!
Congratulations on a Job Well Done!
Whew! Good job, now put away your cleaning supplies and sit back and enjoy your clean house.
Video: Cleaning Light Switches, Doors, and Scuff Marks
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
When do you clean your kitchen?
I treat the kitchen like every other room. The floors and dusting are included in the weekly cleaning. Big jobs like cleaning the oven are done on a rotation, like the light fixtures. I do the dishes and counters daily, so they are not part of the weekly cleaning.Helpful 22
© 2012 Sherry Hewins