How to Clean Your House: A Comprehensive Guide to Regular Cleaning

Cleaning house

Cleaning the house is as necessary as eating and sleeping. Among their many jobs, honeybees perform daily housekeeping tasks to ensure the health of the colony. From now on, think of yourself as a honeybee saving the hive. When you learn how to clean a house the way the experts do it, you’ll discover that it’s a breeze.

Setting the Stage for Efficient Cleaning

“Well begun is half done,” said the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He knew that mindful preparation makes work much more manageable. Most experienced cleaners are proud of having a stress-free system that helps them perform speedily. A system of guidelines prevents the feeling of being overwhelmed: you know everything is under control.

Scheduling cleaning

Create a schedule

Did you know that you have the power to whittle an infinite number of tasks down to a manageable single-digit number? One of many house cleaning tips used by expert cleaners is to set aside 20 minutes a day for housekeeping. Simply decide what needs daily attention versus what needs to be addressed weekly.

One must-do daily task is to stay on top of messes. Squeegee the shower stall or bathtub, wipe up spills and wet counters in the bathroom and kitchen, sanitize food prep and eating areas, and do the dishes daily. Zoom through your home and put things like mail, clothes, toys, and partially completed projects where they belong. Zoom through again with a hand-held vacuum for instant tidiness.

Then choose one or more of the following weekly tasks for your daily 20-minute energy burst:

  • Laundry
  • Dusting
  • Wiping mirrors and other glass
  • Cleaning toilets and bathroom fixtures
  • Freshening exteriors and interiors of appliances
  • Vacuuming carpets
  • Sweeping and mopping floors
  • Tackling cluttered trouble spots

The idea is to power through rather than obsess over details. This is when “a lick and a promise” is perfect — keep reminding yourself that you’re powering through! You’re accomplishing everyday cleaning every day instead of guilty catch-up cleaning. You’ll be amazed at how effectively this system works.

Decide which jobs you want to handle monthly. Maintaining a checklist keeps you organized and accountable. By creating a template where you can jot down your weekly, twice-a-month, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks, nothing can slip away or get lost in the shuffle. Depending on the unique characteristics of your home and lifestyle, adjust your schedule so it works for you.

Dress the Part

Dress for comfort. You’ll be on your feet so choose thick socks and cushiony shoes with soles that grip so you won’t stumble. Wear loose clothing you can forget about. If you use a bra, wear a supportive one that fits well to make you feel uplifted and athletic — nobody will know your secret but you! Short or rolled-up sleeves let you get your hands sudsy while the rest of your body stays dry.

Dressing for cleaning

Wear an apron (cute aprons are trendy!). Skip dangling jewelry and loose long hair because they’ll get in your way. Get a carpenter’s tool belt with loops and pockets to carry supplies. The final touch to your garb includes a supply of masks and gloves.

Cleaning Supplies

Assembling the Right Cleaning Supplies

Use a caddy or tote to carry your products and equipment together in one place. Pack your carpenter’s belt according to the task at hand. Pour the contents of large bottles into smaller containers that you’ve labeled. Keep a small notepad and pen available to record what needs to be restocked.

Collect a variety of scrubbing, scraping, wiping, picking, and polishing tools and products for different jobs:

  • Clean rags and paper towels
  • Old cotton tube socks for dusting and wet-wiping
  • Long-handled reachers and telescoping dusters
  • Old newspapers for protecting surfaces and wrapping nasty wet things
  • Used dryer sheets for rubbing away soap scum
  • Hand-held minivacuum
  • Old toothbrushes
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Toothpicks
  • Shopping bags
  • Lint roller for upholstery and lampshades
  • Baking soda and salt in containers with lids
  • White vinegar and apple cider vinegar
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Dish soap

With so many products on the market, how do you know which to choose? Resources include websites, books and magazines, friends, and people who have worked as professional maids. Explore options such as sustainable products good for your health and the environment. Shop locally when possible to support your community. To save money, buy in bulk. Shop at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets for slightly used equipment and tools at a fraction of the price. Speaking of tools, be sure to clean your tools often.

Declutter Before You Begin

Decluttering the floor first will clear the path to the other rooms so you can navigate smoothly without tripping. Declutter surfaces next. Seeing immediate results is energizing! Remember the old saying about a place for everything and everything in its place? As you work, mentally classify all belongings into three groups and sort as you go, placing each item in its labeled bin or box:

  • Put it away
  • Give it away
  • Throw it away (recycle when possible)

Efficient Cleaning Strategies

These are techniques the experts use.

Step-by-Step House Cleaning Guide


Every journey begins with a single step. Your journey has only six steps!

Step 1

Dust and Vacuum

Gravity is one of the natural forces of the universe, so respect it instead of trying to fight it. Always start from the highest level and work down. Some people also prefer to work left to right. Turn off ceiling fans before starting. The best vacuum is one that you actually use so choose one that’s light and simple to maneuver. Keep moving as you vacuum in long rows with the cord over your shoulder. Enjoy the humming motor and sing along if you like!

Step 2

Clean Furniture Fabric

Upholstered furniture has a care tag, usually on the underside, and marked with a code:

W: Water cleaning only using a mild solution of dish soap and water or water-based upholstery cleaner

S: Dry solvent cleaning only with a specialized upholstery cleaner marked for fabrics that can be damaged by water

SW: Dry solvent and/or wet cleaning

X: Vacuuming or professional cleaning only

Hint: Control the amount of wetness by applying the cleaning solution to the rag rather than the fabric.

Step 3

Make Mirrors and Glass Sparkle

Use a damp microfiber cloth first, then finish with a dry one. Clean tracks as needed by hand-vacuuming and using cotton-topped swabs. To deep clean windows, wipe rods and rings or hooks as well as exterior surfaces once or twice annually.

Hint: An economical, natural, safe, and effective sanitizer is a vinegar solution, choosing either white or apple cider vinegar diluted with water to half-strength or weaker.

Step 4

Sanitize Hard Surfaces and Countertops

This step includes appliances and germy surfaces that collect grease from frequent touching: doorknobs and latches, handles, lightswitches and panels, knobs and dials, remote controls, piano keys, and anything else exposed to busy fingers. Diluted vinegar works for this job.

Hint: To prevent damage, never use vinegar full strength on natural stone, hardwood, stainless steel, unsealed grout, or any porous materials.

Step 5

Deep Clean Bathrooms and Kitchen

For the most effective results, let cleaning products sit for a few minutes on surfaces. Wipe the insides of microwaves, refrigerators, and other appliances. Finish the bathroom fixtures after other surfaces. Use fresh wipes to remove vinegar or cleaning residue.

Step 6

Sweep and Mop

Save the floors for last. Sweep, then mop from the farthest spot in the room to the door so you don’t mop yourself into a corner. Here’s how to mop different flooring:

  • Wood: Determine if the wood is surface-sealed or oil- or penetrating-sealed. Surface-sealed floors are easier to clean because they’ve been coated with a tough plastic compound that fills cracks. Oil sealants penetrate and actually harden the wood, creating a durable, long-lasting, and natural shine. To tell the difference, put a few drops of water on a clean floor surface and observe: beading is surface-sealed, absorption is oil. When cleaning surface-sealed areas, use diluted dish soap or white vinegar. Oil- or penetrating-sealed floors should be dry-mopped and vacuumed daily.
  • Linoleum: Made from natural materials including linseed oil, linoleum should be dry mopped regularly. Quickly damp mop when necessary with diluted vinegar or appropriate mild cleaning products without allowing them to puddle.
  • Laminate: Laminate is a multi-layer composite flooring product made of processed wood fibers and resin. Because it is water-resistant but not waterproof, its care is similar to that of linoleum. Dry-mop and occasionally damp-mop with diluted vinegar.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl flooring is made of layers of synthetic materials. Dry-mop as needed and damp-mop with diluted apple cider vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar with 1 gallon hot water). A few drops of dishwashing liquid can be added or a bit of baking soda to restore shine, but follow with a damp-mop rinse of the apple cider vinegar solution.
  • Tile and stone: By now you see that abrasives are bad for all flooring. To prevent scratching and cracking tile and stone floors, also avoid vacuuming with the roll brush attachment. Instead, mop with solutions of oxygen bleach or dishwashing liquid.

Room-by-Room Cleaning Tips

Room-by-Room Cleaning


Don’t clean the garbage disposal until you turn off the power (from the plug under the sink or from the breaker box). Pull out and scrub the rubber ring, and then pour in 1/2 cup baking soda and wait half an hour. Add a cup of vinegar and allow it to bubble for several minutes. Flush with boiling water. After turning the power back on and replacing the rubber ring, clean the blades by grinding two cups of ice with a cup of salt. To give your kitchen a lovely scent, finish by processing any kind of citrus peel.

If you have a dishwasher, run an empty dry heat cycle. To prevent mold, soak the silverware basket in diluted bleach or oxygen bleach in the sink for 30 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.

Help keep drains free of grease, mold, bacteria, and kitchen gnats with regular drain treatments. Pour down half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of white vinegar and let it be for half an hour. Flush with boiling water.


Use small trash cans and paper trash can liners to make daily garbage removal easy. Try a unique toilet cleaning routine by mixing a cup of baking soda with 15 drops of tea tree oil and 15 drops of essential oil from any citrus. Wait half an hour, scrub, and flush.


To discourage pests, avoid eating food in the bedroom. Deter mites by laundering bedding every week or two. Pillows benefit from machine washing every three months and should be replaced every year or two. Vacuum the mattress monthly. Mite-treat your mattress once or twice a year by liberally sprinkling on baking soda and leaving it for half an hour to 24 hours before vacuuming. Using a mattress pad will extend its life.

Living Room

Because many activities take place in living rooms, they attract “stuff:” utensils, hobby items, toys, food containers, pens, and more. Pick it up daily. Check between couch cushions and under furniture, too.


Keep transparent plastic bins and hanging pouches for visible space-saving storage.
Hint: If you haven’t used or worn something for a year, donate it


Kids all know what the refrigerator is for, right? They’re capable of learning what their toy boxes are for, so begin teaching them early to pick up after themselves. You can reward them with a snack if you want. You’ll never regret making it a daily habit.

Time-Saving Cleaning Hacks

cleaning bathroom walls

Here are some more house cleaning tips from people who do it for a living:

  • Keep your mouth closed when looking up while cleaning.
  • Prevent food messes from baking onto hot surfaces by cleaning them as soon as possible.
  • To keep microwaves clean inside, never leave a food mess. Microwave a cup of water to boiling, then wipe away the softened steamed gunk inside.
  • Imagine that insects, bacteria, and rodents are little vultures, and food left on your counters and in the trash is like roadkill. They will find it and inform the rest of the flock.
  • Stainless steel repels liquid and dirt if, after cleaning, you wipe it down with mineral oil applied to a cloth.
  • Load dishwashers from the back to the front.
  • Use white vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits.
  • Avoid killing humans and pets in your home by NEVER combining cleaning solutions. Some mixtures are explosive, flammable, corrosive, and/or toxic.
  • Hydrogen peroxide kills bathroom mold. Squeegee extra moisture away after showering or bathing. Use a fan during and after.
  • Explore low-cost and effective scrubbing alternatives: salt, baking soda, coffee grounds, and boiling water.
  • Lemon slices help eliminate rust stains.
  • Mold loves dark wet places where it can quickly spread.
  • Mold and bacteria love sponges and dish clothes. Zap them in the microwave for two minutes or clean them in the dishwasher or clothes washer.
  • Rinse wet mops often or you’ll spread dirty water.

Streamlining Your Cleaning Routine

Time management

Time management is a skill and an art. To grasp what time means, use a timer to discover how long certain tasks take. Once you realize that a job takes only minutes, you’re less likely to avoid it.

Listen to your body talk. What time of day do you have the most energy? How long a stretch do you prefer to work before needing a break? Do you do better zooming through a project or breaking it into smaller sessions? Do what works for you

Link up related tasks: When bagging trash, open the fridge at the same time to collect whatever needs tossing.

Fill in wait time with other jobs. For example, while the oven cleaning product is working its magic, use those minutes to work on something else. Doubling up tasks will cut your work time in half.

The Importance of Consistency

Although controversy exists about how long it takes to establish a habit, repetition makes it happen. Learning new skills causes most people a bit of struggle, but you speed up the more you get used to the routine. When the pathways in your brain are well-traveled, you won’t even have to think about the routine anymore.

These are the habits to establish:

  • Dress for the job.
  • Keep your supplies together in a caddy or tool belt.
  • Clean the whole house one task at a time, not by completing one room at a time.
  • Start high, work down.
  • Power through daily 20-minute cleaning sessions.
  • Clean messes when they happen.
  • Vacuum in long rows.
  • Routinely sanitize your cleaning tools.

You can do this. After all, Abraham Lincoln once said, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

Make It Meaningful

Cleaning home with family

Make it enjoyable

Do whatever you like to make the cleaning experience fun. Play music, dance, sing, display fresh flowers, or have a picnic after the work is done. Always reward yourself somehow to make cleaning something you look forward to.

Make It Social

There’s a saying that “A friend doubles your joys and divides your sorrows.” Make housecleaning into a social experience. Invite friends over to help, and be willing to visit them to do the same. Assign household members with specific jobs so they feel needed. Let individuals choose their favorite tasks or rotate jobs so everyone feels fairly treated. Cleaning isn’t punishment but an opportunity to be a valued member of a team. Some people like to hold a monthly party afterward. A cleaning session is also a chance to bond with your dog or another pet by spending time in each room together “chatting.”

Make It Healthful

Cleaning is good for you, not only because your environment is more sanitary but because moving your body is exercise and helps you stay healthy and feeling young. Anything that makes your heart beat more will circulate your blood more and make you breathe more deeply. It also burns calories. Reportedly being next to godliness, cleaning brightens our emotions and sense of virtue. The sixth president, John Quincy Adams, said “Move or die is the language of our Maker in the constitution of our bodies.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between tidying, regular cleaning, and deep cleaning?

Tidying, sometimes called “a lick and a promise,” refers to straightening up a room to make it appear neat. Regular cleaning is repeated light housekeeping as part of home maintenance. Deep cleaning, often performed every six to twelve months, is comparable to preparing for a military boot camp inspection, scouring every square inch top to bottom inside and outside.

How often should bed linens and towels be washed?

Weekly-ish, depending on how often you bathe, what you wear to bed, how many animals and people are with you, and what activities are happening nearby. Kitchen towels, potholders, tablecloths, and curtains are similar: the amount of use determines the frequency of laundering.

Do HVAC systems and air conditioners need cleaning?

If you’ve ever looked through a sunbeam, you’ve noticed that the air is filled with tiny floating bits. Those bits include skin cells, dandruff, insect parts, pollen, microplastics, fabric shreds, mold spores, clay dust, combustion particles, feathers, and fur, in addition to vapor composed of cooking grease, mucus, and sprayed chemicals. Colonies of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi ride along. Check out the Department of Energy’s website to learn more about HVAC and air conditioner maintenance.

Do dusting and vacuuming make household air worse for people with breathing problems?

When regular cleaning focuses on air quality, carpets, beds, and dust-reducing measures, housekeeping usually doesn’t cause a problem. Cleaning tools should be sanitized after each use. Wearing respirators prevents inhaling small particles.

Are chemicals in cleaning products dangerous?

Everything is dangerous in high concentrations. That’s why reading product labels is important. Improper use of products can damage belongings and harm or kill people and animals. For example, mixing chlorine bleach with products containing ammonia forms chlorine gas or hydrochloric acid.

A Final Tip for You

Now you know how to clean a house using secrets from some of the most qualified experts in the business. However, there’s something else that will make a difference in your life: When the pace is too much, it’s okay to let a professional company like MaidThis handle things for you. MaidThis is a reputable nationwide cleaning agency streamlined to lighten your load and give you the much-needed time you need to relax. After all, Aristotle once said, “The end of labor is to gain leisure.”

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