Raise your hand if you find keeping your house clean is totally intimidating. Or if you come across dust, rust, or grime in places you forget too often for added comfort. We understood. That’s why we’ve created this handy checklist with the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab to help you stay on top of how often you need to get your cleaners out and commute to work – but there are a few exceptions to keep in mind.
First, the obvious: if something looks dirty, don’t wait – add it to your immediate to-do list. Second, when it comes to sanitation, our guidelines are the bare minimum so that you can speed up these tasks as needed. And finally, don’t forget about laundry, for which we’ve created separate guidelines to follow.
The final cleaning program
How to approach everything on your list
Now that you’ve got the schedule, read our time-saving tips and all-time favorite products that will make those jobs as painless as possible.
Tips for cleaning every day
These essential everyday tasks reduce future scrubbing and scrubbing, not to mention harmful germs and bacteria.
Clean or Keurig coffee maker: Wash removable parts with hot soapy water or stick dishwasher-safe parts into the machine. Wipe down the exterior and the hotplate to remove spills.
Clean dirty dishes: Skip the pre-rinse. Today’s machines and detergents make it unnecessary – and a waste of water and time! The enzymes in your dishwasher detergent work best when they can attach themselves to food particles.
Disinfect sinks: Use an eraser-type sponge (like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) to remove the marks, then disinfect by plugging the drain, filling the basin with lukewarm water, and swirling a tablespoon of bleach around. Let it sit for five minutes, then rinse it off.
Tips for cleaning every week
Tackle a room or job every day so that you don’t do it all at once. For example, devote Monday to cleaning up kitchen mess, vacuum on Tuesday, make Wednesday the day to change the sheets, etc.
Clean the inside of the microwave: Heat a microwave safe bowl filled with a cup of water and several tablespoons of vinegar on high power for several minutes until the window is steaming. Let cool for 5 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl and wipe the inside with a sponge.
Scrub bathroom surfaces: We love CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner for grout and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath for glass, tile and tub surfaces.
Disinfect sponges: Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water and soak the sponge for five minutes, then rinse – that’s it.
Tips for cleaning each month
Again, all of this doesn’t happen on the same day, so divide your chores and delegate chores to your partner (and kids!).
Clean a washing machine: Use the washer’s special cleaning cycle on newer models or add a specialist cleaner like Affresh and run a normal cycle with hot water.
Clean the dishwasher: Descale your machine by filling a large glass measuring cup with 2 cups of vinegar and placing it on the upper basket. Then run the machine without detergent or hot drying.
Clean the vacuum cleaner: Change your bag when it is three-quarters full to maintain a strong suction and replace the filter if it is very dirty or torn. Cut the twisted threads in the brush with scissors or a seam ripper.
Tips for cleaning every 3 to 6 months
It’s easy to forget about these tasks, so don’t let them surprise you!
Wash pillows: Put the down and fiber pillows in the washer and wash them both at a time in lukewarm water on the gentle cycle. Add an extra cold water rinse and spin cycle. Then tumble dry over low heat with a few rubber drying balls.
Clean the inside of the oven: Wipe up loose pieces of food with a damp sponge. Then use your oven’s self-cleaning function to remove the burnt dirt. Wash your grates in the sink with warm soapy water and a heavy-duty scrub sponge.
Washing the shower curtain liner: Wash plastic or vinyl curtains in the machine on the highest water level with a few bath towels for added agitation.
Tips for cleaning each year
Think of this as your two minute deep cleansing reminder.
Deep cleaning mat: If your home has a lot of carpet, rent or invest in a special cleaner like Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner. for removing stubborn dirt and stains.
Deep cleaning of windows: Pick a dry, cloudy day to avoid streaking. Remove dirt and dust first, then spray invisible glass cleaner with EZ Grip on the windows and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
Clean around the dryer and vents: Use the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner to vacuum up debris – too much fuzz can cause fires in the house!
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