After a long day, week, or month, the last thing you want to do is clean your home. Unless you employ a house cleaner, it’s up to you to keep your home clean and mess-free. Creating and sticking to a cleaning schedule makes the job a little easier by breaking up house cleaning into smaller chores done at regular intervals.
A 10-second tidy may make a home look clean enough, but it may not address bacteria, odor, or potential safety issues of an unclean dwelling. Following a structured cleaning schedule ensures that every part of a home gets attention and that your home looks and smells amazing.
Use our house cleaning schedule to help you keep the inside of your home as clean as possible. When it comes to tackling outdoor cleaning tasks, we’ll leave that for another day.
Cleaning Tasks You Should Do Every Day
When a little untidiness isn’t cleaned up, it can quickly turn into a big mess. Daily cleaning tasks are meant to be simple, easily-actionable chores that leave your home at a baseline level of clean. Addressing small messes immediately prevents the buildup of dirt and grime, and makes deep cleaning easier for weekly, monthly, and yearly house cleaning tasks.
Completing daily cleaning tasks also helps you feel less overwhelmed with housework. There is a link between mess/clutter and stress. When things are in their place, it’s easier to relax at home. Taking a few minutes each day to knock off simple tasks keeps a home clean enough to enjoy.
A Quick Vacuum or Sweep
A fast way to quickly tidy your home is to pass a broom, electric broom, or vacuum over the floors. In exchange for a quick few minutes, this task prevents dirt build-up, pet hair, and dander accumulation, and limits the dirt that finds its way under furniture and into cracks and crevices.
Wipe Down Dirty Surfaces
A clean, damp cloth can work wonders in a kitchen or dining room. After dinner, a quick wipe of surfaces like counters, the stove top, or dining table prevents spills and food from hardening and becoming difficult to scrape off. Clean surfaces make an incredible difference in the visual cleanliness of a home.
Put Everything Where it Belongs
When every item has a place, things look tidier in general. Put your dirty gym clothes into the laundry hamper, empty your lunch bag in the kitchen, keep your grooming items on a shelf or in a drawer instead of on the sink, and find a place for the rest of your belongings to keep your home clean and clutter-free.
Do The Dishes
An overflowing sink full of dishes with caked-on sauces and leftover food is one way to attract pests and create foul smells in the kitchen. Unloading your dishwasher each morning enables you to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day to keep your counters and sink clear.
Disinfect the Kitchen Sink
It may look clean, but the kitchen sink plays host to many germs and bacteria, especially when meal prep involves raw meat. Use a disinfecting soap or spray to wipe down your sink each night after you’ve finished washing dishes.
Cleaning Tasks You Should Do Every Week
Where daily cleaning tasks address simple messes and maintain a reasonable amount of cleanliness, weekly cleaning tasks require a bit more attention–but not enough to have to tackle these tasks every day. Doing small cleaning tasks every day means that the weekly cleaning schedule should be easy to accomplish.
Weekly cleaning tasks help freshen up areas of the home that guests don’t see, and provide a deeper clean than the baseline daily tasks. Items on this list tend to address areas of the home that are more intimately familiar to the people who live there, and cleaning these areas well each week contribute to the health of the household.
Clean the Sink and Surrounding Area
Cleaning the sink and nearby surfaces should be done each day; however, at least once a week these areas—in both the kitchen and bathrooms—need a deeper dive. Scrub all the nooks and crannies, wipe the faucet, and clean underneath items in the surrounding area. This is also a sensible time to scrub the dish drying rack in the kitchen, as it tends to attract a buildup of dirt and grime.
Tackle the Microwave Mess
Even if it looks clean, this little chore is best when done consistently. Cleaning the microwave weekly prevents the mess from accumulating and turning a small chore into a fearsome task. Clean microwaves lend themselves to making better food, as whatever you’re heating won’t pick up any mystery flavors or smells.
Sweep and Mop the Floors
A quick daily sweep can only do so much. Each week, get into the nooks and crannies of your house, moving furniture out of the way, so you can sweep and mop every flooring surface. Moving your couch or large chairs is also a great opportunity to clean any hidden treats or toys hidden by a child or pet. Always use products designed for the type of flooring in your home.
Launder the Towels
Have a dedicated day each week where you put your bath towels through the wash. Towels can pick up a lot of dirt when hanging on a bathroom hook. Washing towels helps prevent the buildup of dirt or worse, mold–which thrives in moist environments.
Scrub the Toilet
Does anybody like cleaning a toilet? If so, we haven’t met them. Toilets need a good scrub once a week to prevent mess, bacteria, and hard water buildup, which make this seat look terrible (not to mention full of germs).
Wash the Toothbrush Holder
Toothbrushes are kept in the dirtiest room in the house. Cleaning your toothbrush holder every week helps prevent the buildup of germs and bacteria. A neglected toothbrush holder can spread germs to your toothbrush, which can cause you to get sick.
Vacuum Rugs and Carpets
This is another daily task that benefits from a deeper clean once a week. Carpets tend to pick up smells and hide hair and dirt if they aren’t clean; doing a thorough job with a vacuum (and perhaps some deodorizer) can improve the smell of your home. Remove any obstacles and remove as much dirt as you can.
Related: All You Need to Know About Death Cleaning
Regular dusting and brushing your furniture keeps them cleaner and maintains their condition for longer. Proper dusting is also better for your health, as it prevents dirt from remaining in the air, improving the air quality in your home.
Strip and Launder Bed Sheets
Few things feel as wonderful as freshly washed sheets. Knowing what’s on dirty sheets may inspire you to make laundering your bed sheets a priority each week. Even if you shower at night, dirt, dust, dead skin cells, dust mites, sweat, bacteria, pet hair and dander, and all sorts of other things can find their way into your bed.
Deep Clean Your Fridge
Old leftovers and dairy spills can quickly turn into a horrific scene with a smell to match, making deep cleaning a fridge quite important. Each week, take out the fridge contents, wipe down each shelf, and take inventory of what’s expired or gone bad. Dispose of leftovers and expired foods weekly to keep your fridge contents as fresh as possible.
Cleaning Tasks You Should Do Every Month
Monthly household cleaning gives attention to more of the nitty-gritty details of a home that are less noticeable unless they’re under scrutiny. From tucked away areas to places that need a longer reach to properly wash, monthly cleaning goes deeper than a surface level clean. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that the dirt, grime, or bacteria doesn’t exist.
In some instances, a monthly cleaning schedule is just as much about safety as it is about tidying the home. These monthly checkups on certain areas and appliances serve as a preventative step to avoid larger messes or a costly fix down the road.
Dust Areas That are Above Your Head
Weekly furniture dusting only covers areas that are within reach. Areas that are higher up still accumulate dust, but may require too much effort to clean on a weekly basis. Places like above the cupboards, the blades of a ceiling fan, or on top of the fridge fall into this category. Dust that settles on these higher places can eventually start falling onto cleaner surfaces or people in your home.
Dust and Clean Your Vents
Cleaning your vents is an important chore that can prevent a fire hazard. It also helps to make sure your HVAC isn’t inadvertently spreading dust through your home. Wipe down and dust or vacuum your vents each month to keep dirt from working its way inside your HVAC system.
Related: The Best Dusters to Clean Every Corner of Your Home
Wipe Down the Walls and Baseboards
The walls of a home pick up a lot of dirt and grime, and baseboards are magnets for dust. Greasy fingerprints, a spilled drink, and the effects of sloppy pets are just some of the things that make a wall dirty. Wiping the walls and baseboards can have surprising results—you might not even realize how dirty they are until you see the residue on the cloth!
Deep Clean the Furniture
You spend a lot of time and money selecting your furniture, and their cleanliness can be deceptive. Upholstered furniture can trap smells, inadvertently making your house appear to have an aroma. All furniture collects dust; deep cleaning your furniture pieces extends their longevity and makes them look and smell fresh again.
Related: The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting, Explained
Clean the Windows
When the sun shines, there are no secrets about the cleanliness of a window. Clean windows let in a lot more natural light than grimey windows, which can appear cloudy. Cleaning the windows each month helps prevent dirt buildup and brightens your home with more natural light.
Deep Clean Window Coverings
Blinds, draperies, and other window coverings are often neglected without a house cleaning schedule. These covers are big attractants for dirt, as they tend to catch and hold onto dust particles. As window coverings are opened and closed, the dust becomes unsettled and is forced back into the air.
Clean Out the Closet
It feels good to get rid of clutter and help someone else in the long run. Go through your closets and get rid of clothing pieces that are seldom (or never) worn. These pieces can be donated for someone else to enjoy, and you can use your closet for wardrobe items that you actually wear.
Wash the Trash Can
Sometimes, the smell from the trash can is not because the trash needs to be taken out. The inside of a trash bin is a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, dirt, and the smells that go with them. A dirty trash can is often left off the cleaning list because a trash bag liner theoretically keeps the gross stuff out, but there can actually be deeper, stinkier issues.
Scrub the Grout
Your tile grout may not be as black, brown, or gray, as it appears. You might not notice how dirty grout is until you scrub it and see the original color. Taking the time to clean tile grout prevents mold and dirt from building up and potentially damaging the grout, creating a larger issue that’s more costly to solve.
Disinfect the Garbage Disposal
Similar to cleaning the trash bin, the garbage disposal is a meeting place for dirt, bacteria, germs, and food items. If you don’t clean it each month, you risk the disposal starting to smell, and causing your kitchen smell too. Keep your fingers safe and clean the garbage disposal per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Cleaning Tasks You Should Do Every Year
Annual cleaning tasks are generally more involved, taking more time to complete than tasks done more frequently. These areas and action items have a year to accumulate dirt, grime, and clutter, but they need to be cleaned less often if homeowners keep on top of their daily, weekly, and annual cleaning schedule. Yearly house cleaning tasks are wonderful because they can wait to be done, but they shouldn’t be neglected. They are a necessary part of a thorough home cleaning routine.
Larger tasks may require extra muscle, and they’re completed much faster if you have an extra set of hands to help you. Split up this list of annual cleaning tasks, tackling one a month or as you have free time, so you don’t spend a day off catching up on all your yearly cleaning tasks.
Clean Behind the Appliances
Appliances are large and heavy, making them perfect for trapping dirt. Find someone who can help you move appliances like your fridge, oven, laundry machines, etc., so you can sweep and scrub the floors and walls behind them (and give the appliances a once-over too!). This removes dirt and bacteria, and helps our appliances run more efficiently.
Shampoo the Upholstery
Any soft material should be deep cleaned yearly, such as sofas, chairs, or cushioned ottomans. Fabric material, especially if it’s a dark color, does an excellent job of hiding stains that can seep deeper than the surface and into the furniture. Deep clean and shampoo the upholstery to remove any hidden dirt, stains, or smells.
Go Through Bathroom Cupboards
The bathroom is a hub for clutter, which can be problematic for your health if you’ve accumulated a bunch of health or beauty products that have expired. Empty your bathroom cupboards, properly dispose of any expired items, especially medications, and use a clean cloth to get rid of any dust on the shelves.
Deep Clean the Oven
The oven only needs a deep clean once a year, unless yours has been victim to a food disaster. Any items in your home that have contact with your food should always be clean and safe to use. A simple way to tell if your oven needs to be cleaned is if you can’t see through the window in the oven door.
Clean Up the Dryer and Dryer Vent
According to the US Fire Administration, there are about 2,900 home dryer fires reported each year. Cleaning the dryer and dryer vent gets rid of all those dust bunnies that act as kindling in the event of a fire. Cleaning your dryer each year also helps the appliance run more efficiently, and dry clothes faster.
Organize and Clean Up the Garage
The garage is a classic dumping zone for stuff. With a vast array of things ranging from outdoor gear to donation boxes to garbage and recycling bins, stacks of stuff can invite pests or create potential hazards for anyone trying to reach their car. Once a year, deep clean, organize, and rid yourself of unnecessary items.
Related: The Best Handheld Steam Cleaners for Deep Cleaning Throughout the House
Deep Clean Your Carpets
Vacuums are wonderful, but they don’t clean everything. If you have a home with carpet or rugs, it’s worth the investment to rent a machine that deep cleans the carpet, removing the dirt, dander, pollen, hair, and other debris that burrow below the surface.
Wipe Down Patio Furniture
Before putting patio furniture away for the season, wipe it down with a clean cloth and wash any cushions. Once everything is dry, put the furniture into storage to avoid mold and mildew. When the warm weather comes back, the furniture only requires a small tidy again during setup.
Pare Down the Junk Drawer
Many homes have an overwhelmingly full junk drawer that houses all the one-off items that don’t have a proper home. Take the time once a year to deep clean this space, get rid of anything old and expired, and wipe out the crumbs and debris that has fallen inside over the last year.
Deep Clean the Dishwasher
The dishwasher is a very dirty place, and it needs to be deep cleaned annually to be effective and run efficiently. A clean dishwasher prevents bacteria, dirt, and food from sticking to your dishes, which is healthier for everyone in your household.