Let's face it — deep cleaning isn't on anyone's list of favorite tasks, but it's a thing that needs to be done periodically. A good deep clean will make your home feel cleaner, tidier, and more welcoming — not to mention healthier.
Most people don't like to talk about all the grime that can settle into the corners and crevices that get overlooked in daily or weekly cleaning. Whether you're cleaning for guests, preparing to sell your home, or just doing your seasonal clean-out and freshen-up, this ultimate deep cleaning checklist will help you tackle the job, one room at a time.
1. Before You Start: Declutter
Whether you work room by room or tackle the whole house at once, the first step in any deep cleaning routine is to get rid of all the clutter.
Not only is clutter unattractive — it makes it harder to clean and keep things clean. While you can tuck some of it away with smart storage hacks, you may find that you have more stuff than your house can comfortably hold.
Spring and fall cleaning can provide the perfect nudge for you to get rid of unneeded items, and move others — like your winter gear or summer furniture — to a storage unit. Self-storage units are a smart and surprisingly affordable solution to freeing up space in your home. Once you've got your unneeded items out of the way, you can tackle the rest of the cleaning, one room at a time.
2. Deep Cleaning Your House Checklist
- Duster or dust cloth
- Dustpan and Brush
- Spray bottle
- Toilet brush
- Stiff bristle brush or pumice stone* (*for porcelain only!)
- Eco-friendly cleaning solutions and/or any of the following products
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- All-purpose bathroom cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Disinfecting wipes
- Boxes and/or crates for storage
3. Cleaning Your Bathroom
Cleaning your bathroom is all about attention to detail. It's one of the most used rooms in your home, and provides the perfect environment for germs to grow.
Other rooms in your home may be fine with a quarterly deep clean, but you should probably give your bathroom a thorough cleaning at least once a month.
- Gather up all towels and washcloths as well as bathmats, rugs, and shower curtains. Toss them all in the washer, following manufacturer instructions. Let rugs air dry to preserve the rubber backing.
- Clear off the counters. While you're at it, give your cosmetic and toiletry bottles a quick wipe with a disinfectant cloth. This is also a good time to check the contents of your medicine and under-sink cabinets. Dispose of anything that's expired, and wipe down the interiors and shelves.
- Clean the toilet by following the instructions on the cleaning product you’re using. Typically, this means adding the solution to the water in the toilet bowl, swishing it around with a toilet brush (making sure to get up under the rim), and scrubbing the underside of the seat and lid. Close the lid and let it soak while you wipe down the exterior of the toilet with disinfectant wipes. After about 15 minutes, flush the toilet.
- Dust the ceiling, walls, and shelves. Pay extra attention to the vents on your bathroom fan — they collect a surprising amount of dust and crud. Don't forget the top of your medicine cabinet.
- Wipe down light switches, door handles, and other surfaces that you frequently touch with sanitizing wipes.
- Clean the shower or tub enclosure with a mixture of vinegar and water, or your favorite bathroom cleaner. If your shower has glass doors, spray the inside of that as well. Be sure to scrub everything including the faucet, drain, grout, shower head, and tub with a nylon bristle scrub brush. (Use a pumice stone if your tub is porcelain.) Rinse the entire enclosure with clear water and squeegee the walls and shower doors to avoid water spots.
- If your shower head has caked on hard water mineral deposits that are hard to remove, or the water pressure isn’t what it used to be, you may need to take extra steps to get your shower head clean.
- Sweep and wash the bathroom floor with disinfectant floor cleaner.
|Tip: For tips on cleaning your bathroom with eco-friendly, homemade cleaning solutions, check out our post on How to Deep Clean a Bathroom for more tips.|
4. Cleaning Your Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home — the place where people gather to cook, eat, and just hang out together. It also tends to collect grime like no other room, thanks to spills, cooking grease, and daily use.
Deep cleaning your kitchen on a regular basis is essential to your family's health — and makes it a much more pleasant gathering place.
- Start at the top. Wipe down cabinet tops and and clean light fixtures (don’t forget the stove light). While you're there, replace the range hood filter.
- Take down window curtains and throw them in the washer, along with tablecloths and napkins if you use them.
- Wash the windows. While you're at it, wipe down the window sills and casing, including along the top of the window frame.
- Wipe down the outside of the appliances, including the stovetop and top of the refrigerator.
- If your oven has a self-clean setting, hit that button now. If not, follow the directions on your favorite oven cleaner. Usually, that means preheating the oven, then spraying it with cleaner and closing the door to let it soak.
- Empty your refrigerator and freezer. Check, empty, and clean the drip pans. Defrost the freezer if necessary. Wipe down the shelves, door, and all interior surfaces with food-safe cleaning solutions. Vacuum beneath the refrigerator, as well as the fridge coils and vent.
- Clean your small appliances. Clean the microwave, inside and out. Descale the coffee maker, and replace the water filter. Wipe down the toaster or toaster oven, and empty the crumb tray.
- Since you're cleaning all the appliances, clear off the countertops entirely, and wipe them down with disinfecting wipes.
- Remove everything from your cupboards, wipe down the shelves and interior, and replace the contents. Take a minute to wipe any dust off the tops of cans, and check for — and dispose of — any expired foods.
- Wash the table and chairs, including the legs and rungs.
- Clean and sanitize the kitchen sink, paying close attention to areas behind and around the faucet. Drop a few lemon peels into the garbage disposal and run it for a few seconds, or until the disposal sounds clear of food bits. If you don't have one, drop a Sani Stick down the drain to deodorize and clean it.
- Wipe down the walls and baseboards.
- Clean your dishwasher filter, and run the dishwasher with a dishwasher cleaner to eliminate limescale and odors.
- Sweep and wash the kitchen floor.
|Tip: Check here for more inspiration on deep cleaning and organizing your kitchen.|
5. Cleaning Your Bedroom
Your bedroom should be your oasis, the place where you escape from the world. It's so much easier to do that when the room is clean and everything you need is ready for use.
- Clean the windows. Wipe down the blinds or vacuum the curtains. If your curtains are washable, take them down and throw them in the washer. Wipe down the window sills and window frames. Wash the windows.
- Wrap a soft cloth around the head of a broom, and use it to sweep the ceiling, especially the corners where dust kitties gather.
- Wipe down the walls with a sponge mop and all-purpose cleaner. Clean the baseboards.
- Clean the beds. Strip the bedding and toss it in the washer. Vacuum the mattress top. Rotate the mattress. Dust the headboard, footboard, and frame.
- Clear off the tops of dressers, desks, and bedside tables. Dust and polish the surfaces. Clean the mirror. Dust each item before replacing it.
- Empty your closets and dressers. Wipe out, sweep, and clean shelves, drawers, and floors. Take the opportunity to do a wardrobe cleanout. The change of season is the perfect time to put away your winter coats.
- Sweep and wash the floor. Don't forget under the beds and behind any furniture. Wash throw rugs and shampoo the carpet if you have one — especially if you have pets.
|Tip: An organized room is easier to clean. Try these bedroom organization hacks.|
6. Cleaning Kids' Rooms and Playrooms
Kids' bedrooms, nurseries, and playrooms need special care. Your deep cleaning routine should include all of the bedroom cleaning tips, plus a few more tailored to their particular needs.
- Wash down the walls. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will help tackle crayon marks and other "artistic" stains.
- Sanitize the diaper pail, inside and out.
- Wipe down changing tables and other surfaces used by kids with disinfectant.
- Sanitize hard plastic toys with a few drops of bleach diluted in a gallon of water.
- Wash plushies and stuffies.
- Organize books, toys, and clothing — and donate anything your kid has outgrown.
|Tip: These nursery organization tips will help keep your kids' rooms organized well past the infant stage.|
7. Cleaning Your Living Room
Where do your guests spend most of their time in your home? If you're like most people, your living room is right at the top of the list. It should be fresh and sparkling clean so you can relax and enjoy your time with your friends.
- Use a broom covered with a soft cloth to clean around the tops of walls and crown moldings.
- Dust and clean light fixtures and overhead fan blades.
- Strip the windows. Clean the blinds. Launder curtains. If necessary, have drapes dry-cleaned.
- Wash the windows. Clean the window sills and window frames, including the tops of the frame where dust often collects.
- Dust air conditioner and heating vents, bookshelves, artwork, plants, and screens.
- Use a vacuum with a crevice tool to vacuum the vents and speakers on your television.
- Remove cushions from sofas and chairs. Use the crevice tool to reach between the seat and arms, and the upholstery tool to vacuum the back, sides, and cushions.
- Wash the walls, woodwork, and baseboards. Wipe down light plates, switches, and doorknobs.
- Clean underneath and behind furniture.
- Vacuum the carpet, or sweep and mop the floor. If you have throw rugs, launder or dry clean them.
- Shampoo or steam clean the carpet, especially if you have pets.
- Disinfect high-touch items, like remote controls and game controllers. Bonus points: wipe down game consoles with disinfecting wipes.
- Check and replace batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
|Tip: Shorten your deep cleaning checklist with some of these living room storage and organization hacks.|
8. Cleaning Your Garage and Outdoor Areas
Garages have a tendency to collect the overflow from every other room in the house — not to mention the backyard and the garden. Giving it a deep clean every few months will help you reclaim your space — and might even inspire you to use it in fun ways. You can tackle the clutter in your garage and use these garage organization tips to get it under control once and for all.
Patios, porches, decks, and gardens also need to be cleaned routinely. Don’t forget to:
- Clean the gutters.
- Sweep the deck, porch, steps, walks, and driveway.
- Power-wash exterior siding, decks, walks, and driveway.
- Clean outdoor furniture and patio cushions. Don't forget the umbrella.
- Clean the grill, interior and exterior.
- Rake flower beds, and apply decorative mulch where necessary.
|Tip: Learn how to upgrade your backyard into the ultimate dream backyard with these tips and design ideas.|
This may feel like a daunting list of tasks, but it doesn't have to be. Remember, you can break it up into manageable chunks and tackle one area or room at a time to make it more manageable. If this is the first time you're tackling a major cleanout, take advantage of the opportunity to declutter, get organized, and create a plan to maintain your space. And as always, check out the many options for storing your excess stuff conveniently and affordably at SmartStop.