25 Top Tips for Cleaning Your Home
Cleaning your house is easily the most daunting task. You hear that word and it makes you want to roll your eyes and complain that you just want to play video games. But, everyone is in the same boat. Now you have all the time you need, it’s worth getting to some of those chores you’ve been putting off. To help, we’ve put together a handy list of 25 tips for cleaning your home! You’ll notice that these will start quite generic, and later build into task-specific suggestions. This is because cleaning is a process, and you should set yourself up for success.
So, let’s begin!
1. Play Your Favourite Music
Cleaning might be daunting, but there is a way to make it slightly more appealing: play some music! Or listen to an audiobook, whichever works best for you. Studies have shown that we tend to move in time with the music we are listening to, so it is definitely worth putting on your headphones or blasting a Spotify playlist. If you’re looking to get as much done in one day as you possibly can, try listening to something quite heavy and fast to give you the energy you need to get through the session. On the other hand, you might just want a bit of downtime while dusting, so listen to something soft and smooth, like a bit of jazz or some classical music.
2. Pick a Room to Start With
This might be the hardest thing to do. There’s always that one room in the house which is taunting you and subsequently puts you off cleaning in general. My advice is to not start with that room. Find a room which is more on the dishevelled side, where organisation took a holiday and never came back. Start with that room and work your way up to the worst one.
3. Little and Often
A little bit of cleaning here and there goes a long way. Not everyone is capable of blasting through a full spring clean every week, so it might interest you to know that there is another option: clean for ten minutes every day. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but by the end of five days, you will have done more cleaning than you would have previously thought possible.
4. Clean as You Go
Slightly in the same camp as the previous tip, cleaning as you go can go a long way to keeping your home clean. If you’re making a meal, you might be tempted to leave the washing up to the very end, which might lead to letting the pans ‘soak’ for a full week. You might leave an empty crisp packet on the table with the intention of ‘throwing it away later” and later never comes. Instead, try throwing away the crisp packet when you’re finished with it, or rinsing out a bowl you won’t need anymore.
5. The ‘Right’ Tools for the Job
A lot of people will talk to you about having the ‘right’ equipment for a job. If you’re dedicated to fully cleaning your home, then this is the tip to listen to. If you’re just looking to get your home clean skip to the next one. The ‘right’ tools for the job are anything which is designed to do the job it’s for. So, furniture polish for furniture, a hoover for carpets, a mop for linoleum… that sort of thing. Get a set of organisational boxes if that’s what you need. Make sure you find a brand which is well-known and will do what needs to be done on the first try.
6. The ‘Wrong’ Tools for the Job
If you just want to get your home clean, this is the tip for you. Some of us don’t see the point in buying a hundred different chemicals for what is essentially one job, so find a good, all-round, all-purpose cleaner and some paper towels or a cloth. There is no way to do this ‘wrong.’ Go around, focusing on the worst-looking spots, and neaten up the areas that look more dishevelled than other a bit later.
7. Organising Messes/Decluttering
You may have heard of Marie Kondo’s ‘pit’ and ‘sparking joy.’ This is a very useful technique for decluttering. Once you have gotten rid of the things which you no longer need, it’s time to organise what’s left. You might need to invest in some storage units from an online retailer, or you might just need to free up some more space, either way, try to categorise things and place them in appropriate places.
This is probably the hardest thing on the list because we just assume everything is recyclable. It isn’t. Check with your local authority about which materials are recyclable, and sort them appropriately. You might find a lot of empty bottles and boxes as you go around. Do not simply assume that they can go into the recycling bin just because they’re plastic or cardboard, because some might have been made with non-recyclable materials. If you have found toys or clothes you haven’t used in a while, now is a good time to donate them.
9. The ‘One Year’ Rule
If you haven’t used it in a year, throw it away. This is also a good exercise in nostalgia and mental health. We like to cling to things which we then forget about but have a subconscious comfort in knowing are around ‘just in case’ we happen to need them. I assure you that this is an unhealthy cleaning practice. Once you have found enough courage to tackle the room that ‘taunts’ you, this will be an excellent tool in your cleaning kit, better even than the ‘right’ tools. Throwing things away that have no meaning to you now is a cathartic experience which will leave your mind, soul, and hoe just a little bit cleaner.
10. Organising and Priorities
Don’t try to tackle the whole thing as once. Remember that old saying, ‘your eyes were too big for your belly’? It means you took on more than was possible at one time. So instead, focus on an area that happens to be bothering you specifically, and slowly spread out like a ripple in the ocean, and eventually, the whole area will be clean. It might help to set up a way to organise things as well. Take those old storage units or baskets and make them a way to store important documents! Even empty out the cupboards and set up a way that eases access a little bit more.
11. Maintaining Good Habits
Maybe the most challenging aspect of this list is maintaining good cleaning habits. It’s easy to say ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘this specific task can be done on a specific day’ but it’s not always easy to stick to. Some people might find it easier to do all the cleaning on one set day, others might have an easier time doing little bits every day, but with both of those options comes the risk of them just never being met. So, the answer is to get yourself into good cleaning habits. Take that empty glass to the sink and wash it on your next trip to the kitchen, throw away rubbish before it starts to stink, and soon it will be like you were doing it all along.
12. Getting Everyone to Help
Remember when your mother used to complain about being the only one who did everything in the house? Well, you’re in charge now, but it would still be nice if people helped with the cleaning. If you live on your own, then, well, you’re on your own unless your friends are happy to come over and help. Alternatively, you might have flatmates or family who can help. Assign everyone a room or task so that the work is spread evenly.
13. Confronting the Room That Taunts You
So, you have made it. You are finally ready to brave the room that has been causing you the most grief for however long you have been putting it off. Now is the time! This could be for any reason, the most important thing to remember is that you can employ any means necessary to handle it: it might be more comfortable to deal with on your own, or you might need some help. If it’s too messy to deal with, try to empty it out. If it’s a matter of emotion, take all the time you need with cleaning. By the end, whatever method you choose, you will feel better for it.
14. The Garden/Patio
Not everyone is fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have a garden. They can become overrun quite quickly and it’s always tricky to organise them. One option is to hire a professional to sort things out, but not everyone has the money to do that. Weeds, overgrown grass, and wayward toys and equipment are always going to be an issue. Our first piece of advice is to tackle the weeds because they will always grow back. Mow and trim the lawn (cordless lawn mowers), then dispose of the cuttings in a composting bag. Then, once the grassy bit is sorted, it will help to organise your tools and lay out the garden in a way which looks visually appealing.
You never think of the doors when it comes to cleaning, do you? It might surprise you to know that they build up quite a bit of grime over the years. Make sure you research the type of material that has gone into making them. It could be anything from wood to plastic, or even metal. Take the time to look for a cleaning product which will take care of the building material as well as the grime that now coats it. We recommend using something antibacterial or something which has a clear focus on degreasing if you happen to be cleaning the kitchen or bathroom doors. It might not seem like it, but your doors will shine.
This one probably doesn’t surprise you, but it will definitely be useful for people who are looking to get their whole house as clean as they possibly can. Windows, as you might imagine, collect a lot of unsavoury materials between cleanings. And we like to forget that there is both an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ to the windowpane. The glass is easy enough to clean, just get something which helps glass maintain its clarity, but the sill itself needs to be cleaned and organised. Wipe it all down with some hot and soapy water – it should only take about ten minutes – then dry it off and set aside any clutter for later sorting.
Easily the easiest part of the house to clean. Carpets collect a lot between cleanings, so it is worth having a good go at them. Treat them to some carpet shampoo, or some powder, to sanitise them and help keep them fresher for longer. It may also help to sweep up any debris which might get in the way of the hoover. When hoovering, go with the flow of it and try to avoid being too harsh with the machine and the carpet. This all also works for rugs and anything carpet-like.
We all have one: ‘the chair’, ‘the table’, generally any surface which happens to become a zone where everything piles up. This tip is specifically for that surface: empty it. Take everything off, arrange it into piles. That could be anything from books, notebooks, clothes, everything. Just get ‘the Surface’ empty, then wipes it down, sanitise it, and organise the piles as you go along. For furniture in general, use a duster and some furniture polish for wood, and a vacuum for fabrics.
19. Electrical Items
This is everything that requires electricity, including lamps and gaming consoles. Before we go on, we’d like to make something very clear: TURN IT OFF BEFORE YOU CLEAN IT. This may seem like a needless measure, but a lot of people just wipe the bulb or socket with a wet cloth, and then wonder why they have been electrocuted. When cleaning electrical items, remember that dust collects in the back where the ventilation unit it. Dust that area as thoroughly as possible. For lamps, go over with a dry wipe if you can. Your gadgets need love too!
20. The Kitchen
Everybody’s favourite room in the house is the kitchen because that’s where the food is! And the tea. And the coffee. It’s deceptively simple to clean. Wipe down the counters, and leave the washing up until last, because then you have a bit more time to deal with it. Get some attachable hooks from the DIY department at the supermarket and fix them somewhere out of the way to give your tea towels somewhere to live, stack your plates neatly in a cupboard, and get an organiser for the cutlery drawer. Also, instead of keeping tea and coffee in the packaging, why not get some cute little mason jars to store them in?
21. The Fridge and Freezer
A walk-in fridge or freezer can be hell on earth to clean. At home, a typical fridge or freezer is somewhat easier because there isn’t as much to do, but they are still a pain because they end up packed. We suggest pulling everything out, deep cleaning, and starting again if you’re going for a full spring clean. If not. Try to organise the items that need to be refrigerated or frozen as best as you possibly can while also wiping it down. It’s hard to think of it, but the fridge ends up storing a lot of bacteria, and the freezer can usually become so encrusted with ice that it makes organisation a pain.
For this one, simply refer to the ‘one-year’ rule. That cute miniskirt might have looked really nice on you and was simply a must-have back in 2018, but now you wouldn’t be caught dead in it. Or that football shirt might have been something that you wanted, but now that you’ve stopped following the team, it might be worth donating it to someone who might want it. Clear some space in your chest of drawers, your wardrobe, or anywhere else you want to keep your clothes and start organising them a bit. Hang what needs to be hung, fold what needs to be folded. While life is too short to match every single pair of socks – half of which were eaten by the washing machine – it’s worth pairing them up for later. The same with your underwear. T-shirts can be folded and stored in a drawer. You know that little folding device Sheldon has on the Big Bang Theory? You can get one on Amazon!
Everyone loves a pair of shoes. They get you places! Now that you’ve embarked on a cleaning journey, it’s probably time to finally throw out that very ratty pair of running trainers you can’t let go of. If you’re DIY-minded, it’s worth looking at shoe racks. They can be a great way to make use of very little space, and they make your hallway – or room – look a little bit more professional to boot! If you’re not in the market for a shoe rack, try to keep your work shoes close at hand, maybe by the front door, and your ‘leisure’ shoes – trainers, etc. – in your wardrobe.
Books might have been your greatest companions for most of your life and you can’t imagine parting with even a single one of them. Well, you might have to. As with the ‘one year’ rule, it might be worth going through them and asking yourself which ones you are genuinely going to read for the first time or reread them. With the rise in popularity of audiobooks, you don’t need to feel guilty about putting them in a bag and gifting them to someone or donating them to your local charity shops. Your local library might appreciate the donation!
25. The Sofa
Going briefly back to ‘the Surface’, the sofa is probably the hardest piece of furniture to keep clean. It’s something of a sanctuary to most people because it’s their place to sit and relax. But it’s hard to relax when there’s junk in the way. We advise really digging in between the cushions, getting around the edges, and really pulling out all the debris that happens to collect over time. It seems like a lot because it always builds up to be more than you expect. When that’s done, make it look nice.
Bonus Tip: Have a Cup of Tea
Cleaning is hard work; there is no denying that. If you need a break, take one. Make yourself a cup of tea after an hour or coffee (best coffee makers), recharge your batteries, and start again if need be. Alternatively, if you’ve finished cleaning – congratulations by the way – have a cup of tea to celebrate. Or hot chocolate. Or coffee. Whichever you pick, you’ve earned it!
- 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home – AARP
- Expert Tips on How to Disinfect Your Home – Northwestern Now
- Keep It Clean and Stay Healthy – Tips for Sanitizing Your Space – University of Kentucky