Deep-cleaning your home: a room-by-room guide

Keeping up with laundry, dishes, and vacuuming from one week to the next can go a long way to maintaining a tidy house, but once a year, it’s a good idea to dive in and scrub those spaces that might be neglected during routine cleaning. Give your living space extra love by following this room-by-room deep cleaning checklist that will leave your house sparkling this spring and beyond.

Before you begin cleaning

1. Remove clutter. You’ll want to perform a light cleaning before you do any deep cleaning. You can start by picking up items on the floor or counters, tabletops, and furniture.

2. Plan your strategy. Plan which rooms and when to tackle them, considering how long you expect it to take to complete the job. Feel free to divide the job into several days or weeks. You may need to hire a house cleaner if you have limited time or a large house. Deep cleaning takes time.

3. Before you start, take stock and make sure you have all the necessary supplies. You don’t want to lose your momentum by running out of stores.


All showers, baths, sinks, and toilets should be scrubbed. Spray your bathtub with a multipurpose cleaner before you start cleaning the bathroom. This will allow it to soak and dissolve any accumulated soap or oil. The same goes for the sinks and toilet bowls. This will make it easier to scrub later.

Tip Don’t forget the wipe the base of your toilet near the ground, where dust or dribbles may fall.

Light fixtures, window treatments, and mirrors should be cleaned. Spend extra time cleaning out any gunk that may have gotten into the corners or around the edges. Wipe down any accumulated dust or grime by using vinegar and a damp cloth.

Clean glass shower doors. Remove soap scum and water spots by applying warm, distilled white vinegar. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then reapply if necessary. Sprinkle some baking soda over the top and gently scrub away any spots.

Tip: A slightly moistened dryer sheet will also remove the buildup.

Throw any bath mats or cloth curtains in the washer. Check the care labels to see what cycle to use. Set the heat to low, and remove items from the dryer when damp. Hang them up again in the shower for final drying. You can also wash the plastic shower curtain lining in cold water and hang it up to dry. Or, you can replace it.

Clear out the under sinks and drawers. These spaces become cluttered over time. Remove everything so you can clean the bottoms of cabinets and drawers. Also, remove any cobwebs. When putting things back, throw out expired items or items you don’t need and organize everything else. Be sure to place items you will use the most often near the front to make them easier to access.

Remember the grout. A homemade grout cleaner can be made with vinegar, baking soda, and water. First, spray down the grout with a half-vinegar/half-water solution until the area is good and saturated. After a few moments, use a bristled toothbrush to scrub the grout. Rinse, and let it sit for a few minutes. Mix baking soda and water until they form a paste. Apply it to the grout with your brush, then spray the water and vinegar. The bubbles will begin to remove some of the dirt and grime. Your meeting will take care of the rest. After you are done, wash the grout with warm tap water.

Tip: Carpet cleaner works well on the grout in a pinch.

Handles and doorknobs should be cleaned. The most germy places in your house are the neglected doorknobs and handles. You should give them a thorough clean if you haven’t done so in a long time. Use a disinfectant wipe or multipurpose cleaner.


Cabinets should be wiped down. Clean the dust and dirt from the cabinet doors inside and the outside, including the top. Use a damp cloth to clean the surface. Dip your cloth into undiluted vinegar and rub the grease off. Rinse the rag with warm water afterward to remove the vinegar. If you have cabinets that swell when exposed to too much water, ring your cloth out before cleaning and then dry it quickly using a paper towel.

TipAfter cleaning the tops of the cabinets cut the newspaper to the size needed to fit. The paper will accumulate dust over time, but not the cabinets. You can replace the document at spring cleaning next year.

Vacuum the coils and vent of your refrigerator. Rent an air compressor or use your vacuum’s hose and brush attachment to clean the coils and ducts.

Defrost and clean out the refrigerator. Remove everything to remove all food debris on the shelves and the walls. Start at the top, and work your way down. Check the expiration dates of food before putting it back. Throw out anything past its prime. Remember to clean the inside of your fridge and freezer. Pay special attention to the handles.

Toss out old sponges. They are germ magnets. Even zapping the sponges in the microwave will not kill all the bacteria. Every few days, disinfect sponges by soaking them in bleach and water (3/4 cup bleach per 1 gallon) for 5 minutes. After a few weeks, you should replace them or switch to reusable silicone scrubbers.

Scrub the stovetop and vent. Use mineral oil to remove a film from stovetops and range hoods covered with greasy dust. Then, wash the area with warm water and dish detergent.

Tip: Apply car wax to the surfaces of your gas stovetop (not on the grates), then wipe it off. It will be easier to clean future spills.

Clean the oven. You can create a homemade cleaner if your range does not have a self-cleaning function. Mix five tablespoons of baking soda with five drops of dish soap and four tablespoons of vinegar to make a paste. Apply it to the most challenging spots. After a few moments, scrub it off with a non-abrasive sponge or brush. Pour extra-stiff grease stains and rub a half lemon with a few drops of dish soap. Next, clean it with a scrubber or a rag.

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