Next-level cleaners never skip baseboard day.
1. Use a Pattern
Don’t just clean your surfaces willy-nilly. If you use a consistent pattern to clean things, you won’t waste time by having to go back and hit spots that you missed on the first pass. Pros go from left to right and top to bottom to make sure they get the job done right the first time.
2. Apply Products and Walk Away
You can save yourself some scrubbing time by spraying on cleaning products and giving them time to work. This is especially useful in the bathroom—most cleaning product don’t instantaneously disinfect, so leaving them on gives them time to kill germs and break down crud, meaning you have less work to do.
3. Clean Your Ceilings and Walls
Working from top to bottom, dust your ceilings and walls, making sure to get into all the corners. A microfiber mop works great for this, but if you don’t have one, tying an old towel or t-shirt over a broom is also surprisingly effective. Doing this on a regular basis will mean that less dust will collect throughout the rest of your home, allowing you to spend less time with a vacuum or mop in hand. Once your ceilings and walls are clean, you can head back to the bathroom where your products have been doing their thing.
4. Clear Off Surfaces
It’s a big time saver to take everything off of a surface and put them all back at the same time, rather than picking up each item, cleaning underneath it, and putting it down. If you’re dusting, take everything off of a table or shelf before you hit it, then give each item a quick rub with a microfiber cloth before you put it back. Take all the soap, shampoo, and other items out of the shower before you clean it too.
5. Declutter, Then Clean
When a professional comes to your house to clean, they don’t necessarily tidy up your stuff. They’ll often just make a pile for you to deal with later. So if you want to produce the same level of cleanliness, before you start cleaning, put away anything that isn’t where it belongs. You’ll save time by decluttering before you clean instead of trying to do both things at once.
6. Do Your Baseboards
It doesn’t matter how sparkling clean the rest of your house is. If your baseboards are dirty, your house will look dirty. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned them, you might need to use a damp microfiber mop, otherwise they can be vacuumed clean.
7. Sub a Rag for a Mop
Although it’s hard to top the look of a hand-washed floor, it’s neither realistic nor practical to get down on your knees and wash your entire house this way. However, there is an exception.
Cleaning your bathroom floor with a rag shouldn’t take that long since it’s not that much floor, and it’s also the best way to make sure you get all those tight areas like behind the toilet or on the side of sinks clean.
8. Fold Towels in Threes
Take the time to fold all your towels the same way to really make your bathroom look put together. For a polished, hotel-inspired look, try folding your towels in threes.
9. Vacuum Furniture
Any upholstered furniture in your home deserves more than just the occasional lint-roller treatment—in fact, all furniture should get vacuumed weekly. And while you’re vacuuming your furniture, if you have any fabric lampshades, those should be vacuumed as well. Hold the seams on the lampshade while you’re vacuuming them, and if it’s an option, turn down the suction on your vacuum, too.
10. Get Your Stainless Shining
It’s easier than you think to get your stainless steel looking like new. Grab a microfiber cloth and get one half of it wet. Use the wet half to clean the stainless steel, and then dry it using the other half, making sure to go with the grain of the stainless. This simple technique will leave your appliances clean and fingerprint-free, making your whole home look cleaner and more put-together.
11. Go With the Grain
To reduce the likelihood of streaks forming when you mop a hardwood floor, keep the mop head moving in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Better yet, use a cloth afterward to keep any remaining cleaning liquid from pooling and potentially damaging your floor.
12. Carry a Caddy
Save time by keeping all your cleaning products in a single caddy you can carry around the house with you, so you don’t ever have to stop to go grab something. Reduce the amount of stuff you have to carry by buying products that multitask, like an all-purpose cleaner that disinfects for your kitchen and bath, or a wood cleaner that’s safe for both furniture and floors.
13. Choose the Right Tools
You don’t need every single specialty cleaning tool in the world to get a home that’s professional-level clean. Microfiber cloths, clean sponges, a mop, a vacuum that works on carpet and on floors, and a scrub brush that can do detail cleaning are all the tools you really need to get your house clean.
14. Dust First, Vacuum Last
Generally, you should dust before you vacuum. Otherwise you might wind up vacuuming twice to clean up all the dust bunnies that got knocked onto the floor while you were dusting. Better yet, get a vacuum with a HEPA filter to ensure that your vacuum isn’t releasing dust as you clean.
15. Use One Big Trash Bag
Take one big trash bag with you around the house while you’re cleaning and empty all the waste baskets from around the house into it. Not only will this save you time while you’re cleaning, it will give you a clear indication of which rooms you’ve already finished with if you come back to hit them later.
16. Invest in an Extension Cord
Instead of unplugging your vacuum after you finish a room and plugging it in in the next room, use an extension cord so you only have to plug it in one time to save time. A 50-foot cord should make it so you can do most if not all of a floor without ever having to pause to find a new outlet.
17. Bring the Vacuum Into the Kitchen
Using your vacuum to clean your floors is obvious. However, if you want to get your house looking professionally clean, you should also use it to clean out drawers where crumbs settle, like a cutlery drawer, bread box, refrigerator door, toaster oven, or stove.
18. Polish Your Appliances
Make sure to clean all of your appliances. Give the toaster a shine, and wipe off any bits of food that have adhered to mixers. Make sure to really wipe down the outside of your refrigerator and the dishwasher, too.
19. Use Foam Glass Cleaner
If streaky mirrors are a problem for you, use foam glass cleaner instead of a spray. Pros like it because it doesn’t drip and wipes away easily, reducing the chances that you’re going to wind up cleaning your mirrors multiple times.
20. Clean Under the Sink
It’s all too easy to neglect cleaning under your sink. But it’s definitely something you should be doing every time you clean your kitchen. If you keep your trash someplace else, make sure to give that area extra attention too. These are both heavy-use areas that are frequently skipped over by amateur housekeepers.
21. Take a Seat on the Toilet
To make sure you’re bathroom is really, truly clean. Take a moment to sit on the toilet and look around. The new perspective should show you any spots you missed or things that could be made tidier.
22. Keep Extra Bags in Waste baskets
Keep a couple extra bags stashed in the bottom of your waste baskets. That way you don’t have to carry them around and can put the new bag in as soon as the old one goes into your one big trash bag that you’re taking through the house.
23. Use a Squeegee Outside
Outside windows require a little extra effort to get truly clean. Spraying them with window cleaner and wiping it off with a paper towel might do a better job of smearing dirt all over your windows than actually making them clean. Clean windows with a sponge using water that has just a little bit of dishwashing liquid in it. Then use a squeegee to wipe the water off, using a large S pattern on big windows and a single top-to-bottom stroke on smaller ones. Use a lint-free cloth to wipe off the squeegee between strokes for a streak-free clean.
24. Make Your Sink Sparkle
Your kitchen sink probably has more bacteria in it than a toilet. Take time to really clean your sink, and be sure to disinfect it. To do this, you can fill it with a solution of bleach and water, let it soak, and then let it run down the drain, which could also help if your drain is less than fragrant.
25. Clean Door Jambs and Light Plates
You’ve cleaned your ceilings, walls, baseboards, and floors, but if you forget your door jambs and light plates, your house isn’t going to look like it was cleaned by a pro. If you remember to wipe down your door jambs, doors, and light switch plates every week, it should never get to the point where they’re visibly dirty again. A damp microfiber cloth should do the trick.
26. Attend to Light Fixtures
When you’re cleaning, don’t forget about your light fixtures and ceiling fans. If they can be reached without dragging out a giant ladder, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t dust them off every week. In fact, dusting your ceiling fans regularly can help prevent dirt from accumulating throughout the rest of your house, as it’s often spread when you turn on a dirty fan.
If you’ve been neglecting your light fixtures and have several of them that are filled with the corpses of long-dead bugs, tackle just a couple a week until they’ve all been done. Getting those hard-to-reach spots clean is what separates the pros from the rest of us.
27. Do the Stove Last
Your stove is probably the hardest thing to clean in your kitchen, so put it off until the end. If you’re cleaning your oven, make sure to spray on any oven cleaner before you tackle the rest of the kitchen, and put some rags or paper towels under the door to catch any drips. Then start cleaning your kitchen, top to bottom, going all the way around the room until you get back to the stove, where the product has had time to activate. Next, get to scrubbing until it shines. Once it’s clean, you can kick back and enjoy the feeling of residing in an exceptionally clean home.