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How to clean your house

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Key Points:

  1. A clean house is beneficial to your physical health. It may look easy, but there are many areas that could be overlooked. We are trying to put together a comprehensive guide to help you clean your home in a best way.

  2. WikiHow has many articles talking about house cleaning, but each standalone article can't form a solid and comprehensive solution. Therefore, we have rewritten and integrated several articles together to create a better version.

Home is very important for us, and is the foundation of our life. Keeping a clean house is vital for a healthy and happy life. There are two parts for house cleaning: the daily routine cleaning and the thorough cleanup.

Here we quote the best way to clean a house provided by wikiHow, a wiki that is building the world's largest and highest quality how-to manual. Please edit the articles and find author credits at the original wikiHow articles on How to Keep Your House Clean, How to Clean the Outside of a House, How to Professionally Clean a House, How to Deep Clean a House. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Part 1: Daily Cleaning

  1. A house that is steadily kept clean and tidy reduces unwarranted stress, feels like a home, and also makes the entire drill of cleaning easy and less work; rather than performing big cleans that take up entire days. The following methods below will help you keep your home in ship-shape condition all year round, in a way that best suits your lifestyle.

  2. Kitchen. When it comes time to cleaning the kitchen with the spring cleaning method, aim to do it after breakfast in the morning so that you can arrive home to cook in a clean one in the evening. You could also clean your kitchen after the preparation of your evening meal so you can wake up to a clean one too. Complete the following routine after each usage to maintain an orderly kitchen daily: Wash all dishes, dry them and put them away. By doing the entire process of washing the dishes every-time, you can easily avoid playing the 'tower stack' game where dishes continually pile up until someone has to put them all away. Sponge down the rubber gasket in your sink. Wipe down all surfaces with a surface spray and cloth. Wipe down the stove ( don't forget the switchers). If the burners are super dirty, soak them in soapy water for 30 minutes. Clean your microwave ( if you have one), with a cloth and disinfectant spray. This will avoid having to do an extensive clean once a week or even month. This can take as little as 1 minute to complete and it also aids in maintaining food preparation hygiene. Keep up-to-date with your refrigerator by surveying food entering and food currently residing in it. If any item is protruding an unpleasant smell, remove it. Quickly wipe down each shelf of the refrigerator just in case anything has leaked. By doing this every-day it again helps avoid a lengthy and grueling clean that usually gets done whenever you get around to doing it. Sweep or hoover the flooring to remove any items that may have been dropped. By doing this regularly, you are removing the risk of contracting mice or rats.

  3. Living / Dining room. This room may be one of the most central areas in your house. Guests and Visitors will most likely reside in this area the most so by keeping it fairly clean, they will assume the rest of the house is like it; even if the rest of the house isn't completely spot-less. Follow these steps daily for the spring cleaning method to maintain order in your living room: Dust down cabinets, coffee-tables and television with a feather duster. If you have leather seating, again use the damp micro-fiber cloth to wipe them down. If however you have fabric seating, fend to brush surplus lint, fluff and pet hair with a lint roller. Re-arrange décor if it has been misplaced. ( positioning cushions, straightening picture frames etc). Replace items that are out of place like DVD's, Remotes and used dishes to the kitchen to be washed and put-away. Wipe down dining table with a cloth daily. Hoover the flooring and also mop if you have tile or wooden floor boards.

  4. Bathroom. A hygienic bathroom is developed by daily cleaning rituals, follow these steps to keep your bathroom in good working order: Start by putting on your gloves. Fill the toilet with the product of your choice and scrub the bowl. Spray the exterior of the toilet with a disinfectant spray and wipe it all down with paper towel and then flush. It takes only about a minute. Remove everything from the shower and clean the flooring and walls or window with the product of your choice. By scrubbing the shower daily, you are removing any stains that will accumulate over time and be a grueling process when it's definitely time to clean it. Spray and wipe down the sink to remove toothpaste residue, wipe down bath-tub (if you have one). Wipe down the mirror with Windex and paper towel. You can hoover, sweep or mop the floor daily or maybe every second day.

  5. Music, Kids or Study room. If you have a spare bedroom, or a music or study room; it's ideal to keep it tidy daily as well. Follow these steps to maintain a dust free miscellaneous room: Hoover flooring. Organize item out of place. Aim to have a spot for everything in rooms like this so you or other people you live with know where it goes. Dust down musical instruments, computer keyboards, printer or fax machine, photo frames or other surfaces and items with a feather duster. Put all toy's away (if you have small children) and scourer the house for other toys that may have wondered.

  6. Laundry. Many people forget to clean their laundry or at least keep it in a tidy and orderly fashion. Wash a load of towels every second day to accumulate a full load and save water and power. You can also throw in face washers or dish towels. Acquire a dirty washing basket for you or other people in the house to put their used towels, face washers etc. It would be best for other people in the house to have their own clothing basket to put their own dirty clothes into them. Encourage people to regularly do their washing throughout the week to save time and energy. It can become a meticulous task of washing everything on the lot on a prescribed day on the weekend. Wipe down your washing machine daily to avoid the build of grime, lint and dirty. Washing machines can be ironically the dirtiest appliance under your roof. By following this formula, you're allowing time for yourself on the weekend rather than doing loads of housework.

Part 2: Cleaning the Outside

  1. Cleaning the outside of a home seems like a large task, but it can actually be fairly simple if you use the right tools and techniques. Using a garden hose is the best method if the house isn't very dirty, or if your house is made out of brick, stucco, or delicate wood shingles. Pressure washing is the way to go if your house has difficult stains. Vinyl, wood siding, and hybrid materials can withstand pressure washing. No matter what method you choose, you should prepare your house before cleaning it.

  2. Prepping the Outside of Your House. Choose a warm day to clean. If possible, wait to clean the outside of your home on a warm, dry day. A windy day will cause overspray, which will come back on you as you clean. If it isn't possible to clean on a warm day, at least wait for a dry to clean the outside of your house. Protect the area on and around your home. Begin by making sure all doors and windows are closed. Secure them with tape if necessary. Put duct tape and plastic sheeting over outside light fixtures, vents, and electrical outlets. Move lawn furniture away from the home. Cover plants and shrubbery with plastic sheeting. Use soap and water to remove stains. Inspect your home before you begin cleaning. Look for stains that can be cleaned without the use of a garden hose or pressure washing. For most stains, you can use a scrub brush, water, and regular dishwashing soap. Scrub the stain until it begins to lift. Create a solution with oxygen bleach powder to remove mildew. For tougher stains, like mildew, use a solution made out of oxygen bleach, water, and dishwashing liquid. Put a gallon (3.8 L) of water, one-quarter pound (1 L) of oxygen bleach, and a one-eighth cup (29.6 mL) of dishwashing liquid in a bucket. Dip a scrub brush in the bucket and scrub the mildew until it lifts.

  3. Using a Garden Hose to Clean. Use a cleaning kit or brush to clean the outside of your house. You can buy a siding cleaning kit with a nozzle attachment from your local home improvement store. Or, you can buy an automobile brush that will attach to your hose. You can use only water to clean if your house isn't heavily soiled. If it is, you will need to use a cleanser. A siding kit should come with a compartment to pour the cleanser into the attachment. Work from the bottom to the top. Spray your hose at a downward angle. Work from the bottom to the top of the house. Work in small, separate sections at a time. Rinse with water if a cleaner was used. If you used more than water, you will need to rinse off the cleanser. Again, work from top to bottom as you rinse off the house with only water. You do not need to do anything to dry off the house.

  4. Cleaning with a Pressure Washer. Choose a nozzle to pressure wash with. Nozzles are typically measured in degrees. The spray is stronger the lower you go in degrees. Choose a low setting if you aren't familiar with pressure washing. A 40-degree angle is good to start with. You can gradually work down to a 25-degree angle if the 40-degree nozzle isn't getting the job done. Test the pressure washer on a small section of your house. Pressure washing can do damage to a house, especially if the material the house is made of is weak or has weakened. Spray the pressure washer on a small, hidden part of the house. Switch to a garden hose or call in a professional if you see any damage done by the pressure washer. Spray downward. Begin pressure washing by spraying at a downward angle. Spraying at an upward angle can cause water to get trapped in the cracks or seams, which can cause damage to your house later on. Move the pressure washer from side-to-side. Hold the pressure washer steadily as you pressure wash. Move the pressure washer from side-to-side in a sweeping motion. You should still be holding the pressure washer at a downward angle. Continue until you have cleaned all of the outside of the house. Move from top to bottom if using a cleanser. Water alone should typically be enough to pressure wash the house, but you will need to wash in a different motion if you're using a cleaner. Spray from top to bottom if you're using a cleaner. Rinse off the cleanser with water when you are finished pressure washing.

Part 3: Thorough Cleanup

  1. Adhering to General Principles. Clean the home from top to bottom if you’re by yourself. When professionally cleaning a home on your own, you should start with the upper level, then work your way down to the lowest level. This will help you sweep and mop all the dust and grit down from the upper levels without tracking it back through the already cleaned parts of the house. Wear comfortable, washable clothing. Cleaning a house professionally can be grimy. Dress for success by wearing a comfortable shirt -- an old t-shirt or a sweater -- and sweatpants or thick jeans. Don a pair of comfortable sneakers, too.

  2. Cleaning the Kitchen. Wipe down all the shelves, working from the highest to the lowest. Shelves with food, especially, are prone to collect crumbs. There’s no need to remove dishes and food, but wipe around them as much as possible. Clean the counter-tops with an all-purpose cleaner. Spray the counter-tops with an all-purpose cleaner. Wipe them down using a clean cloth. Move your hand in small, circular motions across the counter’s surface. Clean the stovetop using an all-purpose cleaner. Spray the all-purpose cleaner of your choice onto the stovetop. Use a clean cloth to wipe away grease stains and burned material from the stove. Clean the dishwasher. Dishwashers can usually be cleaned by running a cleaning cycle. Before doing so, however, use a paper towel to remove any loose bits of food from the bottom of the dishwasher. Clean stainless steel appliances with vinegar. To clean stainless steel kitchen appliances (a microwave, refrigerator, or toaster, for instance), fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray it liberally over the appliance. Use a paper towel or soft cloth to wipe the appliance clean, moving in the direction of the grain. Wipe the inside and outside of the microwave with a sponge. Dampen a sponge and "cook" it for two minutes. This will loosen caked-on material inside the microwave. About two minutes after the timer on the microwave goes off, retrieve the sponge and remove the rotating plate. Wipe the plate off over the sink using warm water and a soapy sponge, then use the sponge to scrub the inside and outside of the microwave. Clear out and clean the fridge. Go through your fridge, one shelf at a time, and throw out any old food and empty containers. Take out any removable shelves and drawers and wash them in your sink with water and dishwashing liquid. Use dishwashing liquid and water to wipe down the exterior of your fridge as well. Wipe down the sides of your fridge with dishwasher soap and water to remove any stains or spills. Clean the oven. Remove oven racks and burners. Soak them in the sink with warm water and dishwashing soap and then wash them with a sponge or rag. With a self-cleaning oven, make use of the automatic cleaning cycle. Follow your oven's directions closely. If your oven is not self-cleaning, wipe down the inside of the oven using an SOS brush and some dish soap and water. Remove any stains and built-up food. When you're done cleaning out your oven, dust off any bits of food on the bottom of the oven.

  3. Cleaning the Bathroom. Spray the sink basin, faucet, sink handles, and counter-top with a disinfectant. Wait about five minutes while the disinfectant works, then dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water. Wring it out and wipe the disinfectant from the sink and the other areas you sprayed. Clean the toilet bowl with a toilet brush and an all-purpose spray. Spray an all-purpose cleaner around the inside of your toilet bowl, then scrub it with your toilet brush. Flush the toilet after you’re done cleaning, then trap the brush between the toilet seat and the rim of the toilet bowl to allow the brush to drip-dry. Disinfect the toilet. Just you did with the sink and counter-top area, spray the inside of the toilet lid and the toilet seat with your disinfectant of choice. Wait five minutes, then wipe them down with a damp paper towel. Discard the paper towel after using it. Wipe tile grout with a grout brush dipped in bleach. If your shower or bathroom floor is tiled, dip your grout brush in bleach. Scrub any discolored areas between the tiles. If you’re cleaning shower tile, rinse it off using the shower head. If you’re cleaning grout on the bathroom floor, wipe the bleach away using a soft, damp cloth. Clean tubs and showers with an all-purpose cleaner. Spray tubs and showers (including shower doors and walls) with an all-purpose cleaner, then turn the shower on and exit the bathroom. Close the door behind you, then wait about 20 minutes. The steam will loosen caked-on shower grime. Use a clean cloth or a dry microfiber mop to wipe tub and shower surfaces clean.

  4. Dusting the House. Clean the light fixtures with an extendable duster. Bend the extendable duster at an angle that allows you to run it along the edge of the light fixture. Move around the perimeter of the light fixture until it is totally free of dust. Remove cobwebs using a duster with a cleaning extension. A duster with a cleaning extension will allow you to get those hard-to-reach ceiling corners where cobwebs collect. Just wipe the duster along the cobweb to snag it, then pull it down and put the cobweb in the bin. Dust the ceiling fans using an old pillowcase. Slip an old pillowcase over a fan blade. Press your hand against the top edge of the pillowcase and slide it slowly back toward you. The dust will collect inside. Repeat for the other fan blades and dump the dust out in the bin. Dust the furniture with a damp cloth. Dampen a soft cloth and wring it out until it’s dry. Gently move the cloth back and forth over the surface of the furniture to remove dust. Use a dry cloth -- preferably a microfiber cloth -- to dry the surface and restore the surface to a sheen. Target dust on the back of furniture. When moving furniture to sweep or vacuum, you will notice dust builds up on the back of chairs and sofas. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove dust and debris from these surfaces. Dust electronic appliances using a microfiber cloth. Gently wipe TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, printers, and stereos with a clean microfiber cloth. Be careful not to press against the actual screen on TVs and monitors. Use a soft-brush vacuum attachment to remove dust from vents. Move the soft-brush vacuum attachment over the vent in a back-and-forth motion to loosen and collect dust. Next, dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe the vent down to remove any remaining dust particles. Move large appliances away from the wall to remove the dust behind them. If possible, move refrigerators and washing machines slightly away from the wall and use a vacuum extension to suck up dust and crumbs that might have collected there. Unplug the appliance, then use a long-handled, slightly damp sponge mop to wipe dust from the back of the appliance itself. Dust off rugs. Lay a clean sheet over your floor and place your rug face down on it. Go over the rug with a vacuum cleaner. Then, flip it over and vacuum the other side. Remove dust from mattresses. Mattresses also collect dust. Use a vacuum's upholstery brush to remove dust from a mattress. Run it over the mattress, making sure to get into crooks and crevices, to remove any obvious dust and debris.

  5. Targeting Floors, Walls, and Windows. Clean your window frames. Window frames should be cleaned when deep cleaning your home. To start, use the detachable nozzle of a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and debris from window frames, especially debris found in cracks and grooves. Then, spritz an all-purpose cleaner along the window frames and wipe them down with a rag. Clean your windows. Once the window frames are clean, clean the windows inside and outside. Use a commercial glass cleaner and a paper towel to wipe down windows. Make sure to wipe in the same direction inside and outside of the windows. This will leave them looking clear. Wipe down your walls. Mix 20 ounces of warm water with a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle. Spritz the solution on your walls, working in one section at a time, and let it sit on for five minutes. Then, wipe down your walls using a rag dipped in clean, warm water. Sweep hard floors using a broom and dustpan. Mentally divide the floor up into small sections of approximately one square meter (one square yard). Starting from the section furthest from the room’s exit, sweep each section using short strokes. Collect the debris and dust in a central pile. Once you’ve swept everything into a small pile, sweep it into your dustpan. Vacuum carpeted floors. Turn the vacuum on and move it in a slow and steady back-and-forth motion across the floor. Vacuum the room in strips, starting against the wall furthest from the exit. Mop hardwood, vinyl, and other hard floors. Fill a mop bucket with a mild or pH-neutral soap and warm water. Dip the mop into the water and wring it out. The mop should be slightly damp, not saturated. Begin mopping the room in parallel strips, starting from the corner furthest away from the exit.

  6. More cleanings. Wipe down mirrors and glass surfaces using a cleaning solution of vinegar and water. Windows, mirrors, and glass tabletops should be cleaned with a mixture of one part white vinegar and four parts distilled water. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture, then spray a clean microfiber cloth with the mixture. Rub the cloth across the surface in a gentle circular motion to remove all the spots and smudges. Take out the trash and replace all the trash bags. Remove all the trash bags from around the house. Place them all by the curb or in the bin (whichever your client prefers). Put new trash bags in every trash can. Wipe down doors with an all-purpose cleaner. Wipe the top and side edge of the door down with a feather duster or a soft rag. Spray both sides of the door (including the door handles) several times with an all-purpose cleaner. Use a clean cloth to wipe the cleaning agent away. Make the house smell good using scented candles, incense, or aerosol sprays.

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