The KEY to a Clean House Daily Maintenance 

BEFORE WE GET TO MY list of super-duper cleaning hacks, I wanted to take a minute to chat about some basic principles of keeping a (relatively) clean house. The first (and, I think, most valuable) of those principles: it’s all about maintenance.

When your house stays pretty clean, you rarely have to spend large chunks of time binge cleaning.

By Elena Nichizhenova / shutterstock.com
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So how does one maintain a clean home? It’s easy. Set aside a few minutes (fifteen to twenty minutes per day should do it) every day to tidy up your house.

Don’t worry about cleaning the whole house during that time. Clean one room, or just do some quick tidying.

Do the floors, or hastily fold a few towels. Set a timer for yourself to inspire you to work more quickly.

Taking care of these smaller tasks every day will keep them from becoming time-consuming headaches down the road. 

I recommend that, before you begin your maintenance cleaning schedule, you set aside a day to deep clean your house so that you can start with a clean slate. Here’s the deep cleaning checklist I use to get my house sparkling clean a few times a year: 

Kitchen 

  • Dust light fixtures
  • Wash windows and window sills 
  • Wash switch plates, walls and trim, doors and door knobs
  •  Wash floor registers and other vent covers 
  • Mop or vacuum floor 
  • Remove and clean window coverings 
  • Remove items from drawers and cabinets, wipe down, and reorganize 
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards 
  • Sharpen knives 
  • Wash cabinet doors and knobs 
  • Clean and organize pantry 
  • Clean oven and stove top 
  • Clean and organize fridge and freezer 
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils 
  • Clean microwave 
  • Clean crumbs out of toaster 
  • Wipe down any other appliances 
  • Wipe down and disinfect countertops 
  • Wash and shine sink and faucet 

Bathrooms 

  • Dust light fixtures
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wash switch plates, walls and trim, doors and door knobs
  • Wash floor registers and other vent covers
  • Mop or vacuum floor
  • Empty all cabinets and vanity, wipe down inside, and reorganize
  • Wash outside of cabinets and vanities
  • Clean tub and drain
  • Clean toilet, inside and out
  • Shine faucets
  • Clean mirror
  • Hang clean towels
  • Wash shower curtain, if washable
  • Restock toilet paper, hand soap, etc.

Entry and Hallways

  • Dust light fixtures
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wash switch plates, walls and trim, doors and door knobs
  • Wash floor registers and other vent covers
  • Mop or vacuum floor
  • Dust furniture and wall decorations
  • Wash area rugs
  • Empty out closets, clean, and organize

Bedrooms 

  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wash switch plates, walls and trim, doors and door knobs
  • Wash floor registers and other vent covers
  • Mop or vacuum floor
  • Dust furniture
  • Clean out drawers and closets and wipe down
  • Vacuum or mop, including under bed (you may have to have someone helpyou move the bed)
  • Launder bedding, including comforters and duvet
  • Launder curtains
  • Air out mattress pad, if you have one
  • Dust light fixtures and clean lamp shades

Dining and Living Rooms 

  • Dust light fixtures
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wash switch plates, walls and trim, doors and door knobs
  • Wash floor registers and other vent covers
  • Mop or vacuum floor
  • Wash curtains
  • Dust and polish wood furniture
  • Clean upholstery
  • Dust any shelves and decorative items
  • Launder table linens and curtains
  • Launder throw pillows and blankets
  • Clean lamps and lampshades
  • Clean television screen
  • Carefully dust electronics
  • Sort books, DVDs, toys, and music. Donate those items you no longer want

Laundry Room 

  • Dust light fixtures
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wash switch plates, walls and trim, doors and door knobs
  • Wash floor registers and other vent covers
  • Mop or vacuum floor
  • Wash cabinet doors.
  • Wash inside cabinets
  • Wash laundry sink and faucet
  • Wipe down outside of washer and dryer
  • Wash inside of washing machine
  • Wash lint trap

Whew! Your house is CLEAN. Now, let’s be sure to keep it that way! As I said,maintenance is the best way to minimize the amount of time you must spendcleaning your home. I recommend creating a checklist of essential maintenancechores that should be done daily, weekly, and monthly to keep your home freshand sparkling. The tasks on this list will depend on the needs of the household, buthere’s a sample list to get you started. Of course, tweak this list as you like!

Daily Maintenance 
  • Wipe kitchen and bathroom counters
  • Sweep the kitchen floor
  • Load dishwasher
  • Run one load of laundry
  • Pick up dirty clothes, toys, and trash throughout the house
  • Make the beds
  • Put away any clutter
  • Sort the mail

Weekly or Bi-Weekly Maintenance 

  • Vacuum living areas
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Review checkbook and pay bills
  • Shop for groceries
  • Fold and put away laundry

Another approach to maintenance cleaning (and the one that I prefer) is to use myfifteen to twenty minutes every day to tackle a different room. Such a cleaningschedule might look something like this:

Bathrooms (Monday) 

  • Change out dirty towels and washcloths
  • Wipe mirrors
  • Clean toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers
  • Wipe down light fixtures, light switches, and baseboards
  • Empty trash baskets and wipe or spray insides and outsides
  • Clean windows
  • Mop floors

Dining Room (Tuesday) 

  • Dust furniture, light fixtures, and baseboards
  • Vacuum floor
  • Clean upholstery
  • Clean windows

Entry, Hallways, and Stairs (Tuesday) 

  • Dust stair banisters, furniture, and light fixtures
  • Wash any machine-washable rugs and runners
  • Clean windows
  • Vacuum and/or mop floors

Office (Wednesday) 

  • Dust furniture, light fixtures, and electronics
  • Empty trash can
  • Sort and put away any mail, bills, or documents
  • Clean windows
  • Vacuum or mop floor

Kitchen (Thursday) 

  • Wipe down sink, countertops, and appliances
  • Dust furniture and light fixtures
  • Toss out expired food
  • Clean garbage disposal
  • Empty trash can
  • Polish cabinet doors
  • Clean windows
  • Clean inside oven and microwave
  • Vacuum and/or mop floor

Living Room (Saturday)

  • Sort and put away magazines, books, DVDs, and other items on side tables or coffee table 
  • Dust furniture, light fixtures, and electronics
  • Fluff and rotate sofa cushions and throw pillows
  • Clean upholstery and drapes
  • Clean windows
  • Vacuum or mop floor

Bedrooms (Saturday) 

  • Change and wash sheets and pillowcases.
  • Sort and put away any magazines or books piling up on bedside tables
  • Dust furniture and baseboards
  • Wipe down light fixtures
  • Empty trash bins
  • Clean windows
  • Vacuum floors

Floater Day (On Sunday, choose one or two of these once-a-month tasks) 

  • Deep clean oven
  • Shampoo or steam carpets
  • Polish wood furniture
  • Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners, under furniture
  • Wash outside of windows
  • De-clutter closets and storage areas
  • Vacuum and flip mattresses
  • Clean smudges or dirt from walls
  • Sweep garage, sidewalks, and patio
If you have kids, many of these chores are great for delegation. You’ll get some extra help with your home maintenance and teach your kids valuable skills and accountability at the same time. If you spouse doesn’t already help you, be sure to also delegate some of the tasks to him or her.
Remember, everyone in the house has a stake in keeping the home clean and livable, so everyone should help out with the chores.
I would suggest printing out the checklist of tasks and posting it ina prominent area in your home (mine is posted on my refrigerator door) to keep yourself and your family members mindful and accountable.
Before you know it,the chores will be like second nature and your home will seem like it’s cleaning itself! (Don’t roll your eyes, I’m serious!)