Learning to Clean

Cleaning the House: Checklist and Process

If you’re here simply for the FREE cleaning the house checklist download, then go ahead and scroll down to the bottom. I thought it would be a good idea though to first walk you through how I clean my home without any of the overwhelm 🙂

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to get the free downloadable cleaning house checklist.
Not cleaning right now? Pin it so you could use it later 🙂

Is it just me or do you also get agonize over when it’s time to clean the whole house? Oh, the thoughts of dread, about how long this task will take! No matter how big or small your home, the task always seems to be overwhelming. It wasn’t until I started working for a professional cleaning company that I learned how to clean a home without the overwhelm.

The secret is this: focus on one room, one task at a time. I know, the tip is quite underwhelming, but I dare you to put it into action and see if it doesn’t have the amazing calming effect that it did on me.

Here’s the plan, I will give you a plan, a checklist for cleaning the house. As you go through each task or each room, I want you to only focus on that task. If you start to think about how much you still have to do you’re going to let that thought go. Enjoy simply getting each part cleaned to the best of your ability. Sound good? Alright, let’s get started!

A few basic principles before we get started:

1. Clean TOP to BOTTOM.

When going through the Cleaning the House Checklist, you will clean starting at the TOP and work your way down. For example, first you will wipe the counters and surfaces. Once done that you will move on to the floors. If you clean the floors and then go to wipe the counters, any dirt or dust that was there may fall to the floor. Thus, you would need to clean the floor again, wasting your time. So, start at the top, leave the floors for last.


A lot of people try to tackle everything at once and then end up feeling drained. My dear friend, there is enough house for you to clean, without adding the burden of organization. I believe that this is why cleaning someone else’s home is so much easier: you’re not burdened with thinking about where all of the items need to be put away, you’re simply focused on getting all the surfaces clean. So, do yourself a favour and separate these two tasks. 

You could either delegate the organization to someone – have the family chip in and put their stuff away. If you don’t have someone who could help you, why not separate these tasks over two days or at least two time blocks. First you go through your home and just put everything away. Then when you go to clean, you’re only cleaning the surfaces. If you notice something out of place, work around it, and come back to it once you’re done cleaning. Don’t try and do both at the same time. Trust me, you will be much more efficient and get the job done faster this way!

Alrighty, now the actual house cleaning procedure! Note that this is based on my bi-weekly cleaning, so it will be a little more thorough than the regular, daily clean up.

The first area I like to clean is the kitchen.

First on our Cleaning House Checklist is the kitchen. I start by getting all the dishes cleaned. Unfortunately, right now we don’t have a dishwasher, so we have to get it done by hand. Once this task is done, I tackle the stove as it’s usually the dirtiest.

Most surfaces in the kitchen can be cleaned with a reusable cloth and some hot soap and water. To give it a nice shine and not leave any residue or watermarks, I follow up with wiping everything down with a paper towel.

Once, the stove is done, I make sure to wipe down the hood fan, wall beside the oven, and the knobs and front of the oven. As this usually gets grease on it, I use a spray that has degreasing power.

When cleaning the stove, make sure to clean the wall behind the cooking range, clean the hood, and wipe down the front.

I leave my Instant Pot, Keurig coffee maker, microwave and toaster out on the counter. These usually accumulate dust and splatters so I make sure to wipe these down. Most surfaces can be cleaned with a reusable cloth and some hot soap and water. To give it a nice shine and not leave any residue or watermarks, I follow up with wiping everything down with a paper towel.

Next, I wipe down the microwave, inside and outside. The fridge handles usually gets pretty grimy so those get a wipe down as well. I leave the inside of the fridge for another time when I can just focus on that task. Usually, I prefer to do it when our groceries are low so that there is less food to move out of the fridge. We have to work smart, not hard!

 Next, wipe down the cupboards and handles. Not everything, but spot clean where there may have been explosions or grimy hands. Doing this regularly keeps your kitchen looking and feeling clean and new longer. If you leave this step for Spring cleaning, for example, you’ll have to put a whole lot more muscle into getting those stains off.

Finally, wipe down the counters and sinks. If there is any buildup in the sink use a product like Vim to gently scrub it away. I like to use a brush to get it looking extra shiny. Make sure to get the areas around the tap, as there is usually some yucky buildup around it. Finish by wiping everything with a paper towel to get it extra sparkling.

To finish the room, vacuum the floors and mop. Now, washing the floors, I usually leave until the very end, where I do the vacuuming and mopping floor by floor. 

Next area on our checklist to clean are the bathrooms

Mostly, I like to just get this area done with. Let’s face it, it’s gross and no one likes doing it. So let’s tackle it and get it over with.

After dusting the bathroom, I recommend cleaning the toilet.

I approach every bathroom the same way. If you have a fan, use Swiffer duster to get the dust out of there. Dust the baseboards and light fixtures as well. I recommend even dusting the outside of the toilet bowl. The more often you do this, the better. Otherwise, the dust will keep collecting and with each shower, and then it will start to harden.

IMPORTANT NOTE: after dusting the bathroom, make sure you throw out the dusting fluffy. You could dust multiple rooms with just one of the refills, but as soon as you’ve cleaned the bathroom, make sure to switch it out.

Once dusting is done, the first item to clean on our checklist is the toilet. I squirt in the toilet bowl cleaner and let that sit. Then I use a special bathroom cleaner which gently scrubs – spray that all over the toilet: over and under the seat, around the water tank, the handle, and the bottom of the toilet. Once it’s all sprayed, then I start wiping everything down, working from the top to bottom. To get the fastest and best clean, I use paper towels. They don’t leave any extra water traces and they pick up all the dirt and cleaner pretty efficiently. Plus I don’t have to deal with cleaning the dirty cloths. 

Once the toilet has been wiped down on the outside, I use a toilet brush to clean the inside of the bowl. Flush once and swish everything again to make sure that there isn’t anything left over.

Next, move on to the shower/ bath. I like to use Scrubbing Bubbles spray, the same one I use for the toilet. The less amount of different products you use, the easier it will be to get yourself organized! Now, I like to wet everything first, then apply the product, and then wipe it down with a reusable cloth. To get the shower cleaned faster and to get a more powerful scrub, use the cloth that is already wet. If you use paper towels here you’ll end up using tons of them and spend more time trying to get all the dirt. Once everything has been scrubbed down, rinse it again to get rid of the chemicals. If you don’t have a shower head that moves, then simply rinse the reusable cloth and wipe everything down again. For a sparkling finish, wipe the handles and tap using a paper towel.

Finally, the sink. If you have a high mirror that doesn’t go all the way down to the counter, then first wash the mirror. I like to use Windex and paper towel for this. If your mirror goes all the way down, first tackle the sink and counter, using the Scrubbing Bubbles or Windex. I like to start with the reusable cloth to get a good scrub, then finish with a paper towel for the streak-free shine.

Ta-da, all done with the bathroom! Now, just repeat with the other bathrooms. As I said, the floors could be left until the very end where you will do it all together.

The cleaning finale, dusting, and floors.

Now that you are done cleaning the tough areas in the house, it’s time for the easy but time-consuming tasks: dusting all the surfaces and washing the floors. Settle in, take it room by room, and maybe listen to some music or a podcast.

I like to use my Swiffer Duster and start from the top and work my way down. Get any picture frames, light fixtures, shelves, windows, furniture, and baseboards. For wood furniture, I like to use a spray polish that moisturizes and cleans the wood. You just spray and wipe with a reusable cloth. 

Use a Swiffer duster to clean all of the dust, including dust that collects on the baseboards and windows and mirrors. You could avoid washing mirrors by just dusting them, as long as they don't have any marks.

Why and what should I dust?

If there are any mirrors or windows that have smudges, wipe those down with Windex and paper towel. If there are no smudges but it’s dusty, simply use the duster. It works wonders!

Repeat this in every room 🙂 Told you this was the easy part!

Now, take out your vacuum cleaner and vacuum ALL floors – carpets, hardwood, tiles, etc. Usually, a vacuum will have a different nozzle carpet vs. all other floors, so make sure you use the right one. While it’s ok to use the carpet setting on hardwood floors, it does make a lot more noise!

Once you’re done the vacuuming, go back to all of the areas that need to be washed. Take a look at my article here about how to wash hardwood floors, or any floors really.

Now you’re done. Great job! Make sure you stretch out, put your cleaning supplies away, and grab a well-deserved treat and take a break.

To make it easier for you the next time you clean your house, I have compiled an easy-to-follow house cleaning checklist. If you’re signed up for the resource library, you could access it there, or sign up for the download below.

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