Homes go through a lot of wear and tear throughout the years, and every now and then, they need a thorough deep cleaning. This is especially in order if you’re in the home-selling process, before taking professional photos for your home’s listing, as you prepare for its closeup at an open house, or when you’re getting ready to handover the keys.
Deep cleaning your home goes beyond the daily maintenance of washing dishes, sweeping the floor and dusting the bookshelf. With deep cleaning you’re diving in, scrubbing every nook and cranny of your home, including the spaces that are often neglected during your routine clean up.
For some homeowners it’s an annual Spring cleaning ritual, while for others it’s done on special occasions. Either way, deep cleaning gives your home a little TLC that leaves it gleaming and looking brand new by the end of the process.
Cue up your favorite playlist, get your cleaning equipment ready, and change into some comfy clothes; here’s our room-by-room guide for deep cleaning every inch of your home.
Prepare for Action
Before you roll up your sleeves and don your rubber gloves, it’s wise to get a game plan in order. For starters, decide on how you want to tackle your home’s deep clean. It might feel like a big undertaking but if you break the chores down room-by-room and task-by-task, it’ll be much easier.
You could deep clean two rooms in your home each weekend or tackle a room every day until the entire house sparkles. Have extra hands to help? That’s even better – you can task your kids with washing windows and window frames or getting all your linens into the washer and dryer.
It’s worth considering what needs to be cleaned first and last. You wouldn’t want to mop all of your floors only to declutter cupboards and under the sink, making a mess in the room afterwards. Your best bet is to start from the top and work your way down in each room, saving sweeping, mopping and vacuuming for last.
Once you’ve mapped out your deep cleaning strategy – and assigned your chores – take stock of your cleaning inventory. Make sure you’re armed with what you need to tidy each room. They’ll likely include a cleaning caddy with gloves, multipurpose cleaner, window and glass cleaner, baking soda, liquid soap, microfiber dust cloths, sponges, wood polish, and a bucket of warm water. Don’t forget your broom, mop, vacuum cleaner and some garbage bags. The last thing you need is to interrupt your deep cleaning rhythm by stopping to run to the store for supplies.
Tips for a Sanitized Bathroom
In a busy household, bathrooms can get pretty dirty, especially around doorknobs, taps and around the ring in your sink and tub. A thorough cleaning not only makes your bathroom look better it disinfects one of the germiest places in your home.
Declutter Your Medicine Cabinet and Drawers
To get started in your bathroom, declutter the areas around your sink, bathtub and toilet before open house. You’ll want a pristine bathroom that looks move-in ready. Remove everything so you can wipe the bottoms of cabinets and drawers. Next, ensure all toiletries and personal care products are neatly organized and stowed away.
Sanitize Your Bathtub, Sink and Toilet:
With the bathroom cleared, it’s time to zero in on sanitizing your bathroom fixtures. Spray your bathtub and sink with a multi-purpose cleaner that specifically targets limescale, giving it a few minutes to sink in and break up any build-up. This will make a huge difference when it’s time to scrub these spaces; your bathtub and sink can accumulate soap scum, mineral deposit and body oil over time.
Pay attention to what your fixtures are made of, as granite, copper, porcelain and ceramic sinks all require different care.
With a durable scrubbing sponge, scrub your sink and bathtub thoroughly. Don’t forget to scrub the faucet, drain and handles. You may need to spot treat certain areas with a cleaning paste of baking soda, vinegar and hot water. When you’re finished, rinse the areas with soap and hot water, then wipe all fixtures with a dry cloth. By now, they should be gleaming. Throw out old shower curtains and bathmats that need replacing – they may look out of place in your sparkly clean bathroom.
Next, shift your focus to your toilet, cleaning it as you normally would with a toilet cleaner product and a toilet brush. Scrub around the bowl and down the base of the toilet.
Disinfect and Clean All Mirrors and Surfaces:
Don’t forget to use a glass surface cleaner for your mirrors and shower screen, while you disinfect your toilet seat, light switches, door handles and doorknobs. Clean out any gunk in the corners of mirrors and in between edges with a wet towel dipped in vinegar. It’s the details that make a difference!
Clean Bathroom Tiles and Floors:
Finally, your tiled floors and walls need some love. Use products like CLR, Clorox or Lysol, along with an old toothbrush or a bristled cleaning brush to help you scrub in between your tiles. That baking soda and vinegar concoction works well to lift stubborn stains; just let the mixture sit on those stains for five to 10 minutes, then remove with a sponge soaked in warm water. Finish the job by mopping your floor to give it another rinse.
Tips for a Spotless Kitchen
With your bathrooms fully sanitized, it’s time to shift your focus to the kitchen, which is often every household’s focal point. Deep cleaning your kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but here are the key areas to tackle.
Declutter Your Fridge and Defrost Your Freezer:
Now is the time for an overhaul of all your kitchen staples and ingredients. Empty your fridge, freezer and pantry so you can remove any crumbs and food debris along all of these shelves.
Use a mixture of soap and hot water and gently scrub the inside of these spaces. Remove and cleanse fridge and freezer shelves, also. Start from the top and work your way down because it’s going to get messy!
Now that you have a fridge, freezer and pantry thoroughly cleaned and emptied, decide on what to put back in. Throw away anything that’s expired or not of use to the household. If you’re moving out or preparing for an open house, it’s good to pack up as much as you can. You want to stage your home so it shouldn’t look too lived in.
Wipe Down Cabinets:
You’ll need tidy and organized cabinets to match your decluttered fridge and pantry. Take stock of all of your plates and cutlery and donate any items you no longer need. Some households can end up with too many mugs or mismatched dishware – this is your opportunity to declutter your cupboards.
With your cabinets emptied out, gently remove any dust and dirt inside, on the walls and on your cabinet doors with a damp sponge or cloth. Avoid using a soaking wet sponge because some cabinets may swell from excess moisture. Dry the areas with a paper towel.
Scrub Your Appliances:
Your microwave, stovetop and oven – they are probably covered in roast chicken drippings, dried up pasta sauce and residue from frying up some tasty meals. Using your go-to cleaning products, or a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and warm water, scrub the surfaces and interiors of these appliances. You’d be surprised at how much grease and grime you’ll find on your cleaning cloth!
Appliances like your dishwasher, microwave and oven, may come with a self-cleaning or steam-cleaning feature. These can be lifesavers, doing the heavy lifting for you so you can simply wipe away any leftover stains. If your appliances do not have these features, and you have stubborn stuck-on food that won’t let up, use a product like Easy Off to loosen the grime.
Our top tip? Mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a cup of hot water and place the liquid into the microwave for five minutes. The vapor from the boiling mixture will make it easy to wipe away stuck-on food debris. For your oven, a mixture of dish soap and fresh-squeezed lemon can cut through layers of grease, too.
Disinfect and Degrease Your Sink, Backsplash, and Other Surfaces:
Ideally, you’re wiping down your sink, countertops and backsplash after cooking, but during a deep clean, you can do a more in-depth cleanse, paying particular attention to any corners and missed spots.
You can even use bleach to thoroughly disinfect your sink. It may be worthwhile, especially if you handle raw meat in this space. A cleaning solution with bleach will eliminate any lurking bacteria.
Rely on disinfecting wipes, too; they’ll help lift the dirt from your stovetop, countertop and sink, while killing any bacteria on surfaces, handles and taps.
Don’t forget those hard to reach and often overlooked spots, such as on top of your fridge, under your toaster and microwave, and your range hood. The windows of your microwave and oven also collect a fair amount of grease that should be wiped away with soap and warm water.
Sweep and Mop:
Whether it’s the damage from your deep clean or the day-to-day running around the kitchen, the floor needs a well-deserved polish. Sweep up the dirt, dust and debris, then with a bucket full of soapy warm water, mop the floor, removing every last crumb.
Tips for an Organized Bedroom
With your bathroom and kitchen conquered, your bedrooms shouldn’t be as arduous to deep clean, especially if you’ve already done a lot of decluttering of clothes, books and other personal belongings. Now the dust bunnies have nowhere to hide!
To lessen the load, divide and conquer by putting each family member in charge of deep cleaning their bedroom.
Organize Your Closet, Drawers and Nightstand:
Whether you need to swap out your seasonal clothes, or empty out your nightstand that has collected random receipts or phone chargers, purge your personal space of items you no longer need. Make a pile for donations to drop off clothes, accessories, books and other gently used items. Make sure everything you keep has a designated spot in your room.
Wash all your linens:
Strip your bed of its sheets, pillows, duvets and bed skirts, tossing everything into the washing machine and dryer so they’re fresh, soft and clean. Flip your mattress and fluff your pillows before putting your clean linens back on your bed.
Clean All Your Furniture:
Your weekly cleaning likely doesn’t include checking under your bed, behind furniture, or along your bedpost and headboard. During your bedroom’s deep clean, using a microfibre cleaning cloth, wipe down all your furniture, along your bedframe, on your dresser and inside the drawers, and disinfect handles, knobs and switches.
You’ll be surprised to see just how much dust collects on these surfaces! Using a glass cleaner, wipe down your mirrors and picture frames that decorate your bedroom.
Vacuum, Sweep or Mop Underneath and Behind Furniture:
Using various attachments on your vacuum cleaner or duster, get into hard to reach spots in your bedroom. If you are able, move furniture out of its place to vacuum in these overlooked spots.
Tips for Tidying Common Areas
Your living room may be where your kids gather to watch TV or play video games. With just a few steps, you should have it in great shape.
Polish Wood Furniture:
Your common areas may house bookcases, coffee tables and wooden chairs, which could all do with a bit of wood polish to buff out scratches and wear and tear. Use a wood cleaner and a dust cloth and gently work on smoothing out your furniture until it looks as good as new.
Your family’s TV remotes may be some of the dirtiest things in the home, so remember to disinfect those and any other electronics to get rid of lingering germs. This applies to your laptop and computer keyboard, too. You can also use a microfibre cloth or a feather duster to clean your TV and other screens throughout the home.
Clean Your Couch:
A fun chore you can give your kids is to clean the couch, making sure to look underneath the cushions and behind the couch. They may be in for a treasure trove of surprises, from coins that may have fallen out of pockets to an old gumball stuck to the seat. Get pillowcases and throw blankets into the washing machine, and use the vacuum to hoover up all of the dirt, lint and dog hair all around the sofa.
Tips for Deep Cleaning the Rest of Your Home
With the most frequented spots in your home tidied up and cleaned, now shift your efforts to the remainder of your house.
Clean Walls, Baseboards and Doorframes:
With a bucket filled with warm water and dishwashing liquid in hand, gently wash all of the walls, including baseboards and doorframes. You’re bound to find scuffs throughout the home too, especially in the entryway and hallway. You can use a Magic Eraser to help remove these marks.
Pay attention to the corners of each room, where dust and dirt can easily collect. With a pack of disinfecting wipes, wipe down light switches, door handles and railings throughout the house.
Other overlooked spots that need dusting are the tops of your light fixtures, as well as ceiling fans.
Wash Windows, Window Frames and Windowsills:
Spray your windows – indoors and outdoors – with a glass cleaner like Windex and wipe away any dirt, cloudiness and smudges. Professional cleaners also wipe windows with hot water and vinegar. Tip: vinegar helps windows shine. Your windows frames and windowsills can accumulate a lot of dust and debris so don’t forget those.
Deep Clean Carpets, Rugs, and Curtains:
If you have rugs and mats throughout the home, take them outside and shake them. You can even vacuum them before taking them back inside.
New carpets should be cleaned professionally every year to keep them in good shape, but you can make this a DIY project by renting a deep cleaning vacuum and shampooer. If you have hardwood or marble floors throughout the home, stick to mopping.
Your curtains and drapes can collect a fair amount of dust – you can launder them, vacuum them gently, or take them outside for a hearty shakeout. If you have blinds, use a wet dish cloth and carefully wipe them down.
Make Repairs and Spruce Up the Home:
During your deep clean, you may come across chipping paint, uneven chair legs or a rip in your couch cushion. Take note of everything that needs to be repaired and break out your toolbox to make these fixes.
If you’re deep cleaning to sell your home, you may want to consider a new coat of paint or other minor renovations, like updating your kitchen cabinets. Make a list of your ideas and consider what’s feasible for your budget.
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.