Cleaning

6 Deep-Cleaning Tips To Keep Your Home Spotless

The whole process is so much easier than you think.

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March 15, 2019
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So Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix really got to you. After binge-watching the entire season, you spent the first month of the year organizing your closets, cupboards, and drawers, and donating anything that didn’t spark joy. Now your home is decluttered, your clothes are neatly folded, and everything has a place. But alas, the work is not complete. Your next (and final) step is to get rid of dust, dirt, and potential allergens. I'm talking about a deep clean.

Deep cleaning is actually nowhere near as intense as the name makes it sound, especially once you break it down into manageable steps. If you can stay even vaguely organized and follow this step-by-step guide, the whole process is actually pretty painless. Here's a full rundown on how to make deep cleaning way easier—and how to conquer two particularly stressful chores without breaking a sweat.

Get organized with a checklist

Simple as it sounds, creating a checklist will make the whole process so much easier. If you’re a visual person like me, take a stroll through your home and jot down everything that could use a good clean. This will range from large appliances like your oven and refrigerator, to furnishings like your carpets, upholstered furniture, and countertops. Once you have that list, group everything together by task type. For example: laundry (cleaning your shower curtain, bath mat, and kitchen towels); wipe-downs (for cabinets, surfaces, and stovetops); scrubbing (toilets, sinks, and shower walls); and vacuuming (carpets, tiled floors, under the bed, and baseboards).

Make a schedule that works for you

Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s easy to slot them into your schedule—even if that means tackling just a couple of items per day. Because I live in a one-bedroom apartment, it’s easy to knock out an entire task group in one afternoon because the whole thing takes just an hour or two. If you have a bigger home, deep cleaning will probably take a bit longer, so you might want to split up the tasks by room or by floor over the span of a couple of weeks.

Assemble your cleaning kit

Having a checklist also makes it much easier to understand what you need to get the job done. A basic cleaning kit should include gloves, an all-purpose cleaner, a special cleaner for mirrors and glass, disinfectant (like a spray or wipes), furniture polish (if you have wooden furniture), microfiber cleaning cloths, sponges, paper towels, a mop, and a good vacuum with attachments—I find a dust brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool (which is great for hard-to-reach places like in between furniture, window tracks, or the lint vent in your washing machine) to be the most useful for deep cleaning.

Rent equipment for major cleaning projects

Local hardware stores, home improvement stores, and even some grocery stores rent out large cleaning appliances by the hour or day. You can rent a floor polisher, furniture steamer, or pressure washer for situations where elbow grease just won’t do the trick.

Clean upholstery by yourself (yes, you can!)

Think that cleaning your upholstered furniture is a task for the professionals? Think again—the process is super straightforward. Step one: Take any cushions off your furniture and use your vacuum's upholstery attachment to suck up crumbs, dust, and pet hair. Then check the tag on your furniture (or look it up on the internet) to see if there are any specific care instructions.

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Top Comment:
“If your deep cleaning is painless, you are any mix of: someone who is always cleaning, has no pets, has a small space, lives a minimalist life... As someone who cooks regularly and lives in a highrise with other ppl/pets, deep cleaning is a (necessary) evil. By the time all spots are DC, it's usually time to start over. Kitchen has a new layer of grime between steam/fur/air circulation. Bathroom is ready for grout cleaning and tile scrubbing. Corners, plants, fabrics, etc, are ready for more attention. ”
— M
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If the care tag says steam is okay, move on to step two: Use a professional steamer (a handheld clothing steamer also works) to kill bacteria and lift smells from the fabric. Steam an inconspicuous corner first to do a spot check (in case something weird happens), then simply hover your steamer about six inches from the fabric and eject steam as you move the tool over the furniture (move as if you were vacuuming). Once you’re done, let everything dry for at least one hour.

Don’t forget about the window treatments

Curtains and blinds can get very dusty, so it’s really in your best interest to clean them regularly (you don’t want to breathe in all that grime!). You can easily dust blinds using a tube sock, tongs with socks on the ends, or—the easiest—a vacuum with a dust brush attachment (you can also vacuum shades using this attachment). If your curtains are machine washable, wash them on a cold cycle, and lay them flat or hang them on a line to dry. And if the idea of taking down your curtains is just too much (I feel you), try vacuuming them with an upholstery attachment to get rid of dust, followed by a quick steam to lift bacteria.

Do you have any deep-cleaning tips? Share them in the comments below!

Looking for a vacuum that works well for all types of floors? Check out the Miele HomeCare Collection to find the vacuum that is best suited for your needs.

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Nina is a writer, editor, and enthusiastic home cook in New York City.

8 Comments

anna058 December 10, 2019
This is excellent information about cleaning. Thank you a lot for sharing this blog.
 
noreldine November 16, 2019
An amazing post on the deep cleaning of the house. I am based in Dubai, and I always use professional deep cleaning companies in Dubai to get my house top to bottom cleaning. Now I will try these tips and do it my own.
Keep up the good work and keep sharing :)
 
jordan March 26, 2019
I've read other places about using a tube sock and tongs for blinds. Does it really work? ?
Is there a certain cleaner I should be using with it? I'm ashamed to say my blinds have some dirt stains on them :(
 
Jorge B. March 16, 2019
I too am retired and do a monthly deep clean. You need to be somewhat organized to make it easier. We start with the 5 ceiling fans and work our way down to the floor. I liked your article because one can never get enough information. Keep up the good work and don't mind the negative people with negative comments. These people probably are the worst housekeepers.
 
Jenny March 16, 2019
Now I'm retired I try to do a deep clean in my house at least once a month, I've wooden floors as I think they're Bette to clean and I do have a steamer for the bathroom and kitchen and utility rooms. I find doing a deep clean rewarding sitting down in a lovely clean lounge rewarding getting into a clean bed and bedroom wonderful, my hubby thinks I'm crazy but I love having a beautiful clean home
 
Abi M. March 16, 2019
This was the most ignorant thing I have ever seen. Have you ever really cleaned a house? Please give advice on something you actually know about.
 
M March 15, 2019
If your deep cleaning is painless, you are any mix of: someone who is always cleaning, has no pets, has a small space, lives a minimalist life... As someone who cooks regularly and lives in a highrise with other ppl/pets, deep cleaning is a (necessary) evil. By the time all spots are DC, it's usually time to start over. Kitchen has a new layer of grime between steam/fur/air circulation. Bathroom is ready for grout cleaning and tile scrubbing. Corners, plants, fabrics, etc, are ready for more attention.
 
Liora August 4, 2019
I lived in a high rise (NYC), with pets, kids, worked 10-12 hour days, and REFUSED to work on the weekend. The issue is you have to get sick of your home being disorderly and have systems with basic procedures in place. Here's how I did it - hope it helps someone.
* Entryway - Get a basket/cabinet/shelf for all shoes at your front door. I got a shoe cabinet from Ikea and kept all shoes for the entire season there. NO outdoor SHOES IN THE HOUSE. A metal bowl on top received my keys as I walked in. Phone popped onto the docking station.
* Get a clothes sorter and teach your children to sort their clothes into the correct bin as they take their clothes off. You do the same. If you can't afford a sorter, then 3 different colors (whites/meds/darks).
‣ Pick a day when your neighbors do not do their laundry. Then go load all of your laundry at one time in all of the machines in a row. My habit was to be there when it opened. My neighbors would come down an hour after me and I'd be folding the final load or walking out. And ... don't tell your neighbors that you do it - they will show up taking machines!
* Bathrooms - Hooks and a squeegy in the tub/shower. When you leave the bathroom the towels should be hung, the shower swiped, shampoo/cond bottles back in the shower caddy, all meds and cosmetics should have a place and be back in their home. Ikea and Dollar Tree have small cabinets to hold all that stuff. I also keep Lysol/Clorox wipes under the sink so I can wipe down any drips. (deep cleansed every week 30min flat)
⚙︎ For grout ... go to a hardware store, get grout sealant, the pick a day for the bathroom. Clean the grout, then seal it.
* Bedroom - When you stand up out of your bed, make it. Don't walk off unless you're about to wet yourself. 😉 Make your bed, straighten the nightstand. My habit is to do that but every Friday morning when I stand up, I strip the bed, put on fresh sheets, and finish up. (Bedroom w/changing sheets 30 minutes - flat)
* Livingroom - all electronics on a powerstrip in a cabinet or on a shelving unit. If you have a monster TV, it should be the only component out. Everything in the cabinet should be on that powerstrip so that it stops the sipping of your electricity! I got my electric bill down to $40 for 10 months out of the year ... I put every "instant on" electronic on a powerstrip. All remotes should have a home. A box from Michael's works fine. Those Swiffer cloths or a microfiber dust cloth to hit all surfaces.
* Kitchen - if you have a dishwasher - load it all day, run it at night, empty it every morning. No dishes in the sink or on the counter. If it's too large for the dishwasher, wash it immediately and put it away.

When you leave a room it should be put in order unless you're hanging out in there. But once the TV is going off and you're headed to be, remotes up, powerstrip OFF, pillows straight, etc.

I was not born like this - I got tired of a dirty home, lost keys, dirt or melted snow on my floor (I bought a Waterhog rug for that), or spending HOURS cleaning on my days off because the mess grew to a small mountain! The final straw came when I got so sick from whomever, had to leave my dirty abode, walk across a dark parking lot in the dead of winter, with driving ice cold rain blasting me in the face, to the store to get meds, take the meds and lie down in a dirty home! I swore then that I would never do that again. I put systems in place and anyone who came there had to accept it or not come there. Shoes off - wash your hands and dry them with a paper towel so whatever germs go into the trash - not in ME! I haven't had so much as a cold in 12+ years let alone whatever that plague was that tried to kill me.

I work hard and I know one thing - no one cares about my mental/physical/emotional health, only whether they get work out of me. So, it's on ME to be firm, CONSISTENT, and highly intentional about what time I do have for myself and family. You have a right to a peaceful, orderly, clean home. Talk to your family and get their buy-in on systems and what to do with 48 free hours on the weekend. Make sure that your weekends are fun, restful, and if possible FREE. If you're thoughtful, creative, and consistent, you will have FIFTY-TWO mini vacations every year. No one will do it for you. Your boss does not care nor do your friends. Get it done. If you watch TV, are on social media, or on here, even, you have the time. Get. It. Done. We all get the same 24 hours. If you want to be brutal - start with Marie Kondo and then move on to Fly Lady (YouTube).