Housekeeping Tips

Follow these simple steps to keep your household neat, clean, and enjoyable to live in!

Tidying Up — as you go, throughout your day

Pick up after yourself and encourage the other members of your household to pitch in and help.

  • Start by putting any used pans and dishes in the sink with hot water and detergent to soak. Clear counters and put food away.
  • Next make the beds, pick up clothes and put them where they belong or into a laundry basket, and put papers and trash into a trash bag you carry with you.
  • Pick up in the living room. Put toys in their place. Take a feather duster to the coffee tables, and use a carpet sweeper or vacuum to hit the middle of the floor. Rearrange pillows and straighten rugs.
  • Go back and do the dishes.

Cleaning Room-by-Room — weekly, or at least every other week

Weekly cleaning is more thorough. You attack everything: smudges on the refrigerator, handprints on the walls, cobwebs, dirty floors, cloudy mirrors and windows, lint and dirt on the carpet, the bathtub with a ring around its sides, the toilet not looking its best, etc. Change the beds, dust, and clean under the beds.

  • Use a strategy: bathrooms and kitchens could be done on one day, and the rest of the house on another day.
  • Clean each room systematically – you’re on a mission.
  • Always start cleaning high areas and spots first, and work your way down.
  • Use a vacuum extension to clean cobwebs lift them off with a rag using an upward motion—downward motions tend to splatter them against the walls.
  • Wipe mini-blinds with a damp fabric softener sheet to eliminate static that collects dust.
  • Use a blow dryer on hard-to-clean pleated lampshades.
  • Pet hair will come off your furniture easily with a roller lint brush.
  • Make your own furniture polish by mixing one teaspoon lemon oil with two cups mineral oil.
  • Remove water rings on wood furniture by rubbing petroleum jelly thoroughly into the spot.

Deep Cleaning — at least once a year, but ideally twice a year

This is when you really roll up your sleeves. This work is the most thorough and may take a few days, so plan your home in sections.

  • Clean fixtures, fan blades, exhaust fans, furnace vents, stove, baseboards, and cobwebs all around the house and in every corner.
  • Check for mold and mildew in the bathroom, and clean the entire shower stall.
  • Wash walls and cupboards. Wash windows and window frames.
  • Sort clothing as you put things away and hang things up. Make a garage sale pile or a giveaway pile for clothes that no longer fit or you no longer want.
  • Clean carpets.

Ten Steps to a Clean Kitchen

  1. Gather the supplies you need: trash container, recycling bins, basket or bag for things that don’t belong in the kitchen, dish soap, disinfectant and other cleaners you normally use, dishrag or sponge, scrubber for stuck-on food, broom and dustpan, mop or old large towel.
  2. Fill up a sink with hot, soapy water. (If you have a double sink with a garbage disposal on one side, make sure to use the side without the disposal. Keeping the disposal side available will allow you to scrape leftovers down it quickly while you work.) Scrape the food off the dishes into the trash or into the garbage disposal, and place dishes that need to soak in the hot, soapy water. Put the most heavily soiled dishes on the bottom. Large dishes like pans and bowls can be filled with hot soapy water to soak.
  3. Put away ingredients and kitchen supplies into cupboards or the refrigerator. Dispose of old leftovers from the refrigerator, and wipe up any spills inside the refrigerator.  Slide your refrigerator out from time to time, and sweep behind it.
  4. Clear and clean the stove top, and wipe down the front of the stove. If necessary, clean the oven by scraping any burned food out onto a piece of newspaper. Then put a small glass bowl with 1⁄2 cup full-strength ammonia in the oven overnight, and wipe the oven out the next day.
  5. Clear counters and wipe them down with disinfectant. Move the appliances that are on the counter and wipe under them, then line them up neatly again.
  6. Wash and put away dishes.
  7. Scrub the sink and wipe down faucets. (Hint: to remove rust stains from sinks and tubs, pour a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on the stain and sprinkle with cream of tartar. Let sit for half and hour, then wipe off and rinse well.)
  8. Pick up trash, and empty the wastebasket into a trash bag for removal. Separate bottles, cans, and containers into recycling bins.
  9. Pick up all items that belong in other rooms and place them in a bag or box.
  10. Sweep up and mop.

Ten Steps to a Clean Bathroom

  1. Gather the supplies you’ll need: glass cleaner and rag, toilet brush and toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectant, broom and mop, clothes hamper, trash container.
  2. Pick up all the dirty clothes and put them in a hamper or laundry bag.
  3. Pick up trash, and empty the wastebasket into a trash bag for removal.
  4. Pick up all the items belonging in other rooms and place them in a bag or box.
  5. Scrub the sink and wipe down faucets and countertops.
  6. Scrub out the toilet with toilet cleaner and a brush. Pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet and toss in a handful of baking soda to soak about 10 minutes, then swish with the toilet brush.
  7. Spray and wipe down the outside of the toilet, including the seat.
  8. Wipe down the mirror, using glass cleaner or vinegar with water.
  9. Scrub the tub ring or wipe down the shower stall. Spray the shower floor with disinfectant and spray the shower curtains with cleaning solution, then wipe clean.
  10. Sweep and mop the floor.

Additional Bathroom Cleaning Tips

  • You can cut down how often you need to clean by having a house rule that the last person to shower or bathe wipes down the walls and rinses off the bathtub ring.
  • Drop a denture-cleaning tablet into the toilet for a fast cleanup.
  • Wipe bathroom fixtures with a little rubbing alcohol for a quick shine.
  • Safely and easily unclog a hair-filled drain without harmful chemicals. Make a solution of equal parts of vinegar, salt, and baking soda. Pour it down the clogged drain, let it foam for 15 minutes, then flush with boiling water.
  • To keep mirrors clean, dampen a soft rag with rubbing alcohol and wipe over the entire surface.
  • Keep tile and fiberglass shower walls clean. After washing them well, apply a thin coat of car wax and buff well. This will prevent most soap buildup, and the little that does build up will wipe off easily.