How to Clean Your House in 10 Stress-Free Steps

Updated September 23, 2021
Father and daughter cleaning kitchen

Everyone loves the feeling of having a fresh, clean house. Not everyone loves actually cleaning it, however. Not to worry; with a bit of planning and prioritizing, you can get through your chores quickly and spend the rest of your day enjoying your home.

1. Grab Your Cleaning Jams

Like many things in life, your overall housecleaning experience can be improved by setting the mood with music. Your favorite tunes can make cleaning a bit more fun. Pick some music that gets you pumped up and motivated and turn it up. If you're doing the cleaning as a family, pop your favorite playlist on Alexa. If you are doing a solo house clean, then throw in some earbuds and get jamming. Think of it as the ultimate workout!

Woman at home wearing headphones hoovering the floor

2. Gather Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning caddies are a must when it comes to cleaning your house from top to bottom. They just make your life easier. If you don't have one, use a basket or tub. Throw all the cleaning supplies you will need for every room in your home in the caddy. It can move with you through the house. When you are trying to clean your house in minimal time, this is a lifesaver.

If you are a proponent of green cleaning like mom, entrepreneur, and author of The Accidental Housewife, Julie Edelman, you can use some items you already have around your house. Julie states, "I'm a big proponent of using everyday products that you already have, such as white vinegar - which can kill 90 percent of bacteria and more than 80 percent of mold and mildew. Therefore, I keep a spray bottle with a 3:1 water to vinegar mix in my shower and under my kitchen sink." If you choose to go greener with items like white vinegar, baking soda, and peroxide, you can lighten your cleaning cart since these can be used in multiple rooms.

3. Create an Importance List

When you are cleaning your whole house, some rooms are more important than others. So, you want to make sure you clean those rooms while your energy is high. These might include your kitchen, bathroom, living room, and closets. Or maybe your master bedroom is on the list. Whatever the case, writing down or creating a mental list of the most essential rooms ensures they get done.

When it comes to cleaning the whole house at once, you don't want to do one room at a time. Instead, it's more time effective to do one chore at a time. Therefore, you're going to declutter everything in the home before moving on to the tub and toilet. While you need to follow a few house cleaning basics for each room, don't get too consumed with one room. Julie says it best, "What it means is (to) do just enough cleaning, and not stress over doing a complete floor to ceiling cleaning, which will help maintain your home, sanity, and manicure!"

4. Clear and Organize the Clutter

You've made your list, checked it twice, have your music pumping, and your cleaning gear at the ready. It's time to start. First up! Declutter all the rooms in your house.

Go room to room and put everything away. For example, you might organize and put the toys away in the kid's room, organize the stuff on the kitchen counters, grab dishes and put them in the sink, get everything off the floor, clean off tables, and so on. You just want to go around your house and get everything tidy. You'll be amazed at the difference a little organization makes.

Mother and kids cleaning house

5. Dust From the Top Down

You probably noticed as you were clearing away all that clutter that some dust has accumulated. That's why dusting comes next on the list. When dusting, start from the top and move down from left to right in your home. Starting from the top-down makes sure all the dust accumulates on the floor, to be swept up at the end of your house cleaning journey.

6. Clean and Disinfect Bathroom and Kitchen Surfaces

When it comes to scrubbing, it's best to get the bathroom and kitchen type work out of the way early. Why? Because they are typically your least favorite chores. Doing them first gets them out of the way, so you can move on to less disgusting waters.

Julie says, "(C)leaning the family throne - mine looks like a paint ball target, and if I could leave it, I would, but being the numero uno toxic zone in my home, that's not a reality. That's why I put on my fashionable and functional pink and polka dot gloves, drop two effervescent tablets into the bowl to fizz and remove poop and whiz at arm's length, and follow with a swipe and wipe with my fave disposable toilet bowl brush!" If you have kids, you definitely understand.

Go through and clean all the tubs, toilets, and sinks in your home. Avoid the temptation to do more. That comes later.

Cleaning bathroom tub

7. Disinfect the Surfaces and Appliances

It's time to move on to disinfecting tables, end tables, stoves, refrigerators, and other surfaces in your home. You might choose to go green and use a bit of hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar to wipe everything down, or you can use some disinfecting wipes. Julie notes that when it comes to "store-bought wonders, I love disinfecting wipes and use them like tissues to clean my counters, switch plates, door handles and anything else in swiping range."

8. Get the Glass Gleaming

At this point, everything is starting to shine around your house. Don't let your windows and mirrors bring your whole cleaning vibe down. With your window/mirror cleaner at the ready, spray and scrub them from bottom to top.

9. Freshen Up Your Furniture

You are in the home stretch now! Pay some attention to your furniture, particularly the smell. Freshen it up if it's smelling a bit funky from teens or pets. This can include pulling off the cushions and vacuuming them all. You can also use a fabric refresher to get them smelling fresh. If you don't like the scents, wiping them down with a cloth and throwing the covers in the wash will get them smelling better.

Freshen Up Your Furniture

10. Vacuum and Mop All the Floors

You've pushed all the dirt from your ceilings and counters onto the floors. It's time to clean them up. The final step in house cleaning 101 is to sweep, vacuum, and mop your floors. Use the best method for each floor, and you are done.

Tips for Keeping Your House Clean

House cleaning can be challenging and time-consuming. Julie offers some expert tips to make things a bit easier.

Blend Housework and Routines

"For example, when I'm in the shower I keep that spray bottle with vinegar and water in arms reach so I can clean as I preen; I keep disinfecting wipes on my bathroom and kitchen counters so I can clean door handles, counters, switch plates and faucets while I'm yakking on the phone with my mom or BFF; and I put shaving cream on my mirrors as I'm shaving my legs to clean and keep them fog free."

Minimize Dirt and Moisture

"To minimize dirt and moisture, I have absorbent mats inside and outside all entranceways. I wax my furniture to keep dust at bay, and I use decorative decoys such as fresh flowers, photos, and scented candles to keep the focus off those not so cute dust bunnies when I have guests over!"

Don't Overdo It

"We all need to realize that we don't have to do it all. We're not all Martha, nor our mothers, nor our best friend, and how we approach what I lovingly call these 'chores that bore' is very individual. Know and believe that if dishes are left in the sink or the bed's left unmade one day, it's okay. We're doing the best we can, given who we are. Our best is good enough so long as our families are healthy and we can find it in ourselves to smile."

boys having fun with their father at home

How to Clean Your House

When it comes to cleaning your house, everyone has a routine. However, if you are trying to shave a bit of time on your cleaning routine, give these steps a try. You'll be amazed at how fast cleaning goes.

How to Clean Your House in 10 Stress-Free Steps