A deep house cleaning doesn't have to be an overwhelming, impossible task. Use these tips to tackle each room quickly and effectively.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated July 15, 2020
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Even the tidiest homes can use a good deep cleaning from time to time. To avoid becoming overwhelmed when deep cleaning a house, it's helpful to break the process down into smaller, more manageable tasks. With our deep house-cleaning guide, you'll start with six basic tasks. Once you've completed those, you can move on to tackling a few room-specific chores. This whole-home cleaning checklist comes in handy before you host company or when daily clutter and messes have started to pile up. You can also follow these steps as part of your annual cleaning regimen in the spring or fall. Soon you'll have a clean and tidy home that can pass a white-glove inspection.

Credit: David Tsay

How to Deep Clean Your House

As you go through each room in your home, begin with these deep cleaning tips to streamline the process.

1. Declutter Before Deep Cleaning

Find a new place for (or better yet, get rid of) any visible clutter that does not belong in the room. Save the stuff behind closed doors for another day to help simplify your deep cleaning checklist. Clearing clutter makes deep cleaning easier and seeing those tidy surfaces can help boost your motivation to keep going.

2. Start High, Go Low

Tackle large, hard-to-reach surfaces in this order: ceiling, ceiling trim, ceiling light fixtures (including bulbs), walls, the rest of the trim, and baseboards. The best tool for these surfaces is a clean microfiber mop ($12, The Home Depot) or a duster with a telescoping handle ($16, Bed Bath & Beyond). Bonus: These tools are typically thin enough to get behind the sofa without moving it. Above eye-level, a spritz of water is all you need on the mop. Surfaces closer to the floor tend to build up dirt and dust, so use warm water mixed with a drop of dish soap. In bathrooms, add a splash of white vinegar to the mixture to stop mold and mildew. For spots where using a mop is awkward or inconvenient, use a microfiber cloth ($3, Target). Rinse often and wring thoroughly.

3. Deep Clean Windows

Cleaning windows is fairly simple, and the payoff is huge. First, vacuum the sills and tracks. Then spritz the window with glass cleaner ($3, Target) from top to bottom. Let the cleaner do its thing for a minute, then squeegee it off. If you wipe in one direction on inside windows and another on outside ones, it will be easier to see and fix streaks.

4. Spruce Up Window Treatments

Save yourself the trouble of taking down blinds or shades. All you really need to do is vacuum them using the brush attachment. And instead of laundering and ironing curtains, just fluff them in the dryer for a few minutes (while you wipe off the rod and rings). Then hang them right back up.

5. Remove Dust from Surfaces

Wipe all remaining hard surfaces (wood furniture, shelves, built-ins, etc.) using furniture cleaner and polish ($6, The Home Depot) and a soft cloth. For an extra-quick clean, put a clean cotton tube sock on your dominant hand to dust surfaces, moving objects out of the way with the other hand. Finally, take a lint roller to the lampshades.

6. Deep Clean the Floors

To do this right, you'll have to move the furniture, even larger pieces like beds and sofas. To make moving heavy pieces easier, place furniture slides ($7, Target) under the legs of big pieces. Then break out your vacuum's crevice tool to get at the dirt in corners and along baseboards. If you have a hard floor, clean it with a microfiber mop and the appropriate cleaner for the surface. If you have carpet, now is a good time to rent a professional-grade cleaner. (And if you have pets and/or kids, think about investing in your own.)

Room-by-Room Deep Cleaning House Checklist

Follow these steps to deep clean every room in your home.

Credit: Erin Kunkel

How to Deep Clean Your Bedroom

  1. Launder Bedding: Wash the bed skirt, duvet cover, shams, and pillows, even down-filled items. Give them an extra spin cycle to make drying faster, and dry down pillows on low with clean tennis balls to prevent clumping. The best way to dry synthetic pillows is by air-drying them outdoors. For bulky comforters, hit the laundromat and use one of the extra-large front-loaders.
  2. Freshen Mattress: While your bed is disassembled, clean your mattress. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress, let it sit for an hour, then vacuum it up using the hose attachment. Flip or rotate the mattress per the manufacturer's advice and repeat the process.
  3. Declutter Closet: Pull out the clothes you didn't wear this past season and bag them for consigning or donating. Then treat your wardrobe to matching hangers. If your closet looks nice, you'll try harder to keep it under control.
Credit: Ray Kachatorian

How to Deep Clean the Kitchen

  1. Polish Cabinets: Wipe the exposed tops first, then cut newspaper or shelf liners ($10, Bed Bath & Beyond) to fit inside. The lining collects the dust, so next time all you'll have to do is replace the paper. Next, wipe the cabinet doors front and back with wood cleaner (for painted or laminate surfaces, use warm water with a squirt of dish soap). You can also try the tube sock trick here: Put one on each hand, spritz with cleaner, and wipe in circular motions.
  2. Deep Clean In and Around Appliances: Wait until the fridge is nearly empty, then wipe it down, inside and out. Do the same for the stove and dishwasher. If possible, pull appliances out from the wall to get at the surrounding walls and the floor.
  3. Tidy Countertops: Move everything off the counters, then clean and dry them thoroughly, along with the backsplash. Once the surfaces are dry, return only what you use daily. Find hidden spots for everything else.
  4. Bonus Deep Cleaning Task: Take everything off your pantry shelves and wipe them down. Consider using a large roasting pan as a crumb catcher while you clean. You can also rent an air compressor and blow the dust bunnies off your refrigerator coils to boost its efficiency.
Credit: Michael Partenio Productions

How to Deep Clean the Bathroom

  1. Wash Shower Curtain: Check the label first, but most shower curtains can be washed with the gentle cycle on cold. Set dryer on low and remove and rehang curtain before it's completely dry. Either wash the plastic shower liner on cold and hang it to dry, or purchase a new one ($3, Target).
  2. Make Shower Doors Sparkle: To get rid of water spots and soap scum, heat distilled white vinegar and wipe it on the doors, reapplying to keep them wet for 30 minutes. Then scrub with baking soda sprinkled on a non-scratch pad. To keep the shower cleaner longer, add a squeegee and switch to glycerin soap. (Animal fat and talc in regular soap leave that icky residue.)
  3. Declutter Vanity and Cabinets: Bring order to the chaos under the sink. Pull everything out, toss what doesn't belong there, wipe down what does, and reload it by category. Repeat for your medicine cabinet or any additional cabinetry.
Credit: Erin Kunkel

How to Deep Clean the Living Room and Family Room

  1. Freshen Furniture: Remove cushions and vacuum every upholstered surface, including the backs, with the brush attachment.
  2. Dust Frames: Take all framed artwork and photos down and dust them front and back using a damp microfiber cloth. Be careful not to spray anything directly on the glass. It could seep into the corners of the frame and potentially ruin the picture and mat.
  3. Dust Under Electronics: You don't need to unhook and move everything to clean around your electronics. Just use an ultra-thin dusting wand ($14, Bed Bath & Beyond) and run it under the components.
  4. Bonus Deep Cleaning Task: Launder all the throws and throw pillow covers. Also, take a good look at the DVDs, CDs, video games, and other media tucked behind closed doors. Is there anything you can get rid of, maybe even sell for a little cash?
Credit: Cameron Sadeghpour

Supplies Needed to Deep Clean Your Home

Deep cleaning your home requires a wide variety of tools and cleaners. We asked four of our favorite cleaning pros (professional organizer Aby Garvey, cleaning blogger Becky Rapinchuk, and cleaning experts Leslie Reichert and Mary Findley) for their must-have supplies for cleaning an entire home:

  • Baking soda in a shaker
  • Clean paintbrushes (for dusting delicate items)
  • Dish soap (liquid or powdered)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Gloves
  • Lint roller (for lampshades and upholstery)
  • Microfiber cloths (both multipurpose and glass-only)
  • Microfiber mop with covers for different types of floors
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges ($7, Target)
  • Multipurpose cleaner
  • Nylon non-scratch scrub pad ($2, Walmart)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Stiff-bristled, toothbrush-size brush (for shower door tracks, drains, etc.)
  • Streak-free window and glass cleaner
  • Telescoping duster with cobweb, ceiling fan, microfiber, and squeegee attachments, ($45, Bed Bath & Beyond)
  • Wood cleaner/conditioner

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