While it's not every day you run into someone who genuinely takes joy in the process of cleaning, you have to acknowledge and appreciate the comforts of a clean living space. The shining floors, the crisp sheets, the knowledge that nothing creepy or crawly is residing in the cupboard under the stairs... yes, there's something truly special about a clean home.
But what exactly makes a clean home clean? It isn't just elbow grease and an army of cleaning supplies — it's also knowing exactly what to clean and when. In an effort to keep your efforts at a reasonable level, here's the lowdown on exactly how often you need to clean everything in your house.
Weekly Cleaning Tasks
- Sheets: While it may seem obnoxious to wash your sheets weekly, especially if your household includes more than one bed, the verdict is in – and a weekly wash is definitely best practice. Plus, consider how nice it is to climb into bed and curl up in dryer-fresh sheets. Sleepy, anyone?
- Towels: Believe it or not, bath and hand towels should actually be swapped out more than once a week — ideally after three or so uses. You'll be able to assess this situation yourself based on how frequently you shower and how quickly your towels dry in between uses (it's possible that towels living in drier climates can sneak in an extra shower before they get dumped in the laundry basket).
- Floors: If you can see dust accumulating on your floor, it's time for a sweep, mop, or vacuum. And if you can't see it, it's safe to assume your floors need attention once a week anyway.
- Sinks: From toothpaste buildup to stacks of dishes (or are those just at my home?), your sinks could use more than just a cursory glance on a weekly basis. Bust out the multi-purpose cleaner and give the sinks a quick wipe down instead.
- Toilets: Scrubbing toilets is no one's favorite project, but it's a necessary evil. By tackling your commode on a weekly basis, you'll do some major disinfecting on one of the most bacteria-prone parts of your home. Here's how to really clean the toilet right.
- Toothbrush: Random? Maybe. But also essential. While you should completely replace your toothbrush every few months, soaking it in antibacterial mouthwash, or boiling it for several minutes, will help keep germs at bay.
Monthly Cleaning Tasks
- Windows: A major indoor and outdoor window cleaning endeavor may be a better option for the once-a-year approach, but a quick clean of the inside of your windows? Definitely a monthly project.
- Showers and Tubs: Monthly shower or tub cleaning isn't necessarily essential, but this is a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth it. Grab your favorite tub or tile cleaner and use a soft scrub brush to keep the situation, and your grout, under control.
- Cleaning Supplies: The lifespan of most cleaning supplies ranges from about a month (sponges) to closer to a year (brooms and brushes), but because these items are a key part of your cleaning approach, check in on them monthly to make sure they're fit for duty.
- Shelves: Are you a wiper or a duster? Either way, shelves and surfaces are best served by a monthly tune-up.
- Baseboard: I'll admit it, my baseboards don't get a lot of attention. But when I do remember them, I'm amazed at how much of a difference spick and span baseboards make. To keep them looking extra sleek, wipe them down once a month.
- Blinds: It's easy to forget about your blinds when you have things like toilets and towels making regular demands on your life. A quick monthly dusting will keep these essentials in good standing. (If you don't know the tongs trick for dusting blinds yet, Today's your lucky day.)
Seasonal Cleaning Tasks
- Refrigerator: While you'll want to go through the fridge weekly to stay on top of your edibles, it's a good idea to give your refrigerator some extra attention every few months. Wipe down shelves, make sure your condiments aren't expired, and take some time to reorganize as necessary.
- Fixtures: From lamps to chandeliers and ceiling fans, your fixtures need a little love, too. Make sure to dust them at least once every three to four months to keep cobwebs and dust at bay.
- Oven: It's really easy to keep a dirty oven hidden away behind closed doors. But this kitchen staple requires regular cleaning, and should be tackled at least once every three to six months – or more frequently if necessary.
- Filters: Swapping out your furnace filter every few months is a must, and the same goes for air conditioning filters. Consider more frequent filter replacement if you suffer from allergies, or have pets.
- Mattresses: To keep dust, mites and allergens at bay, a bi-annual (and preferably seasonal) mattress cleaning is practically required. Here's your complete mattress cleaning guide for vacuuming, deodorizing and airing out your favorite sleeping surface.
Annual Cleaning Tasks
- Carpets: Here's the lowdown on carpet: You'll want to vacuum it regularly when you do your floors, and fully replace it every five to 15 years. But in the meantime, schedule an annual deep shampoo to keep your carpets in tip-top shape (and free of dirt and germs, of course).
- Upholstery: Regular cleaning of your furniture is one way to keep it looking fantastic, and is also essential for hygienic reasons. You can get your upholstery professionally cleaned, or tackle it on your own with a vacuum and an eye on its specific cleaning instructions, too.
- Duvets: You may already wash your duvet cover regularly, but do you wash your duvet along with it? Fortunately (especially for those of us without extra-large washers and dryers), you only have to worry about this particular home good on a yearly basis. Here are a few tips for the undertaking.
- Pillows: While you'll need to confirm that your pillows actually can be machine washed, these bedtime essentials are another item to add to your annual – or possibly bi-annual – cleaning list.
- Area Rugs: Area rugs generally require the same amount of upkeep as your carpets. This means regular vacuuming, but an additional yearly deep clean to keep them looking their absolute best. Don't forget to rotate them 180 degrees at least once a year to help evenly distribute wear and tear!