This Deep Cleaning Checklist Will Leave Your Home Gleaming

A step-by-step guide that will keep you on task.

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Spring has sprung, and many of us are stuck indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's a difficult time, but also an opportunity to take on some projects that you've been meaning to get to. You're probably more aware than ever about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of your home, considering that disinfecting can literally keep you and your family healthy. So why not go beyond your normal spring cleaning routine and give your house a top-to-bottom deep clean, really hitting those often-ignored spots? This deep cleaning checklist will keep you on task.

So pull out your buckets, bottles, rags, and brushes and get to work making your space the best and cleanest it can be. You'll feel a sense of pride and it'll also make being home more often that much more pleasant. For more deep cleaning tips, check out 11 Things You Can Deep Clean Yourself and How to Do It.

Materials you'll need for deep cleaning

Before you start, you want to make sure you have all the tools you'll need for deep cleaning on hand. When you have to traipse back to the kitchen every time you need a paper towel, it's easy to get sidetracked. So gather everything together first! Here's what you'll need:

  • Bucket
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Sponges
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Multipurpose cleaner spray
  • Cleaning powder (such as Comet or Bon Ami)
  • Duster
  • Dusting spray
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom with dustpan
  • Dish soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Window cleaner

A general guide to deep cleaning

No matter what room you're tackling, you can follow this step-by-step guide.

Step 1. Dust surfaces.

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Grab a microfiber cloth and dusting spray. Be sure to hit all tables, desks, and furniture of course, but also hard-to-reach areas like door frames and ceiling fans.

Step 2. Vacuum.

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When it comes to using your vacuum cleaner as part of your deep cleaning routine, you want to start high and end low. Begin by vacuuming those crevices where the wall meets the ceiling to remove cobwebs and dust. Using the brush attachment, vacuum baseboards to remove excess dust (you'll clean these bad boys more thoroughly later). Finally, vacuum the carpet going in one direction and then the other.

Step 3. Clean blinds.

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If they're removable, swish them around in warm, soapy water in the bathtub for a thorough cleanse. If not, spray a gentle cleaner (even a mixture of water and vinegar works!) and clean with a soft, damp cloth.

Step 4. Clean windows.

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Starting at the top, use an ammonia-based spray cleaner like Windex or your mixture of water and vinegar. Spray the windows and the windowsill and wipe clean.

Step 5. Clean doors.

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Don't leave the room without cleaning the last thing you touch before you leave—the door. A damp cloth dipped in soapy water should be sufficient, but if you've got tough stains and scuffs (read: kids), a magic eraser can be a handy tool.

Step 6. Attack the baseboards.

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There are a myriad of ways to clean baseboards, so do what works for you. If you've got kids, they can help with this burdensome task by using baby wipes. And who knows—if you make it fun, they might just ask to help next time! And we'll call that a win.

Step 7. Clean your carpets.

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Once you've vacuumed thoroughly, it's time to spot clean your carpet, if it needs it. One of our favorite ways to do this is to sprinkle baking soda liberally over the stain, let it soak in for about 15 minutes, and then pour some vinegar on the spot. The foaming action (remember those volcanoes from sixth grade science class?) will work to remove even the toughest stains. Looking for a commercial solution? We haven't found a stain that Spot Shot can't handle.

Deep cleaning the kitchen

The kitchen is probably where you spend the vast majority of your time, which means that it's the room that has the potential to get the most cluttered and dirty. Here's how to deep clean it, step by step:

Step 1. Declutter.

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Go through the room and pick up everything that doesn't belong in there. You can choose to put it all in its place, collect it all in a box or basket to deal with later, or separate it into piles for each family member to handle. Either way, decluttering the kitchen is the first step to getting it as clean as can be.

Step 2. Start at the top.

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Using a sponge or cloth and warm, soapy water, wipe down the tops of cabinets and the top of your refrigerator. You'll likely encounter a lot of grimy dust up there, especially if you don't have a vent hood over your stove. The dish soap should cut through the grime, but if not, you may need to spray a multipurpose cleaner and scrub to remove it.

Step 3. Wipe down the cabinets.

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Once the tops of the cabinets are clean, it's time to wipe down the fronts. Grab a new bowl full of warm, soapy water—it's the best way to clean cabinets of almost any type—and wipe down to remove dust, grime, and stuck-on food.

Step 4. Focus on appliances.

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Now it's time to clean your appliances, like the refrigerator and the microwave. Clear your refrigerator of expired food, wipe down the shelves and doors, and wash out all the drawers. Wipe down the inside of the microwave. To loosen the food particles first, microwave a cup of water with lemon for two to three minutes and leave it there.

Step 5. Degrease the stove.

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Give your oven and cooktop a good scrub down. Your method for cleaning the cooktop will vary based on what type it is, as harsh cleansers can scratch some cooktops. Be sure to consult your owner's manual and follow their guidelines.

To clean your oven, you'll need a little bit of baking soda—and a whole lot of elbow grease. Make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub with a sponge to break up tough stains and spots.

Step 6. Clean the sink.

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Get it gleaming with a spritz of Windex and a good wipe down. Don't forget the faucet and fixtures! For bonus points—and a yummy smelling kitchen—toss a lemon slice into your garbage disposal and grind it up.

Step 7. Get the countertop sparkling.

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For most stone countertops, all it takes is a good scrub with soapy water to restore it to its original shine.

Step 8. Clean under the fridge and oven.

Duster
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Before you clean the floor, take a long-handled duster and swipe under the fridge and oven to remove built-up dust bunnies, food, and who knows what else.

Step 9. Clean the floor.

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Finally, it's time to clean the floor. And after all the cleaning you've been doing, it'll really need it. Sweep it first, then scrub it using a cleaner of your choice. If you have a tile floor with grout, use a scrub brush to remove dirt and other grime.

Deep cleaning the bathroom

The bathroom is another room that definitely needs some extra attention from time to time. Be sure to toss towels, bath mats, and your shower curtain (if it's machine-washable) in the washing machine first, so they can get clean while you're working.

Step 1. Clean light fixtures.

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Dusting is usually sufficient to get your light fixtures looking new again. But if they're extra dirty, you can remove the globes or other removable parts and submerge them in warm, soapy water.

Step 2. Sanitize the sink.

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Spray a good multipurpose cleaner and scrub the sink with a sponge. Rinse with hot water. And for a fresher sink drain, sprinkle some baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar for a natural way to break up gunk.

Step 3. Clean your shower.

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Use our comprehensive step-by-step guide for the cleanest your shower has ever been.

Step 4. Clean the toilet.

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Why clean the toilet last? Because you can use the same sponge you've used for the sink and shower, and then toss it when you're finished. It's a great way to avoid wasting sponges while ensuring you never accidentally mix them up (gag).

Step 5. Mop the floor

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Working top to bottom when you clean is really gratifying, since you can look around at your handiwork while you finish up by mopping the floor.

Deep cleaning the bedroom

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, so don't neglect it during your deep clean. Just a little bit of extra attention is all it takes to get your private space in tip-top shape. A side bonus? You'll sleep better—trust us!

Step 1. Strip the bed and wash all linens.

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Strip the bed and toss the linens in the wash. It'll give you the motivation you need to get the rest of the room just as clean, so be sure to do this first.

Step 2. Vacuum/dust the corners of walls and ceilings.

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Vacuum out the dust and cobwebs just like you would in any other room.

Step 3. Dust furniture.

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Remove items like jewelry boxes, perfume bottles, and picture frames before you do a thorough dusting. For daily or weekly dusting, however, it's okay to dust around them. To dust during your deep clean, grab a soft cloth and your favorite dusting spray and dust your furniture from top to bottom. Make sure you hit all the little nooks and crannies.

Step 4. Deep clean your mattress.

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You've just released all that dust loose, so it's time to throw open the windows and let some fresh air in. While you're at it, why not deep clean your mattress, now that the sheets have been removed? Sprinkle baking soda all over, and let it sit for an hour or so. Then, vacuum the entire mattress for a fresher, cleaner bed. Got stains? Tackle them individually with warm water and just a touch of dish soap or enzyme cleaner.

Step 5. Clean under the bed.

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While your mattress is getting fresh, use this opportunity to swipe out all the random junk that's been hanging out under your bed. You'll likely find a ton of dust, and if you have a pet, there'll be plenty of pet hair, too. Use your vacuum attachment to thoroughly clean under there.

Step 6. Vacuum floor.

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Don't put the vacuum cleaner away just yet! Run it over your floor to suck up everything that's settled on it since you started cleaning.

Step 7. Remake the bed.

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By now, your bed linens should be clean and fresh, and even your mattress should be clean. Remake the bed, and marvel at all the hard work you've done.

Christin Perry
Christin Perry is a freelance writer covering health, lifestyle, and parenting. Read more
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