Get clean

Get clean
TMB Studio

Whether you’re a neat freak or the type of person who only tidies up before major holidays (or fall somewhere in between), you can stay on track by following a cleaning schedule. Our cleaning checklist, which includes a timeline for the kitchen and the bathroom, tells you what to address and when, so nothing gets so dirty that it takes hours to clean or is left beyond repair.

“If you put in even 20 minutes of effort a day, you’ll keep chaos at bay,” says Vera Peterson, president of housecleaning company Molly Maid.

Here are 20 little things everyone forgets to clean – but shouldn’t.


Before you start cleaning

Before you start cleaning

Step 1. Gather your cleaning supplies.

Peterson recommends creating two to three cleaning caddies, each of which has been specially created for a specific area of the house (bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms, etc.) and includes everything you need to get straight to work.

Step 2. Move clutter out of the way.

Overall, the less stuff you have, the less stuff you must put away, dust, clean and maintain. Stack papers and books in neat piles, and group like items on a shelf or in a corner.

Step 3. Group chores by task when monthly or deep cleaning.

When you’re doing a whole-house monthly or deep cleaning, it can be faster to group similar chores, such as cleaning mirrors or vacuuming, than go room by room. With the tools already in hand, you’ll be able to finish them up in no time.

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Daily cleaning schedule

Daily cleaning schedule

Your daily cleaning schedule focuses on tasks you need to do frequently, like making your bed and washing the dishes. The good news is that these tasks are quick and make an immediate difference. Here are more tips for everyday cleaning:

Instead of breaking out your stick vacuum daily, invest in a programmable robot vacuum and you won’t even have to think about cleaning your floors.

Fingerprints on the taps and toothpaste spots in the sink are almost inevitable. Store sanitising wipes under the vanity to quickly clean them.

When you’re finished washing the dinner dishes, sprinkle the kitchen sink with baking soda and scrub it with a slightly damp sponge.

After each shower, squeegee the glass or tile walls to prevent watermarks and mildew.

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Weekly cleaning schedule

Weekly cleaning schedule

The chores on the weekly cleaning schedule are a bit more time intensive than the daily ones. The payoff is that the additional attention to these areas now means they’ll be easier to clean than if you pushed the task off another few weeks. These are a few things to consider as you do your weekly cleaning:

If you don’t use your microwave regularly, you can get away with cleaning it every other week.

When mopping, start at the farthest corner of the room and move back toward the entrance. Rinse the mop after completing each 1.2m x 1.2m area to keep your water fresh.

To clean mirrors, use a glass cleaner and microfibre cloth (or newspaper), wipe across the mirror in a broad “S” pattern, working from edge to edge, top to bottom.

Don’t forget to dust doors, windowsills and light fixtures (turn them off first). When dusting, move a microfibre cloth from left to right and top to bottom for the best results. High-touch surfaces, such as door handles, light switches and television remotes, are gathering spots for dirt and bacteria. Spray or wipe the surface with a multipurpose cleaner, followed by a disinfectant. Allow it to sit for the recommended amount of time, according to the instructions, then rinse or wipe the surface to remove residue.

While you have the vacuum out, do a quick pass over your curtains and any upholstered furniture.

Dirty cleaning tools only spread grime. Remember to wash microfibre cloths, sanitise your sponges, and wipe the handle and base of your vacuum and clean its filter.

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Monthly cleaning schedule

Monthly cleaning schedule

The monthly cleaning schedule addresses bigger tasks that require both more time and more equipment. Think of it as an investment in your appliances and your home, and you’ll recognise that it’s time and effort well spent. Here are some things to keep in mind:

To clean the splashback, mix one cup baking soda, one cup hydrogen peroxide, and a degreasing dishwashing liquid. The combination breaks down the greasy buildup that is common in most kitchen areas, Peterson says.

How you degrease the rangehood depends on if it’s removable or not. Soak a removable range hood in hot, soapy water. Otherwise, clean it in place with a soft, damp, soapy cloth.

While you’re cleaning your fridge, toss any old or expired food and wipe down the shelves and drawers.

It is possible to get even the grimiest bathroom grout lines clean with extra elbow grease and our secret cleaning concoction: Mix one cup of baking soda with one cup of hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a toothbrush.

Mattresses need love too. To refresh yours, sprinkle it with baking soda, let it sit for 20 minutes, then vacuum.

To clean skirting boards without bending, run a broom with a microfibre towel tied over its bristles along them. To dust ceiling fans, turn them off, then use an extendable duster to clean the blades and remove dust and any built-up grime.

For streak-free windows, spray them with glass cleaner and wipe them with newspapers. Or for hard-to-reach spots, use a telescoping squeegee. Finish by whisking away debris from the window track with a crevice brush.

Deep cleaning schedule

Deep cleaning schedule

Every three to six months, roll up your sleeves (and call in some help, if necessary) to knock out the deep cleaning house checklist. These tasks are bigger projects for sure, but they help keep your home looking its best. Keep these points in mind as you prepare to deep clean:

You’ll be amazed at how many crumbs you have under your stove and cobwebs lurking behind your fridge. Pull each appliance out to sweep and clean behind them. Vacuum any refrigerator coils to improve its energy efficiency.

After you empty your kitchen drawers, wipe them down and thoroughly wash any organisers.

To clean window screens, remove them from the window, then loosen grime by lightly scrubbing them with a very soft bristle brush dipped in an all-purpose cleaner mixed with warm water. Rinse with an outdoor hose.

Clean and organise your closet and dresser drawers.

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