This Is the Best Strategy for Cleaning Your Entire House

This Is the Best Strategy for Cleaning Your Entire House

Cleaning in any order is always better than not cleaning at all, but there are ways to do it that make it more efficient. If you clean your home in the wrong order, you risk making a mess in places you’ve already taken care of. But what is the right order?

Clean with chemicals first

Multiple cleaning services advocate for a chemicals-first approach to cleaning and there are a few reasons for that: First, a lot of cleaning solutions require extended contact with surfaces to work properly, whether they’re disinfecting or loosening gunk. Second, using chemicals to clean can be dangerous if you’re not well-versed or focused. In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while cleaning during the pandemic, one in three adults were using chemicals or disinfectants unsafely. You don’t want to work with your chemicals after a long day of tidying; you want to do it when you’re starting out and your mind is sharp. Always wear protective gloves and read the instructions on your bottles—and never mix chemicals.

Start in the bathroom, which takes the longest to clean despite its small size, as it’s the germiest. If you’re using a cleaning solution that needs to sit a while, you can turn on the fan, keep the door open, and get out of there while it works. Run your fan no matter what to make sure you’re not breathing in anything harmful when you go by the room again. After, say, pouring bleach into your toilet and letting it sit for a bit, you can return to the bathroom and do your non-chemical cleaning.

Hit the kitchen next and do the same thing. Think of ways you can get your tools to clean for you while you do other tasks, like running a load of laundry, soaking a dish, or letting a disinfectant sit on a surface for a while.

Dust before organizing

While your chemicals are working for you or once your bathroom and kitchen have been disinfected to your liking, it’s time to dust. You may be compelled to tidy up and organize first, but that might make things harder for you in the long run: You should always dust from the top down, hitting the tops of windows and doors, plus your ceiling and fan, before anything else. Dust from up there and everywhere else will eventually settle lower down, so if you spiff up a room before dusting, you’ll actually dirty it again.

Dust first so when you vacuum and organize, you’ll get all the dust at that time. (Floors are actually last, though, so just hold off for now.)

Declutter after dusting

Now it’s time to declutter. For this step, you can use a tidying-up method like the “five things” technique, where you move around the room collecting all the trash, then go again collecting all the laundry. On the third pass, grab any dishes that are in the room and on the fourth pass, pick up and put away anything that has a place. Your final trip through the room should be to pick up anything that doesn’t have a place, but once you’ve gotten the trash, laundry, dishes, and things with a place sorted, you should have enough room for those mysterious items.

If you uncover anything that needs chemical cleaning or dusting, you can go back and do those while you move on to the next room.

Clean floors last

Once everything is disinfected, dusted, and tidied up, you can do your floors. This will get rid of any dust that fell down, but waiting until the end also ensures you won’t backtrack or walk over your wet hardwood or pristine vacuum lines.

The goal of cleaning in a specific order is to make sure you’re not having to clean certain areas twice. For best results when using this schedule, move room to room so you’re not on a different step in each one.

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