Your Comprehensive Cleaning Checklist Organized by Level of Effort

52 ways to achieve cleaning nirvana, plus a printable checklist.

It’s an inexplicable human condition: our mental age is often much younger than our physical one.

So, the idea that we might be actively searching for a cleaning checklist stuns the 18-year-old frozen in our mind. But as time rolls on, so, too, does our unspoken contract with society to keep our living spaces clean. One reward for our efforts is that we get to luxuriate in rooms with properly made beds and karate chopped throw pillows. But maybe the best reward is that we get to impress our parents, who we imagine as being very-proud-indeed for raising such a decent person.

So behold, our unabridged cleaning checklist, organized by level of effort. Know that checking every single one of these items off is potentially a bucket list deal and that it’s not generally attainable for a human with competing priorities, like breathing. But also know that even if you do find the holy grail of being all done with everything at once, you’ll still have to start over tomorrow. So be kind to yourself.

Cleaning checklist level of effort: 5

If you’re taking on Level 5 cleaning responsibilities, we’re guessing you’re the one in your friend group who organizes your closet by color. Which means, you’re up for this. Realistically, you’re probably looking at doing these things about once every year or two.

  • Clean your chimney and fireplace
  • Clean behind and underneath all your furniture and large appliances and gawk at all the dust bunnies that have gotten cozy there
  • Deep clean your doors
  • Wipe down your walls
  • Wash all of your window screens and deep clean the windows
  • Clean your dryer duct
  • Deep clean carpet and upholstery (or hire a professional)
  • Clean your gutters (or hire a professional)

Cleaning checklist level of effort: 4

If you’re making Level 4 tasks a priority, you’re still pretty impressive, especially to literally anyone that walks through your door. Even if you accidentally curse a time or two as you check these items off, you’re still totally dominating domestic life. Do these things about once every six months.

  • Clean your oven interior
  • Wipe down the inside of your fridge and freezer
  • Vacuum your mattress
  • Wash or dry clean your slipcovers, pillows, and comforters
  • Empty and clean your cabinet and pantry shelves, then take a #shelfie and show your mom
  • Vacuum or dust your refrigerator condenser coil
  • Wash and dry your stove hood filter
  • Freshen your drain and clean your garbage disposal

Cleaning checklist level of effort: 3

Completing these items is what makes a real, noticeable difference in most homes, so it’s a good idea to stay focused on the euphoric feeling of crossing them off your list. Do these things about every three months.

  • Clean your leather and wood furniture
  • Clean your blinds
  • Vacuum your drapes and fabric shades
  • Dust and your clean light fixtures
  • Wipe down your baseboards
  • Shake out your rugs
  • Scrub any grout
  • Polish stainless steel appliances
  • Clean refrigerator and freezer interiors
  • Clean and descale your coffee maker

Cleaning checklist level of effort: 2

Twice a month or so, double down on these tasks. It’ll keep you in an always-on state of spontaneous company possibilities. No one wants to invite friends over only to realize there’s an inch of dust on the ceiling fan. (What kind of animal are you?) Do these things about once every two weeks.

  • Wipe out and disinfect your wastebaskets
  • Change your bedding
  • Throw out expired food
  • Wipe down and disinfect doorknobs, light switches, and TV remotes
  • Dust ceiling fans and vents
  • Clean your mirrors
  • Vacuum floors and furniture
  • Scrub your bathroom floors
  • Dust moldings
  • Scrub your stovetop
  • Wipe down your kitchen cabinets
  • Clean and deodorize the microwave
  • Wipe down appliances
  • Scrub and disinfect toilets
  • Clean and scrub showers and tubs
  • Squeegee shower walls
  • Clean toilets

Cleaning checklist level of effort: 1

Finally, the icing on the cake: the tasks that make living in your space feel like home. The ones that accidentally make you feel superior to your friends because look-at-how-attentive-you-are-to-every-detail. Look to complete these items on the daily.

  • Make your bed
  • Clean dirty dishes
  • Dust hard surfaces
  • Wipe down and disinfect countertops
  • Scrub and disinfect the kitchen sink
  • Do laundry
  • Toss any food that has expired
  • Fluff and karate chop throw pillows

And done! We hope you’ve enjoyed the Everest of all cleaning checklists (don’t forget to download)—but in the event that instead of becoming inspired to be the cleanest version of yourself, you became mildly panicked and overwhelmed, take comfort in how far you’ve come. You were interested enough in the topic of cleaning that you got all the way through this article. Mom (and dad) would be very proud.

Click here to download your Total Clean Checklist

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