How Often Should You Really Be Cleaning?

Because you might have learned how, but you might not know how often.

How to clean is one thing. But how often to clean is another. Some of it is personal preference — like, just how much dust can you tolerate? But some of it comes down to health and well-being. There are some surprising reasons to keep your house clean beyond a) knowing that you’re supposed to and b) wanting to be able to host your friends and family without embarrassment.

Why should I clean?

  • You’ll feel healthier! For one thing, cleaning your home removes germs and bacteria. Not only that, but dust and allergens can accumulate in your upholstery, bedding, and carpeting over time — routinely cleaning those things can relieve allergy triggers and symptoms.
  • You’ll feel less stressed. Studies have shown that messy homes lead to higher stress levels — ergo, a cleaner home means less stress.
  • It could make you more productive. Disorganization = distraction. If you’re working in a clean, tidy office, you’re much less likely to be distracted or encouraged to procrastinate. Not only that, but checking one small thing off your to-do list (like unloading the dishwasher) can get your day off on the right foot.
  • You may actually even sleep better. When your home is in order, you have fewer things nagging at you as you try to drift off to sleep at night.
  • Cleaning gets you moving! Have you ever heard that sitting is the new smoking? Cleaning your home helps get you out of the chair and into motion.
  • The obvious one: it will look and feel better. Even those of us who hate cleaning can admit it feels so nice to be in a clean, tidy, good-smelling space. And don’t you deserve to feel that way in your own home? Think of it as another form of self-care.

How often should I be cleaning?

So you just moved into your first apartment, and you do know how to clean the toilet. Now, how often do you need to clean it?

Or maybe you just moved into your first home and learned that you’re supposed to be cleaning things you never knew existed, like dryer vents. Let’s break it down by your daily and weekly routine cleaning — and beyond.

Or maybe your real question is: how much cleaning should I expect to do? It depends completely on your space and your level of clean, but a household probably spends an hour or so cleaning a day, plus a few hours set aside for chores on the weekends. Keyword? Household. You don’t have to do it all yourself!

Daily Cleaning Chores

Daily cleaning tasks are mostly about keeping your most-used spaces tidy and usable and avoiding a massive pile-up of dishes at the end of the day (or week, or month, or…).

  • Kitchen. You might not be a pro chef, but you can implement one of the cardinal rules: clean as you go. Clean up after, if not while, you cook and certainly after you eat. Put the dishes in the dishwasher with a Cascade ActionPacs + Dishwasher Cleaner Action or wash in the sink and leave to dry. Spray and wipe down countertops, tables, and stovetops with Mr. Clean Clean Freak to get rid of crumbs and spills. Finally, sweep the floor — you’ll always be surprised how much ends up down there. Taking 10–15 minutes to tidy the kitchen each time will mean you don’t have to spend an hour scrubbing dried-on food out of a massive pile of dishes later.
  • Bathroom Surfaces. In the same spirit as the kitchen, think of the spaces in your home that you use the most. The bathroom is probably up there. After brushing your teeth and applying your sunscreen in the morning, take a moment to clear and wipe down the countertops.
  • The five-minute tidy. Just before you get ready for bed, take a moment to tidy up your home and put things in your place so the home is ready for the next day. Blanket crumpled on the couch? Fold it and put it where it belongs. Clothes on the floor? Take 30 seconds to put them in the hamper, or hang them up for another use if they’re not dirty.
  • Messes as you make them. If something spills, or you track a lot of dirt in after playing with the dog, try not to let it sit. Take 5–10 minutes to clean up after yourself; it will prevent the dirt or stains from setting in and creating a larger headache later.

Weekly Cleaning Chores

  • Bathrooms. No surprise here! The bathroom needs a dedicated clean every week. Scrub the toilet. Clean tubs, showers, and sinks. Wipe down surfaces with Microban bathroom cleaner to sanitize and clean in one go. Clean the mirror. Wash the linens. Empty the garbage. Sweep the floor. (If the floor is feeling grimy, break out the mop, too). The benefit to keeping on top of this chore specifically — besides the fact that it’s much nicer to shower in a clean shower than a dirty one — is that you’re preventing major stains and scum from building up.
  • Floors. At least once a week, break out the Swiffer and cover every inch of the house. You may want to mop entryways and kitchens, too — those floors see a lot of action. If you have carpeting, it’s important to vacuum it well to get all the dirt, dander, and dust out, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Bedding. Weekly is a good rule of thumb for laundering your linens. You don’t want to sleep in dust mites, sweat, pet dander, and germs, do you? No. Plus, freshly cleaned sheets feel really, really good.

Monthly Cleaning Chores

  • Dusting! You should schedule a dusting session at least once a month to tackle ceiling fans, light fixtures, air vents, and any surfaces that aren’t frequently cleaned or touched. Think: baseboards, molding, and even doors. This is an easy one to hand off to kids!
  • Furniture. Use a vacuum attachment to clean off major furniture, making sure to get underneath those couch cushions. Check for any stains that need treating. Launder blankets and pillow covers, per their instructions.
  • Windows and window coverings. Using a cleaning spray, clean the windows and wipe down the window casings. Dust, vacuum, or wash window coverings.
  • Dishwasher. Clean out the dishwasher filter and while you’re at it, clean the inside of the appliance. This is one appliance you do not want to go out of order.

Seasonal Cleaning Chores

Biannual chores, or the ones you need to do twice a year, are often attached to spring and fall cleaning. Those phrases typically refer to periods of refreshing the house after a long winter, and getting ready to settle in for a lot of time indoors. Depending on usage, some of these may need to be cleaned more frequently; but twice a year is a good rule of thumb.

  • Windows and window screens
  • Baseboards
  • Light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Dryer vents
  • Deep clean major appliances (oven, refrigerator)
  • Underneath furniture
  • Deep clean carpeting

For a full list of seasonal chores, check out this printable spring cleaning checklist.

How do you actually make time for all of this cleaning?

This is a lot of cleaning. How do you actually do it all? Our number one tip: keep on a schedule. It may seem counterintuitive, but creating and sticking to a schedule means you actually spend less time thinking about what needs to be cleaned.

Our second tip? Delegate. You don’t need to do this all by yourself. Ask your roommate how they’d like to divide the chores. Talk to your partner or spouse about a fair breakdown of tasks. And don’t forget to pull in the kiddos for chores that are within their wheelhouse. You may want to leave the cleaning of major appliances to adults, but there’s no reason they can’t help with dusting, Swiffering, tidying, and more.

And one final option… if you need help, it’s OK to call in a pro service, whether it’s for a whole-home deep clean you just don’t have time for, or a chore you hate doing and want to outsource. No shame in the game as long as your home is up to your standards.

Related Articles

How To Clean Your Home In 5 Easy Steps

An easy-to-follow guide to cleaning your home and creating a cleaning routine that you can stick to. Plus see the best products that will keep your home clean.

How To Clean Blinds, Curtains, And Drapes In 8 Easy Steps

A simple guide to how to clean wood, plastic, or metal blinds and cleaning curtains and drapes—plus a video tutorial, tips, and product recommendations.

Spring Cleaning Checklist (Printable): By Room Guide

A room-by-room spring cleaning checklist that will have your home spotless. From scrubbing your bathroom to deep cleaning your kitchen, we’ve got you covered.

Weekly Cleaning Schedule and Checklist: A Guide to Saving Time

A helpful checklist to remember those important weekly cleaning tasks that will save you time in the long run.

How To Clean Your Living Room

A step-by-step guide to cleaning your living room from top to bottom, whether you’ve got fifteen minutes or the full day—plus a video, tips & product recommendations.

Your One-Stop Fall Cleaning Checklist

A comprehensive and approachable checklist for fall cleaning your home, inside and out–plus helpful hints and product recommendations.

Tips for Better Closet Organization and a Calmer Home

Maintaining an organized closet is an artform and oh-so rewarding. Here’s how to organize it.

The Ultimate Guide To Deep Cleaning the Kitchen

Months and years of heavy usage lead to a kitchen that deserves a truly deep clean. Use our helpful checklist to learn all the spots in your kitchen that need special attention every few months — and how to clean them.