Your One-Stop Fall Cleaning Checklist
It’s like spring cleaning, only cooler. (Hehe)
If you love cleaning while drinking pumpkin spice lattes, it’s your time to shine. It’s autumn! Everyone loves autumn. Sweater weather, crunchy leaves, Halloween decorations, oh my!
Besides being one of the most beautiful times of the year, the change of season is a good time to take stock of your home. Whether you live in a modest apartment or a stately home with sprawling grounds, cleaning and tidying before winter sets in will make all those nights curled up in front of the fire that much more enjoyable—and in a few months’ time, spring cleaning that much easier.
Behold, the definitive autumn cleaning guide in all of its glory. Pour yourself a glass of apple cider and get to scanning. Whether you clean from top to bottom in one go or spread these tasks out over a few weekends, you’ll be thanking yourself later.
Bathroom fall cleaning
- Dust from top to bottom. Be sure to get any ceiling fans or vents.
- Sweep, dry mop and/or vacuum the floors. Hair balls and dust bunnies, be gone!
- Disinfect doorknobs, light switches and high-touch areas (ahem: the toilet flusher).
- Organize the medicine cabinet, drawers and closets. Trash expired makeup. (Now’s a good time to wash your makeup brushes if it’s been a while.)
- Scrub your shower, bathtub and sink. Get that grout, too.
- Check the caulking around the sink and shower–replace decaying caulk and get ahead of water stains before they happen.
- Clean and unclog the showerhead.
- Clean mirrors with store-bought cleaner or DIY glass cleaner solution.
- Sanitize hard surfaces with Microban 24 Bathroom Cleaner to prevent the growth of mold and mildew for 7 days on hard surfaces.*
- Wash your shower curtain, towels and bath mats (but not all in the same load). Make sure to read the care instructions on the respective labels.
- Deep clean the toilet, including the nearby floor, hinges, flusher and attachments.
- Replace your toothbrush if it’s been a few months.
Kitchen fall cleaning
- Clean the stovetop with a mix of a gentle dish soap, like Dawn, and water. If it’s still worse for the wear, break out the trusty Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get rid of caked-on food bits and grease.
- Clean the oven. Most ovens have a cleaning cycle, but before you run it, make sure there’s not too much caked-on burnt stuff in there, or you risk starting a fire.
- Clean your microwave. Yes, both the inside and outside of it.
- Clean and descale your coffee maker. You’ll be so glad you did tomorrow morning.
- Clean out your fridge and freezer. Toss expired food and freezer items that are over six months old. Wipe out shelves, drawers and handles.
- Degrease cabinets and wash the walls. Especially that backsplash near the stove that’s likely spattered in grease and oil.
- Clean out and organize your pantry. Throw away expired items. We double dare you to organize the snacks by the color of their packaging.
- Empty the toast tray in your toaster. Wow, why didn’t you do that a year ago?
- Disinfect high-touch areas like cabinet handles, light switches, sinks and countertops.
- Wipe down countertops with your favorite multipurpose cleaner or a DIY vinegar solution.
- Clean and sanitize your sink basin, faucets, hardware and surrounding area. Bacteria loves sinks and drains.
- Clean out your garbage disposal. Toss a few fresh lemon peels down the drain and let ’er rip.
- Sweep, dry mop and/or vacuum the floors.
- Clean your dishwasher filter. If there are strange smells coming from your dishwasher, this might be the culprit.
- Clean the fingerprints off of your stainless steel appliances with Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist.
- Clean your kitchen blinds. They’re probably greasier than you think they are.
- Wash the windows.
- Wash the trash and recycling receptacles.
Bedroom fall cleaning
- Dust everything from top to bottom, including your dressers, lamps and bedside tables.
- Vacuum your curtains and/or wash the blinds.
- Sweep, dry mop and/or vacuum the floors.
- Clean the floors.
- Wash windows, window sills and ledges.
- Vacuum curtains with upholstery attachment.
- Clean out your closet and donate any clothes that no longer fit, are unfashionable or fail to “spark joy.”
- Wash and properly store your summer clothes. Rotate out your winter clothes, too.
- Wash all of your bedding, including sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers and shams (if they’re washable). Read and follow the care and cleaning instructions on the labels. Properly store any summer-weight linens you won’t be using for a while.
- Make your bed real pretty with all of those clean sheets (now’s a good time to swap in your softest flannel sheets and add a quilt or two).
- Rotate your mattress to extend its life (and to help out your back!)
- Clean out and organize bedside table drawers. Trash any old receipts, dead batteries, etc.
- Shampoo any rugs or carpets. It’ll be annoying, but totally worth it.
Living spaces fall cleaning
- Dust everything from top to bottom. Swiffer Dusters are awesome for reaching all those hard-to-get ceiling fan blades and tops of bookshelves, plus the dust pads actually trap and lock dust particles instead of spreading them around.
- Wash the windows, window sills and ledges. The room will feel instantly cleaner.
- Wash the walls. You don’t even notice it happening, but walls actually absorb and trap all sorts of smells.
- Do all the floor stuff. Sweep, vacuum or dry mop. Then run a wet mop across the hard floors. We suggest the Swiffer Sweeper Floor Mop Starter Kit, which takes care of the dry and wet mopping—no mop bucket required.
- Vacuum everything. Couches, chairs and curtains. Anything that’s upholstered.
- Shampoo rugs or carpets with a steam cleaner. If that seems like too much, try this quick fix: sprinkle baking soda all over your carpet, let it sit overnight to neutralize any smells and vacuum it up in the morning.
- Wash cushions and throw pillow covers, just be sure to read the care instructions first. If you can’t wash them, hit them with some Febreze Fabric to banish undesirable odors and replace them with a fresher scent.
- Disinfect all your remotes and other high-touch items such as doorknobs and light switches.
- Clean your TV screen. Do your laptop, too, while you’re at it.
- Dust your plants. Seriously. And water them, while you’re at it.
- Organize your stuff! This includes clutter or items on your coffee table, end tables, those piles of cords in the corner, records, books, pens, empty cups and miscellaneous paraphernalia.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries, if necessary.
Outside fall cleaning
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
- Check weather strips and caulking around doors and windows.
- Clean, cover and store grill for the winter.
- Clean patio furniture and store outdoor pillows.
- Drain and disconnect hoses.
- Rake leaves and mow the lawn (just one more time before the snow!).
- Organize the garage, and put away any gear or toys you won’t need ’til spring.
- Replace furnace filter. This should be done every three months.
- Sweep out the chimney to make room for cozy autumn fires.
- Remove, clean and properly store window screens.
Kid areas fall cleaning
- Move furniture and vacuum beneath it, especially those playpens, beds, kiddie tables and any sort of crafting stations. Lord knows what you’ll find under there.
- Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove your tiny artist’s crayon marks from any and everything (including your walls!).
- Sanitize plastic toys. Especially bath toys. (And if they're bath toys that squirt water, it’s best to trash them and buy new ones every few months—because mold.) Dawn Dish Soap and warm water work great for cleaning kid’s toys. Or you can add a couple drops of bleach to a gallon of water, soak them overnight and let them air dry.
- Hand wash or launder soft plushies. You can use a hair dryer to fluff their fur back up afterward! Your kid will never know the difference.
- Donate the clothes, books and toys your kids have outgrown.
- Organize clothes, books and toys in your kids’ play areas. Savor this one moment, while everything is in its place.
Pet zone fall cleaning
- Vacuum all of that pet hair off of the carpet, couches and their bed.
- Run a dry mop, like the Swiffer Heavy Duty Pet Dry Sweeper, on your hard floors to collect and trap loose hair and dander.
- Wet mop the floor, especially those suspicious corners where the dog lingers and/or around the litter box and food bowls. We like the Swiffer Heavy Duty Pet Wet Mop because you don’t have to fill a mop bucket, and you can just trash the mop pad when you’re done.
- Launder the pet beds. If they’re super haggard, toss them and buy new ones.
- Clean and sanitize hard plastic pet toys the same way you’d clean your kid’s toys.
- Throw out any especially gross toys, and replace them with fresh ones.
- Neutralize potent pet smells by sprinkling baking soda on everything, letting it sit overnight and vacuuming it up in the morning. It works great on upholstery, pet beds, soft toys, etc.
- Better yet, just spray some Febreze Fabric Pet Odor Eliminator around the pet zones for a burst of freshness.
Bonus: fall cleaning your car
- Clean out your dang car. Everything from coffee cups and cigarette butts to food wrappers, cords from cell phones past, receipts, broken sunglasses and parking garage slips. Doesn’t that feel better already?
- Pop in a Febreze CAR to eliminate any tough odors and keep your car smelling fresh.
- Wipe out the center console, cup holders, steering wheel and dashboard with a rag soaked in Dawn Dish Soap and warm water. Rinse soap residue with a clean, damp rag.
- Vacuum the seats, beneath the seats and the trunk with the upholstery attachment.
- Clean your car windows inside and out.
- Replace your windshield wipers.
- Check all the fluids, especially the coolant and windshield wiper fluid (especially if snow is in the forecast!).
- Get an oil change if you’re due for one.
- Wash the exterior of your car.
- Put on snow tires if you live in a cold climate—a general rule of thumb is to swap out the tires once the temperature is consistently below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the window scraper is in the glove compartment, too.
If you find yourself completely overwhelmed by this list, we’ve got a few more varietals for you, including one with a realistic chore schedule to help you crush your cleaning goals and a more comprehensive version that organizes cleaning tasks by level of effort (or lack thereof).
*Effective against Aspergillus niger.