Cleaning

A room-by-room guide to cleaning your entire house

A checklist for every room in the house.

Do you dream of a house where everything is just done? A house where the dishes are clean, the floors are spotless, the laundry is washed and folded and not a single speck of dust can be spotted on a flat surface anywhere? Let’s face it, it’s a dream that can never be realised, because well, life happens. 

Although cleaning the house may be an inescapable (and endless) task, it’s also a great way to relieve stress, get some incidental movement into your day, and refresh the look of your home without having to buy new decor or spend a fortune on renovations. 

So how do you clean a house? Well that depends on the level of cleanliness you’re hoping to achieve. While it is possible to clean your entire house in an hour, sometimes you will need to carve out a day or two to tackle the long list of less pressing jobs like deep cleaning the oven, decluttering the pantry or organising your entire wardrobe. To simply maintain a tidy home, you’ll need to complete certain cleaning tasks daily (think: wiping down kitchen counters and stacking the dishwasher). 

Here, we’ve walked through every room in the house while pretending to be a judgy houseguest, to bring you not only a complete house cleaning checklist but some handy hacks and shortcuts to help you get the job done faster along the way.

White and grey Hamptons style hallway with carpet
(Credit: Photography: Nic Gossage | Styling: Lisa Burden)

What you’ll need

Cleaning the house from top to bottom requires some equipment. Here’s what you’ll need: 

Where to start cleaning a house? 

Kitchen

Experts agree that the best place to start cleaning your house is the kitchen. To clean the room thoroughly, head to our kitchen cleaning checklist. But if the space is already in pretty good shape here’s what to prioritise.

White minimalist kitchen
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jamee Deaves)

The essentials

The deep clean

The bathroom

Next up is the bathroom. If not cleaned regularly, the bathroom can become a breeding ground for mould and unsightly, discoloured grout. 

Large marble and brass bathroom
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Ashley Pratt)

The essentials

The deep clean

  • Wipe or dust bathroom exhaust fan blades
  • Wash and disinfect toothbrush holders and soap holders (or place them in the dishwasher). Replace toothbrushes.
  • Unclog drains
  • Sanitise the toilet brush
  • Declutter under the sink and discard expired beauty products and medication

Laundry

The final wet area to tackle is the laundry. If this area always looks messy no matter how often you clean it, it could be time for a stylish and functional laundry room redesign. Until then, focus on a small laundry organisation ideas that prioritise storage and efficiency.

White minimalist Hamptons style laundry
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Heliconia)

The essentials

  • Wash and fold laundry
  • Scrub soaking tub and rinse clean
  • Wash and disinfect cleaning buckets
  • Clean dryer lint filter
  • Wipe down benches
  • Dust the front and tops of machines with a soft cloth
  • Vacuum
  • Mop

The deep clean

  • Wipe inside of laundry baskets with a damp cloth
  • Vacuum and wipe down empty laundry hamper
  • Run an empty washing machine on the hottest cycle.
  • Wipe down washing machine seals with a damp cloth, dry.
  • Remove washing machine filter and clean before replacing.
  • Remove soap tray from washing machine and wash and dry thoroughly. Replace tray.
  • Wipe or dust exhaust fan

Living room

Give yourself a pat on the back, because the three most difficult areas to clean are now done – phew! 

White and grey contemporary coastal living room
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jamee Deaves)

The essentials

  • Dust all hard surfaces using two cloths; one damp soapy cloth for picking up dirt and dust, followed by a second, dry microfibre cloth to buff away spots and streaks.
  • Clean the TV screen and gently wipe away fingerprints and dust
  • Clean skirting boards using a vacuum cleaner brush attachment, or give them all a wipe with a damp cloth
  • Vacuum the sofa, taking care to get all of the crumbs (and coins) out of the nooks and crannies
  • Vacuum and mop floor
  • Wipe indoor plant leaves

The deep clean

  • Place cushion covers along with any throw blankets into the washing machine on a gentle cycle
  • Vacuum and steam clean rugs
  • Use an upholstery cleaner like the Bissell SpotClean to give the sofa a deep clean 
  • Vacuum underneath and behind large furniture pieces 
  • Dust ceiling light fixtures
  • Do a cable management check: are cords taking over your entertainment unit? Plus, here are 9 other decorating mistakes to correct while you tidy up the living room

Bedrooms

A clean bedroom that is free from dust and clutter will help you get a better night’s sleep. 

White and timber bedroom with pleated pendant lamp
(Credit: Photography: Natalie Hunfalvay | Styling: Lisa Burden)

The essentials

The  deep clean

Colourful bone inlay console table and gallery wall
The housework will never be done, so decide on a ‘finish line’ before you begin cleaning and stick to it. Then devote time to yourself and activities that bring you joy. (Credit: Photography: Hannah Puechmarin | Styling: Cheryl Carr)

The finish line

One thing is for certain, unless you live alone, cleaning the house should be a shared duty. Delegate cleaning jobs to the kids, invest in a robot vacuum mop (to lighten the load) or get your partner on board by investing in The Fair Play Deck and divvying up household chores together over a glass of wine. Lastly, don’t forget that the job of keeping a tidy home is never really done, so make sure you set a ‘finish line’ and stick to it so you can devote some time to yourself and other hobbies that truly bring you joy.

Related stories