Don’t you wish that when you became a mom, or a functioning-in-the-real-world adult that someone would have handed you the definitive guide to keeping up your house? But they didn’t, did they? We all just have to learn on our own, which is a real pain seeing as though there are no less than a million things we are forced to learn on our own.
As if the daily duties of motherhood weren’t enough, you’re also burdened with the task of knowing not only what needs cleaning in your house, but how often. Should I be doing it weekly, monthly, every time my mother-in-law announces she is coming for a visit? The struggle is real.
Honestly, the real answer to “How often should I clean this? is “As needed.” Kinda like, how often should I change my underwear? Well, I guess if you have to ask, you probably need to do it.
But the longer answer is that if you get onto a schedule, you won’t become overwhelmed that all the things need to be cleaned all the time. Let me help you out with a few of the most notable areas of the house and how often they should be getting a scrub down.
Refrigerator: Once every quarter at least, but spot clean and remove expired food each week before grocery shopping
Oven: Spot clean as needed, but once or twice a year is fine for a deep clean/self-clean. If it isn’t causing issues of producing smoke, you are okay to wait.
Cabinets: Wash the outside about once a month. Clean the inside once a quarter for areas with food and once a year for areas with dishes and appliances.
Windows: Spot clean as needed, especially in the areas where kid fingerprint smudges and doggy nose prints happen. Give the sills and blinds a quick dusting once a month and invest in professional cleaning of the windows (inside and outside) once a year in the warmer months.
Baseboards: In the bathrooms, I suggest once per month because they can dirty very quickly. Elsewhere, you can dust them quickly once every 6-8 weeks and wipe them down in a deeper clean once every 4-6 months.
Bathtub/shower: This greatly depends on how often you are using it. If you have one bathroom for 5 people, you’ll need to clean it about once a week, but if you don’t use it as often, once a month will do. The key is to get in front of soap scum, rather than becoming reactive to it. Keep your cleaning supplies in the bathroom and make it a habit of cleaning the shower quickly while you’re in it. I mean, you’re already there…
Bed sheets: Ok, there is a great debate here. Some say that they don’t need to be washed as often as we’ve grown accustomed while others, like me, say clean them once weekly. Why? Because I hate sleeping on dirty sheets. I can only imagine the amount of sweat, makeup, crumbs and oil from our bodies and hair that end up on those things each night. I like to be sure I am washing them once a week. It just helps me sleep at night, no pun intended.
Stuffed animals: If you are able to, run them through a gentle cycle on the washer and dryer. I have done this since my kids were little about twice a year.
Dishwasher: Have you ever taken a really good look inside that thing? Or smelled it? The build-up can cause a lot of unpleasant odors and worse, can cause it not to get your dishes as clean. Once every 6 weeks or so, wipe down the sides of the dishwasher and run a cycle of white vinegar through it. Pour about a cup of vinegar into a dishwasher-safe bowl or measure
Under the furniture: If your furniture is on the carpet or a rug, move it once a quarter to vacuum and dust. You’d be amazed how much can build up under there. If you’re furniture is on hardwood or non-carpeted floors and you can see underneath it, use a Swiffer sweeper and clean under there weekly or biweekly, usually depending on if you have pets or not. It’ll take a minute, tops. Promise.
Even if you are a "Cleaning doesn't suck that bad" kinda mom, keeping a running tally of all the things that need to be cleaned in the house can be a daunting task! Sign up below to receive your free house cleaning master list, broken down by room. Print it out, keep it in a binder, hang it on the wall (it colorful and pretty) and use it to create your cleaning schedule or just as a useful guide for #allthethings that need to be cleaned in our homes.