apartment cleaning guide for beginners

The Only Apartment Cleaning Guide You’ll Ever Need

Even with a small apartment, cleaning is daunting, especially if you’re not a Type-A personality. If only we could all have a cleaning company.

From deep cleaning to everyday chores, this apartment cleaning guide will show you what to clean, how to clean it and those quick hacks that will make your life easier.

dusting floor

Everyday apartment cleaning checklist

Leaving all the cleaning to one day of the month won’t help you stay on top of things. It would help if you started building cleaning habits that you put into action every day. Here are a few cleaning tips that will help you do a little every single day.

Clean as you go to keep the apartment tidy

The key to this is to ‘put it away when you’re done with it.’ If you’re walking by your living room, fold up the blankets, take any clothes to your laundry hamper and quickly puff up your throw pillows.

If you go to the bedroom to get something, grab the laundry hamper and start a load of laundry or bring your laptop or books, you left in the kitchen with you.

When you’re in the bathroom, check the trash can, open the shower curtain to let it air out and keep a box of disinfecting wipes on top of the toilet so you can quickly clean the sink as you’re standing there. Any spills that sit overnight will be harder to clean later. It all takes a few minutes and will shave off time spent on cleaning every weekend.

Concentrate on one room

While you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner, start cleaning all countertops as you wait for the water to begin boiling or empty the dishwasher so you can start to load it as soon as dinner is ready. Make a note to check the trash every night and take it out if it’s full.

If it’s the weekend and you have time, go ahead and work your way from top to bottom in the kitchen or bathroom. Start by clearing out any debris from countertops, backsplash, reorganizing and then clean the floors.

Keep a cleaning tote and garbage bag with you

A quick hack is to have cleaning wipes nearby for the kitchen and bathroom so you can quickly do the task at hand. If you have to think about it, you’ll procrastinate. But another similar hack is to have a cleaning tote.

As you move from room to room, you can take the tote with you — include rags, cleaning sprays, sponges, dusters and anything else you use to deep clean. Also, bring a garbage bag along with you so you can throw out any excess trash lying around and maybe even declutter a few items as you go.

deep cleaning

How to deep clean your apartment

Sometimes, despite cleaning a little every day, those tough stains stick around, and you have to call in reinforcements. You can get rid of weird smells and avoid deep scrubbing with a few household items — some of them are pantry items, too!

Clean your dishwasher monthly

Dishwashers need to be cleaned too! You’re putting dirty plates, grease and so much more every time you run a cycle and mildew, or food residue will build up over time. Luckily it’s easy to do — no scrubbing need it. First, run a wash cycle with a small dish of white vinegar placed on the dishwasher’s top shelf to sanitize the interior.

Once that’s done, sprinkle baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher to deodorize the inside and run another wash cycle.

Deodorize your garbage disposal

A foul-smelling garbage disposal can indeed linger in the air and make your clean apartment smell terrible. A quick hack using lemons and white vinegar can help you get rid of it. Use an ice cube tray, fill each one with white vinegar and tiny lemon chunks, and then wait for it to freeze.

When needed, drop one of the frozen cubes in and run warm water for a minute or so while the disposal is on.

No bending required to clean that oven

After that frozen pizza you made, your oven looks extra greasy dirty. But who wants to spend a few hours bent down to scrub off grease and gunk in the range? You can clean your oven while you do other kitchen tasks. If you know your oven model, check the internet for cleaning instructions or follow these instructions.

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, set a medium-sized pot of water to boil on the stovetop. Once the oven preheats, turn it off. If you have a gas stove, make sure the pilot light extinguishes as soon as you have finished preheating the oven.
  2. Once your oven is preheated, and the water is boiling, pour one cup of ammonia (use gloves!) into a shallow baking dish and place it on the top rack of your oven. Place the pot of boiling water on the bottom shelf.
  3. Leave it in there for a minimum of three hours
  4. Once the ammonia has had enough time to loosen any messes inside the oven, remove the ammonia and water. Add a small amount of dish soap to the ammonia, and use the soapy ammonia mixture and a sponge to wipe away any grease or grime. It should be relatively easy since the ammonia loosened the stains.

Don’t forget about your other appliances when cleaning your apartment

While the stove is always top of mind for cleaning, don’t forget about your other appliances. It’s still good to empty the refrigerator, check expiration dates and give the shelves a good scrub with a little dish soap and a sponge. Or grab a disinfecting spray and clean the inside of the microwave — those greasy stains can go everywhere.

If you have a coffee machine, fill the reservoir with half white vinegar and half water and run the brew cycle to get rid of any mildew that may be building up in there.

Other things to deep clean

As you wait for things to soak, here are a few things you can quickly do as you move from room to room.

  • Walk around with your disinfecting spray and clean all the doorknobs, trash cans, light switches, handles and faucets to eliminate any lingering bacteria.
  • Throw your shower curtain in the shower with some OxiClean or half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of laundry detergent to get rid of any mold.
  • Clean the toilet seat and the bowl. Add a cleaning pod to the toilet tank to get any remaining things off in the next few flushes. Keep a little cleaning station next to the toilet to make the task easier.
  • Change your bedsheets and drop the other ones in the washer along with the rest of your laundry.
  • Walk around with the duster and clean all picture frames, surfaces, windowsills, coffee tables and even around the TV.
  • Don’t forget to vacuum under the couch and bed and move furniture around to get every corner of your rug clean.
  • If you have a fan, don’t skip the ceiling fan blades. Grab a damp dust cloth, start from the center and wipe out to catch everything in your fabric.
  • If you have a work station, grab a disinfecting wipe and clean your keyboard, mouse and other desk surfaces. Use a keyboard cleaner to remove any crumbs or dust.

cleaning schedule

An apartment cleaning schedule will become your best friend

It’s OK if you don’t dust your shelves and scrub your countertops daily. Many of us don’t have the time to stay on top of these cleaning tasks. But building a routine through a schedule can help!

Here’s a sample schedule that covers some weekly basics, and then you can leave deep cleaning and dirty work for Saturdays.

  • Monday: Sweep and mop hard surfaces
  • Tuesday: Scrub the toilet and shower
  • Wednesday: Wipe down the refrigerator and oven
  • Thursday: Wash the bedroom linens
  • Friday: Dust furniture and clean windows

Apartment cleaning doesn’t have to be awful

Building your ultimate apartment cleaning habits may take a few tries, but once you get to know your apartment and know precisely what demands your attention every day, cleaning will get a little easier. From building a daily schedule to picking up as you go, these cleaning tips will help you get your apartment sparkling clean and not just for spring.


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