Inside: Is your messy house driving you mad? Causing you to be short-tempered and frustrated? Use these 4 expert cleaning tips to learn how to deep clean your house fast without the fuss.
As I stepped over piles of laundry on the floor to answer the door, heat crept up my neck to my cheeks. The conversation was lost in my mind as panic coursed through my veins. My house was a disaster.
Toys engulfed the living room floor, spaghetti clung to the wall, piles of laundry found their home on the couch, and dust bunny colonies formed in all corners of the house.
Smiling and nodding, I tried to be interested in the conversation taking place, but the embarrassing state of my house was all I could focus on…
- My house is a disaster. What if they ask to come in?
- Dust is literally raining like confetti from my ceiling fan. Please don’t judge me.
- I wonder how much an all-inclusive in Mexico would cost this time of year…
What Living in a Cluttered, Messy House Does to Your Mind
The dishes piling up and a week’s worth of laundry sitting on the couch wasn’t what threw me over the edge.
Dishes can be washed, laundry can be folded (or, more likely, re-washed and then folded), and the floors can be swept.
I knew how to do all of that.
The problem was I didn’t know where to start and I didn’t know how to separate my tasks.
So much needed to be done, which meant my mind compiled everything into one gigantic task.
My house wasn’t always a pigsty.
Laundry used to get folded as soon as the dryer chimed, dishes got washed exactly 3 seconds after the last bite was taken, and the floors didn’t even know what a crumb was. But that felt like a lifetime ago, and at this point having a house that clean felt like a delusion.
With so much to do, even the mere thought of loading dishes into the dishwasher engulfed me.
I was embarrassed about letting my house become such a disaster. At the time, I didn’t realize my reaction to living in a cluttered and messy house was not unique.
A study done in 2010 concluded that women who viewed their homes as cluttered and needing work had increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), were fatigued, and more likely to be depressed.
The study found that women with messy, cluttered homes had cortisol levels that rose throughout the day, whereas those who weren’t feeling stressed by the state of their house had cortisol levels that dropped during the day.
Want to skip the entire post and just get the room-by-room home deep cleaning checklist? Grab it below.
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But Here’s the Problem
On top of adding unnecessary stress to my life, the clutter was also isolating me, making me unproductive, unable to focus, and triggering allergies, among other things.
When our house was a disaster, I rarely invited guests over because I was embarrassed by the mess.
To ice the isolation cake, I didn’t often get out of the house, either, other than to run occasional errands because I felt guilty for doing “fun” stuff when I should be home cleaning.
Our messy home had made me turned me into a tired, stressed, and tightly-wound, monster of a person.
Psychology Today mentions that clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both mentally and physically, because clutter signals to our brains that there’s always something more to do. It tells us the work is never fully done.
This is Why It’s So Hard to Clean a Messy House
It’s a thousand times more difficult to clean up a messy house when all you can think is, “help! My house is a disgusting mess!” because when your mind is overwhelmed, it’s next to impossible to think straight.
And when you can’t think straight… nothing gets done.
Here is the real reason why you can’t keep your house clean:
You have too much stuff.
…and all that stuff is sabotaging your ability to focus.
Have you ever noticed when you go into your cluttered living room, your first instinct is to leave the room?
That’s because the mess – the clutter – distracts our minds and draws our attention away from what we’re supposed to be focusing on.
Psychology Today states,
“Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.”
Have you ever felt overpowered by the mess in your house and you don’t know why? The reason we often feel like this is because clutter signals to the brain that our work isn’t done.
When we live in clutter, our brain is constantly overwhelmed because our work is never done.
In other words, it’s next to impossible to completely relax when the house is a mess.
When was the last time you were truly able to sit down on the couch with a good book and a hot coffee in hand and not feel guilty about it? When you didn’t have the nagging at the back of your mind telling you you should be cleaning your house?
Download: Free Printable Deep Cleaning Checklist
Here’s How to Deep Clean Your House When Overwhelmed by the Mess
If your house looks about as good as the toy aisle in Walmart after a stampede of 5-year-olds rummage through it, here’s how to deep clean your house without getting overwhelmed or spending the next 3 weeks of your life cleaning.
>> Looking for the best cleaning supplies? These rags are a must-have on my list.
How to Deep Clean The House Like an Expert, Fast
Ready to learn how to deep clean your house fast? These 4 expert tips will blow your mind. Here we go.
1. Make a Game Plan
– Self Planner (or another type of notebook)
– 15 minutes
First thing’s first –
Before you dive headfirst into an epic housecleaning battle that leaves you crying into your cleaning bucket out of frustration (or is that just me?), you need to sit down and create a plan of attack.
Working towards something when you don’t have a roadmap – a plan – is a thousand times harder than working towards something when you have all the steps laid out.
You know where you want to be. But actually getting there? That’s where it all falls apart.
When creating your game plan, you want something that won’t take too long to complete, isn’t too difficult, and looks and feels achievable.
In other words, your game plan needs to be dumbed down. It needs to be S-I-M-P-L-E. This is no time to show off your fancy flowchart making talents.
The whole point of having a game plan is so you can do things right the first time around, so you don’t have any mistakes you need to go back and fix (like re-cleaning rooms that didn’t get cleaned properly).
Your house cleaning game plan needs to be simple, but there’s a catch. It can’t be so simple that all it is is a piece of paper that says, “I want my house to be cleaner.”
Well, yeah. Of course you do. (Don’t we all?)
A successful house cleaning plan of attack will include:
- What order you will clean your house in
- Main goal
- Cleaning supplies needed
Your cleaning game plan takes you from where you are to where you want to be. It’s all the hidden steps from A to Z.
Let’s quickly go over each aspect of a successful house cleaning plan of action:
>> What order you will clean your house in
This is deciding what room you’ll start with, what room you’ll end with, and in what order every other room will fit in there.
Having an order in which you’ll clean your house will eliminate double cleaning (cleaning somewhere that has already been cleaned) and will stop you from running back and forth from one area of the house to another, wasting time.
In this guide that teaches you how to deep clean your house, we’re going to be using “Zone Cleaning” rather than “Task Cleaning”.
We’ll talk about the difference between the two further down in the post, and why zone cleaning is the best possible choice for deep cleaning your house, despite what people may say.
The timeline is how long you want to spend cleaning each different room in your house. Since you’ve figured out the order you’ll clean the rooms in, it’s now time to decide how long you’ll spend cleaning each room.
Your timeline isn’t a rule. If you say you’ll spend 30 minutes in the kitchen and it’s already been 29 and you’re not even close to being done, keep going and try to save time elsewhere in the house.
The timeline is to give you a baseline so you don’t get distracted and don’t end up taking all day doing something that should only take you 15 minutes to do. It’s a little extra kick of encouragement to keep you moving along.
>> Main goal
Everyone needs a goal to work towards.
What’s your goal?
(Try to make it more than “to clean my house”. Think about why you want to have a clean house, how will it make you feel? What is the reason you’re working so hard towards deep cleaning your house?)
>> Cleaning supplies needed
This. Is. Crucial. If you start cleaning only to realize halfway through you’re missing necessary supplies and you have to stop what you’re doing to either hunt them down, run to the store to buy them you will lose all your cleaning momentum.
It will be gone.
Take time now to write down the cleaning supplies you will need, then go gather them.
The deadline is the time or date you want to have your house deep cleaned by.
The timeline we spoke about earlier was how long you plan on spending in each room and area, the deadline is when you will be done everything by – no exceptions.
Ready to make your awesome home deep cleaning game plan? Grab a self planner before you start.
Bottom line: Making a game plan is possibly the most important step in the entire home deep cleaning process, but keep in mind that you don’t want to get too caught up on this step and hinder yourself from moving forward. Spend enough time on this step to create a detailed, achievable, plan that excites you, but don’t spend so much time on it that you lose all your cleaning motivation before you even start.
>> Download the FREE Deep Cleaning Checklist as a bonus for joining my newsletter: Printable Home Deep Cleaning Checklist For Every Room
2. Do a Quick “Shallow Clean”
When I first set out to learn the proper way to deep clean my house so I could do it speedily and still do a good job, I realized I had been cleaning our house wrong all these years.
Not only was I not making a game plan to track my process and spend less time cleaning inefficiently, but I also was jumping right into cleaning without doing a shallow clean first.
Frustrated because it took me hours, if not days, to do a simple deep clean of our house, I started paying attention to what was making the deep clean take so long.
What I learned was by trying so hard to spend less time cleaning, I was creating more work for myself and making the process longer because I didn’t take time to prepare my house for the clean.
I learned a quick “shallow clean” is necessary to make the deep cleaning process easier.
All a shallow clean is is going through each room and area of your house to remove clutter and out-of-place items and throw out the trash. Preparing your house to be cleaned will make the cleaning go faster.
Attempting to clean a messy house will take you far longer than spending a few minutes prior to cleaning to tidy the house.
It all boils down to this:
The less stuff you have in your house, the easier it will be to clean.
Since we’re not talking about clearing unnecessary clutter out of your house today (if you need help with decluttering, grab your easy decluttering guide here), all your shallow clean should consist of is throwing out obvious trash and putting belongings in their proper rooms of the house.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for doing a shallow clean in your house:
First, grab a large garbage bag (this brand is more difficult to rip and what I recommend over the cheap, flimsy bags) and a basket (you can use an empty laundry hamper or one of these baskets and can use it later as home decor), and grab one cardboard box or extra garbage bag, then…
- Set a 10-minute timer (the goal of your shallow clean is to be quick)
- Go into each room of your house and scan the room
- Place any obvious garbage into the trash bag
- Place any items that are in the wrong room into the basket
- Put the items in the basket where they belong in your house
- Take the trash bag out to the garbage can
If during the process you come across any items you realize you no longer need or want, but you don’t want to throw out, place them into the extra garbage bag or cardboard box to bring to a donation center later.
Pro tip: One thing many families struggle with is misplaced shoes. Not only do these shoes create a messy atmosphere in your house, but they also drag dirt into your house, causing you to have to clean more often. You can solve this problem by placing a shoe rack – like this 3-tier rack – by your front door to encourage your family members to place their shoes on the rack, instead of wearing them into the house.
Grab your printable deep cleaning checklist so you can start cleaning the rooms in your house as soon as you’ve finished reading this post >>
3. Zone Clean
Many times when people (I) do a boring chore, we tend to lose interest in the task at hand and start to float from one task to the next, starting endless tasks and projects but never fully finishing any of them.
(The load of laundry that is still in the dryer from 4 days ago? The sinkful of half-washed dishes? The half-vacuumed kitchen floor? And the bathroom that has a clean toilet… but that’s the only clean thing in there.)
We do this because we want to feel like we’re doing something. It’s a way of feeling like we’re busy, without actually doing much.
“The most productive and efficient people are those that “own their day” versus letting their day own them. They work to maximize their time to be as productive as possible, not just busy.” – Forbes
These are the two most popular types of cleaning:
- Zone cleaning (what we will be doing)
- Task cleaning
Zone cleaning is focusing on one particular zone (room or area) at a time before moving on. Meaning, if you chose to clean the kitchen first, you would deep clean the kitchen from top to bottom – leaving nothing out – before moving on to another area or room in the house.
Task cleaning is when you focus on one particular task – instead of room or area – at a time and do it all over the house before moving on to another task. For example, if you chose dusting as your task to focus on, you would do all the dusting throughout every room and area of the house before moving on to the next cleaning task.
The reason we use zone cleaning for this home deep cleaning method is because it offers a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to keep moving.
For example, you’ll focus on one particular room of your house at a time – say the office – and clean it vigorously.
You’ll work the office over until it’s sparkling before you move to anywhere else in your house, then once you’re done in the office you can leave the room and never have to return (for the course of the deep clean, anyway).
You can close the door behind you to the room that is completely cleaned and not worry about it for the rest of the clean.
Task cleaning offers more opportunity to miss cleaning things, to clean things twice, to clean things in the wrong order, and you’ll also waste time walking around from room to room rather than working in one condensed area and cutting down on the amount of time spent walking from room to room.
Whereas zone cleaning will allow you to work hard in one area until it’s completed, and then move on and not enter that area again.
“But doesn’t zone cleaning take more time than task cleaning?”
Yes – it can.
If you were doing a normal weekly house cleaning, I would recommend you use task cleaning for that exact reason. When you work by task, you’ll be able to clean your house faster.
However, when you’re doing a complete deep clean of your house, small wins keep you motivated to continue cleaning.
If you spend an hour dusting every surface, knick-knack, and baseboard in your house, you’re going to have nothing to show for it and you will lose your motivation because you won’t see the progress you’re making.
When you spend an hour or less deep cleaning an entire room from top to bottom you will be able to see what you’ve accomplished and you’ll see the difference it’s made, which is exactly what you need to keep on going.
How to zone clean your house:
- Use the game plan you created in step 1 to determine which room you’ll start with
- Grab all the cleaning supplies you’ll need to clean everything in that particular room
- Set a timer (based on how long you think it should take you to clean the room)
- Get to work and don’t leave that room or move on to a different task until the room is done
- Once done, close the door (if possible) and don’t enter the room until the rest of the house is done
Bottom line: You want to use zone cleaning to deep clean your house, but don’t spend so much time cleaning one area that you run out of time or lose motivation to clean the rest of your house. Use a timer to keep yourself on track. Set it for how long you think it will take you to clean each room, and if the timer goes off and you’re not done, use it as a reminder to hurry and finish up so you don’t get behind schedule.
4. Use This Printable Deep Cleaning Checklist
You’ve created your game plan and set goals as well as a deadline for when you want to be done by, you’ve done a quick shallow clean to get rid of the clutter and prep your house for the big deep clean, you’ve learned how to zone clean to ensure you effectively clean each and every room in your house without losing motivation.
Now, it’s time to start cleaning by following this free printable deep cleaning checklist that will help you learn how to deep clean your house effectively, will keep you on track, and will act as your accountability partner.
Wrapping it All Up in a Pretty Bow
Over the years, I’ve learned one important thing:
It’s better to have a functioning home than a perfect one.
In other words, being so wrapped up in having your house look perfect and spotless is unhealthy. Having a home that is tidy – not perfect – and is livable is far more important.
From time to time, toys still engulf my living room floor. But at least the spaghetti is cleaned off the wall.
Getting Things Done
Now that you’ve learned how to deep clean your house, it’s time to get started. First, read through the section below to learn what cleaning supplies you should have on hand, then print off your cleaning schedule and get ready to get dirt under your fingernails.
If you’ve still got house cleaning questions, scroll below the “cleaning supplies” section to find answers to some of the most common house cleaning questions.
- Dusting rags – I use and recommend these cloths as they repel dust from surfaces they wipe so you don’t have to dust as often. They can run a bit pricey, however, so these ones can be used as an alternative.
- Toilet brush
- Spray bottles
- White vinegar
- All-purpose cleaner – this brand is all-natural
- Disinfectant – these wipes work too
- Extendable duster (optional)
- Blind duster (optional)
- Baseboard buddy (optional)
Common Questions: How to Deep Clean Your House + The Answers You Need
Here are the answers to some of the most common house deep cleaning questions from a housekeeping professional:
- How to Deep Clean Your House in 2 hours
- Deep Cleaning House Checklist + Deep Cleaning House Checklist for Housekeeper
- Deep Cleaning House Tips
- How Long Does it Take to Deep Clean a House? + What is the Fastest Way to Deep Clean a House?
- How often should a house be deep cleaned?
- What is included in a deep house cleaning?
- How do you clean your house like a pro?
- Can a messy house cause anxiety?
- How can I get motivated to clean my house?
- How long should it take to clean a room?
- When cleaning a house where do you start?
- Should I dust or vacuum first?
- What do professional window cleaners use to clean windows?
- What cleaning products do professional cleaners use?
How to Deep Clean Your House in 2 Hours
The easiest way to deep clean your house fast is to keep it as simple as possible.
Start out by using a notepad to make a list of everything that needs to be cleaned and using a checklist, this way you won’t be wasting time trying to remember what has already been cleaned and what still needs to be cleaned, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning things in the wrong order (like vacuuming the floors before dusting baseboards).
Deep Cleaning House Checklist + Deep Cleaning House Checklist for Housekeeper
You can get a free printable house deep cleaning checklist here as a bonus for joining my mailing list.
This printable deep cleaning checklist includes everything in your house that needs to be included in a whole-house deep clean as well as a few bonus items to do while deep cleaning your house that shouldn’t be forgotten about.
This is the perfect checklist whether you’re printing it off to use yourself, or whether you’re looking for the perfect deep cleaning house checklist for your housekeeper that includes everything you want to have cleaned in your house.
Deep Cleaning House Tips
Here is a list of 21 house cleaning tips you can use when deep cleaning your house to work efficiently and get more done in less time.
How Long Does it Take to Deep Clean a House? + What is the Fastest Way to Deep Clean a House?
The amount of time it takes to deep clean a house varies greatly on a couple of different factors – how big the house is, how much stuff is in the house, and how much time you have.
If your house is 5 beds and 4 baths, it will be lengthier than a bachelor suite to deep clean.
However, if that bachelor suite is cluttered and has stuff everywhere but the larger house is minimalist and only has the essentials, the larger house could take less time to deep clean.
Most general deep cleans take anywhere from 2 hours up to 8 hours, though they can extend up to a couple of days.
The fastest way to deep clean a house is to follow the 4 steps we laid out above:
- Make a plan
- Shallow clean
- Focus on zones
- Follow this checklist
This way you’re not wasting time wondering what to clean next or trying to remember whether you’ve already cleaned something or not. You also won’t waste time walking numerous laps around your house as you would with “task cleaning”.
How Long Should it Take to Clean a Room?
Deep cleaning a room will take much longer than a regular, weekly clean, but there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to how long it should take to clean a room.
Different rooms will take different amounts of time to clean.
The more stuff that’s in a room, the longer it will take to clean. There will be more stuff to clean around, behind, and beneath. Rooms with less stuff will take much less time to clean.
To make sure you’re not spending too much time cleaning one room, go refer back to the game plan you created in Step 1 and look at when you want to be finished cleaning your entire house by.
Now, split that up by the number of rooms and areas you have to clean in your house.
Now, take it one step further by figuring out which rooms you think will take the longest to clean, and which rooms will be quicker. Eliminate a few minutes from the quicker rooms and put those extra minutes towards rooms you assume you will need more time to clean.
That is an estimate of how much time you have to spend cleaning each room.
How Often Should a House be Deep Cleaned?
As long as you’re keeping your house clean every week by doing a regular weekly clean, your house should only need to be deep cleaned twice a year.
I recommend deep cleaning in the spring and in the fall.
Doing a whole-house deep clean twice a year won’t be so time-consuming that it makes it feel like that’s all you do with your life, but it’s frequent enough that it keeps your home fresh, running smoothly, and clean.
What is Included in a Deep House Cleaning?
A deep clean includes everything in your weekly cleaning tasks, as well as everything else. Like, deep cleaning the carpets, cleaning the furniture (leather and cloth), cleaning windows, cleaning behind furniture, cleaning light fixtures, blinds, drapes, mattresses, etc.
In a whole-house deep cleaning, you clean everything in your house.
Since it only happens twice a year, you don’t want to forget anything or your house will continue building up bacteria and grime until the next time you do a deep clean.
To see everything included in a home deep clean, grab your free printable deep cleaning checklist here.
How Do You Clean Your House Like a Pro?
Not having to deal with the mess in your house by getting it professionally deep cleaned would be ideal – but hiring a house cleaning professional to come clean your house can get pricey, fast. Here are a few things you can do to deep clean your house like an expert cleaner:
- Use the right tools. Professional house cleaners aren’t using a broom with a rag tied over the end to dust baseboards (even though it can work). They’ve invested in the right, good-quality cleaning tools they need and can use repeatedly. (We’ll talk about what tools you need to deep clean your house below.)
- Start with a tidy room. Cleaning a house that’s a jumbled mess will take you much longer than cleaning a tidy house. (Not clean, but tidy.) Professional house cleaners like to start cleaning a space that’s organized. This is what we talk about in step 2 above – the Shallow Clean. Put your belongings in their designated places, clean up the laundry, and pick things up off of the floor.
- Keep cleaning supplies together. So you don’t waste time running around your house trying to find the toilet bowl cleaner, use a cleaning caddy like this to keep all your cleaning supplies together in one place.
- Clean in the right order. Don’t mop the floor before dusting the ceiling fan. Clean every room and area in your house from top to bottom, and left to right.
Can a Messy House Cause Anxiety?
Studies have been done that show stress levels throughout the day typically taper down as the day goes on. However, stress levels, particularly in women whose homes were cluttered and messy, continually rose throughout the day.
Sherri Bourg Carter writes on Psychology Today and mentions cluttered homes can leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. She goes on to say:
“Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.”
How Can I Get Motivated to Clean my House?
Losing motivation to clean a house – or not having any to start out with – is one of the main reasons why so many people put off cleaning their homes for so long.
Many factors play into the reason why you’re lacking cleaning motivation, like:
- Too busy/Not enough time
- Worn out
- You’ve put it off for so long already
- Or, you simply hate cleaning
Whatever the reason why you’re lacking cleaning motivation, you can learn how to get it back and get motivated to clean your house here.
When Cleaning a House, Where Do You Start?
With. Your. Game. Plan.
I can’t stress this enough. Your game plan that you created in Step 1 of this how to deep clean your house guide is exactly what will determine whether you will successfully deep clean your house, or whether you’re just going to waste your time.
While there’s no right answer for where to start cleaning a house, you could determine the order you’ll clean your house by picking a room to start in (the entryway, kitchen, bathroom, etc.) and working your way around the house clockwise from there, hitting each room and area in order and ending back where you started.
How do I deep clean Stainless Steel Appliances?
Stainless steel appliances are some of the most difficult to keep clean. I learned a trick for cleaning stainless steel to make it look brand new back when I worked as a housekeeper and it’s one trick I still use to this day.
I have a detailed guide here on how to keep stainless steel appliances clean and smudge-free.
Should I Dust or Vacuum First?
The simple answer is: Dust.
The reason you want to dust before vacuuming is because if you were to vacuum, then go back and dust your house, you’d be knocking the dust off of surfaces onto your freshly-vacuumed floors, causing all your efforts of vacuuming to be wasted time.
What or where you’re cleaning doesn’t matter. What does matter is this – clean a room from top to bottom. This way you’ll never be knocking dirt or dust onto surfaces you’ve already cleaned.
What Do Professional Window Cleaners Use to Clean Windows?
However, if you want a more affordable window cleaning solution you can make a homemade window cleaning solution by mixing one part warm water to one part white vinegar and spraying it on the window.
What Cleaning Products do Professional Cleaners Use?
Here is a list of cleaning supplies expert cleaners use on a regular basis:
- White vinegar
- Window Squeegee Kit
- Microfiber rags
- Norwex mirror cloth
- Vacuum cleaner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Blind cleaners (or you can use tongs with dusting rags on each side)
- Steam cleaner
- Toilet wand
- Sponge/Bathtub scrub brush
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
- Rubber Cleaning Gloves
- Spray bottles
- Cleaning Caddy
Download Your Free Printable: Whole House Printable Deep Cleaning Checklist
Ready to start learning how to deep clean your house like an expert? Use this free deep cleaning checklist that has helped thousands of families deep clean their home in a day or less. Here’s how to get it for free:
- Download the deep cleaning checklist. As a bonus for joining my newsletter, you’ll get the free printable deep cleaning checklist. You can click here to download and subscribe.
- Print it off. Both color or black-and-white work for this list. It’s not the looks that matter, it’s using the checklist to keep yourself accountable and on track while you deep clean your house (even though I did go ahead and make the checklist super cute and fun). Don’t skip this step – remember, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.
- Use it. As you work your way through your house learning how to organize each room, keep the kit with you so that you can refer back to it often.
How to Deep Clean Your House… Your Turn
Do you have some hidden deep cleaning tips and tricks that make deep cleaning your house easier and more time-efficient? Feel free to share them in a comment below.
Related Articles to Help You Clean Your Home:
How to Clean a Top Load Washing Machine in 10 Steps
4 Tips to Make Your Stinky House Smell Good All the Time
How to Get Motivated to Clean Your House (when it’s a disgusting mess)