Cleaning is one of those overwhelming tasks: you get that great sense of satisfaction when your home is looking spick and span, but a couple of days later, the clutter has piled up, there are dirty dishes to be washed, and the whole process starts again.

The good news is this: with a little forward planning, you can decide what to clean on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, so you can split up the tasks in the way that best suits you and your household.

The more organised we are, the less overwhelmed we feel, so it’s definitely worth sitting down with your diary and figuring out a system that works for you.

In this article, we’ll go through what needs to be cleaned when, so you can be more efficient with your cleaning, keep your home sparkling, and focus on what really matters. (Scroll down to end for the free printable checklist.) 

What to clean every day

To a certain extent, this depends on your definition of ‘clean’. If you’re one of those people who can’t relax until every last spoon is clean and returned to the drawer, and every last bit of clutter out of sight, you might have a couple of extra items on your daily to-do list. If you prefer to do more, less often, you can get away with performing most of these tasks every few days. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

In general, on a daily basis, we suggest:

Make the bed. It’s a simple one, but it’s said to make you more productive
Wash the dishes. This can depend on what you’re up to and how much time you spend in the house (if you’re lucky, you’ll only have a few plates and cups to wash), but if you’re tight for time, remember that washing your dishes can actually be meditative.

Wipe down the bathroom surfaces. This is something you can do before or after brushing your teeth, and only takes a minute or two. Keep a sponge and some natural bathroom cleaner to hand, and give the sink and shower or bath a quick wipe. No need to scrub hard: that’s for your weekly tasks!

Wash the dishes. This can depend on what you’re up to and how much time you spend in the house (if you’re lucky, you’ll only have a few plates and cups to wash), but if you’re tight for time, remember that washing your dishes can actually be meditative. 

Give kitchen appliances a quick wipe. This doesn’t have to happen every day, but it means that when you get round to doing a kitchen deep-clean, the job will be as easy as possible.

Do a quick sweep of items that may need to go in the laundry basket.

What to clean every week

When it comes to weekly cleaning, the goal is to be consistent, so that your home never gets that dirty. Carve out an hour or two at the weekend, or break your tasks into 15 minute chunks and spread them out over the week, so it feels less intensive. If you live with other people, make sure tasks are distributed equally, so everyone can contribute towards keeping your home clean.

Here’s what we recommend:

Hoover. This is actually important for your health: vacuuming gets rid of allergens from your home, like dust and mites. If you’ve got pets, it’s especially important to get rid of that shedded hair.

Dust surfaces. It’s something we don’t tend to think about, but when you’ve just dusted your shelves and bookcases, you’ll really see a difference. This is a good ‘quick win’ to make your space feel cleaner when you don’t have much time. And just like with vacuuming, dusting can ensure harmful bacteria doesn’t have a place to hide.

Mop the floors. This is a physical task, but it gives your floors that extra shine, and you’ll feel great once it’s done.

Change the beds. There’s nothing comfier than hopping into bed and luxuriating in your clean bedsheets.

Do the laundry. This one is worth spreading out throughout the week, so you never run out of clothes, towels or bedding.

What to clean every month

If you can bear it, we recommend planning in a deep-cleaning session once a month. As well as all the tasks listed above, it’s a good idea to clean your home appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher, to keep them in tip-top condition. This will save you money in the long run: well-mainted appliances don’t need to be replaced as regularly. We’ve written about this in our Knowledge Hub: click here for our run-down of cleaning your dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer.

Beyond that, we also suggest:

Emptying the vacuum cleaner. It’s one of those tasks we often forget, but will ensure it’s in perfect dust-sucking form.

Cleaning the furniture. If you’ve got children or pets, this one is particularly key. Deal with any small stains, and vacuum away hair and crumbs.

Dusting the lights. This one speaks for itself—and ensures your home stays cosy and bright during the darker months.

What to clean every 3-6 months

Don’t worry: the following tasks only come up once a quarter, or twice a year.

Every 3-6 months, you’ll want to:

Clean the oven. Luckily, we’ve written all about this sexy, enjoyable task in this article. (Okay, sorry for the sarcasm. It’s not that bad. You’ll get through it.)

Deep-clean your bed. That means the mattress, pillows and duvet. Another of those forgotten tasks, cleaning your bed will ensure bedbugs and mites stay far away.

Clean the fridge and freezer. Again, if we want our appliances to stay in good shape, we need to show them some TLC every once in a while.
Scrub every inch of the bathroom. Including the tiles and shower curtain (or shower glass). Find our best tips here.

What to clean every year

And for the really big tasks? Luckily, you’ll only have to do these once a year.

Clean the fireplace (if you have one).

Clean the windows—or get a professional in if you’re not able to do them yourself.

Deep-clean the carpet. You’ll be surprised at the grime and crumbs that gather, especially if you’ve got a shaggy carpet or don’t enforce a ‘shoes off’ policy in your home.

Pressure-clean outdoor places. This includes gutters, the outside of your home if necessary, and paths in your garden.

As will all aspects of cleaning your home, a lot depends on your personal preferences. Your home is your sacred space, somewhere to relax after a long and stressful day, so it’s worth learning to enjoy the cleaning process if you can.

If you’re looking for more information on cleaning your home, visit our Knowledge Base here and don't forget to get your FREE checklist here.