The Order to Clean a House- Room by Room Cleaning Checklist (Podcast or Post #15)

What is the best order to clean your house? Check out this room by room cleaning checklist, which you can read, listen to, and/or download. 

Today in episode #15 of the House Gone Sane Podcast or Post we’re going to talk about how to clean your house room by room and which tasks to do first.

(Below you can read the post or play the podcast version- about 16.5 mins.)


✅Download our FREE Daily Cleaning Roadmap. This a simple checklist version of the daily room by room cleaning tasks and order that we discuss today. And it includes pages where you can write down your own daily cleaning checklist and track when you do the tasks each month.

Play the audio for this podcast (above) or download it by clicking on the 3 dots to the right of the volume control. (Otherwise, you can read the post below.)

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Does it Matter What Order You Clean Your House In?

Some people might think the order you clean a room in doesn’t matter.

But that’s not true.

Now, there might be specific tasks that don’t make much of a difference, but there are definitely some cleaning tasks that will absolutely make a difference. 

Here are just 3 examples of how cleaning in the wrong order will cause problems. 

1.) If you wipe off/dust surfaces after you’ve cleaned the floor, your floor is likely going to get dirty again as you’re cleaning.

2.) If you were to mop first when the floor needed to be swept, you would end up having wet items or particles on the floor after mopping.

And if you tried to sweep immediately after, you would also have a difficult time sweeping a wet floor.

3.) If you go back and forth between different tasks instead of working on one task at a time in a logical order, you will end up wasting time. And it will take a lot longer to finish cleaning.

My goal is to help you manage your time better at home, including with your cleaning routine.

So I’m going to go through my cleaning checklist room by room, with the order I recommend you do tasks in.

And after that, I’ll share some general tips about cleaning in a logical way without overwhelming yourself. 

What Room Should You Clean First?

a woman sits on her floor with cleaning supplies trying to decide what to clean first

In general, I recommend starting in the kitchen because this is one of the most-used rooms in the house. 

The majority of people use the kitchen daily. It’s where we store and wash our dishes, where we keep and prepare food, and some people also eat in the kitchen.

The only exceptions I would make to you starting in your kitchen are:

1. If you don’t have a kitchen or because of repairs or whatever reason your kitchen is not usable

2. If you don’t regularly eat or cook at home

3. If you use disposable dishes and don’t cook regularly

In these scenarios, the kitchen may not be the most-used room or the logical place to start.

For most people, though, the kitchen is usually the room that needs primary attention on a daily basis.

The Order to Clean Your Kitchen

a woman's hands are seen washing the dishes in her kitchen

1.) Do the dishes.

Start by putting away any clean dishes that are dry.

If you have a dishwasher: load it with any dirty dishes. (Don’t forget to grab dishes that may be lying around the house in other rooms too.) 

Put any extra dirty dishes in your sink to wash later if your dishwasher is full.

Note: If you have a dishwasher and still have space for more dishes after this step, I suggest waiting till after the next step to start it. (You may come across more dishes that need to be washed from your fridge in step 2.)

If you don’t have a dishwasher: wash any already soaked dirty dishes or ones that don’t need soaking. Soak any remaining dishes in a dish pan with clean, hot water and a little dish soap. 

If you are doing dishes by hand and waiting for them to soak, move on to the next few tasks while you’re waiting and then come back to the dishes after they’ve soaked for at least 15 minutes.

Dishes can easily make your house look messy. And we also need to have clean dishes available to use daily, so they should be a priority on our cleaning checklist.

2.) Do a quick fridge clean-up.

Take out any empty containers, dispose of old food, and wipe down any spills/crumbs inside. 

If you recycle, rinse out and take care of any empty recyclables.

If you have a dishwasher: add in any dirty dishes/containers from your fridge, and then start it after.

(Or if your dishwasher is full or running, you can place them in the sink for the next load.)

If you don’t have a dishwasher: any dirty dishes/containers from your fridge can be hand washed or soaked up now.

Quickly checking your fridge daily and taking care of old food and any spills/messes will actually benefit you in the long-run. 

You won’t have to deal with weeks-old gross, moldy food, because you’ll be checking your fridge regularly. 

Also, you won’t need to deep-clean your fridge as often because you’ll be taking care of smaller spills and messes before they turn into bigger messes or sit for weeks and become harder to clean.

Checking your fridge for old food regularly will also remind you of what you have that needs to be eaten before it goes bad.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be deep-cleaning your fridge daily, but just quickly maintaining the cleanliness of it. (And this should actually help your refrigerator to need deep-cleanings less often.

3.) Wipe down/clean your counters, surfaces, & frequently-used appliances.

woman wiping down stove and kitchen appliances as part of a kitchen cleaning routine

Clear off any clutter from your counters and surfaces, put away any items that belong elsewhere, then wipe down counters and kitchen surfaces as needed.

It’s important to only work on one surface at a time.

I suggest working like a circle around the room- either clockwise or counterclockwise.

If you have open shelves, counters, or surfaces that are above other surfaces, always work on the higher surfaces first. 

Also, as you go, wipe down appliances you use often, (when they need to be cleaned,) such as the inside of your microwave and stove top. 

Wipe down your faucet and the inside of your sink if it’s empty.  (This is another reason why it’s beneficial to do your dishes first, because once you are caught up, your sink will be empty and easy to clean.)

Note: If you’re dealing with a really cluttered kitchen, check out our top 7 tips for decluttering your kitchen in this Podcast or Post.

4.) Clean the floor.

Pick up any clutter or trash on the floor. If there are items that belong elsewhere, put them where they go.

Sweep or vacuum, then mop or spot clean, if needed. 

5.) Take out the garbage.

Take out the trash and replace the bag, (if the bin is at least half full or starting to smell.)

If you have a recycling bin, you’ll want to take out any recyclable items as well.

The Order to Clean Your Bathroom  

a woman's hands are cleaning a bathroom sink

Note: Although I generally recommend that the kitchen should be cleaned first, I’m less particular about which room is cleaned next. That said, I did list the bathroom next because bathrooms can tend to get gross fast and therefore may need more attention than other rooms.

1.) Clean any mirrors or glass.

Spray and wipe these down as needed, with window cleaner & either paper-towel or a rag/dust cloth that’s not fuzzy.

If you have anything nearby that could accidentally get sprayed that you definitely don’t want window cleaner on, move it first. (For example, I move my toothbrushes out of the way that sit under my bathroom mirror.)

2.) Clean any surfaces- open shelves or counters.

First clear off any unnecessary clutter, putting it where it goes.
And then as needed, wipe down any counters, surfaces, and shelves. 

3.) Clean your sink, shower/tub, & toilet. 

Clean any areas that need attention. I recommend doing the toilet last. 

For cleaning the sink & shower/tub, I personally like using Brillo Estracell sponges and a little bit of blue Dawn dish detergent.

Then I rinse the clean areas with warm/hot water and wipe them dry.

For cleaning the toilet, I recommend using a toilet brush that is designed to clean under the rim and I either use dawn dish detergent or something like Lysol toilet bowl cleaner.

4.) Replenish bathroom supplies.

For example, refill the toilet paper and hand soap if needed.

At least once a week or whenever needed, replace your hand towel(s) and bath mat with clean ones. Make sure any dirty ones go in the hamper after they’re dry. 

5.) Clean the floor.

First, pick up any clutter and put it where it belongs. 

Next, sweep or vacuum when needed. 

And finally, mop or spot clean if needed. You can wipe down the floor with a sponge or wipe, if that’s easier, depending on the size and setup of your bathroom and what type of flooring you have.

6.) Take out the garbage.

Remove the trash bag if it is at least halfway full or stinks, and replace the bag. 

The Order to Clean Bedrooms, Living Areas, & Other Rooms

a woman makes her bed as she completes her bedroom cleaning checklist in order

1.) Clean any mirrors or glass.

Spray and wipe these down with window cleaner & either paper-towel or a rag that’s not fuzzy, as needed.

If you have any items nearby that you definitely don’t want window cleaner on, move them out of range first. 

2.) Make up & clean any beds or sofas.

Clear off any items that don’t belong, straighten up any pillows, and change any sheets or covers when needed. 

If needed, vacuum or spot clean any mattresses or couches.

3.) Clean any surfaces/tables. 

Clear off any unnecessary clutter, and wipe down any frequently-used counters, tables, surfaces, and open shelves, as needed.

I recommend working in a circular way, focusing on one surface at a time, (such as working around the room clockwise or counter-clockwise.)

4.) Clean the floor.

Pick up any clutter or trash.

Sweep or vacuum the floor, then mop or spot clean, if needed. (You may choose to do all the floors from multiple rooms at once.)

5.) Change the garbage. 

If the trash bin is at least half full or is starting to smell, take out the garbage and replace the bag. 

10 Tips for Cleaning Using a Daily Cleaning House Checklist

a clipboard for a cleaning checklist, a green dust cloth and spray bottles for cleaning

1.) Based on the proper order to clean each room, build a routine you do every day.

You can download and print our free Daily Cleaning Roadmap which has the room by room order we just went over, but also has space to make your own personalized checklist.

2.) Focus your daily routine on visible areas of the house that get messy quickly. 

The visible areas of the house are used more frequently, and it is self-motivating when you see the results of your work.

3.) Focus on one task and one area at a time, working on your checklist in order.

This will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed, to finish tasks more efficiently, and to get done faster. Task-switching can actually hurt your productivity.

4.) Every day you clean, do any tasks in your routine that need to be done, even if they barely need to be done. 

For example, if there are 2 crumbs on the table, wipe them up. But if something is already 100% clean and presentable, you can skip the task for that day.

5.) Use a countdown timer, and resolve to clean for a set amount of time on your cleaning days, doing your routine in order.

Set a timer with the amount of time you have to clean each day. This will help you to stick to a schedule and to stay more focused during your cleaning session.

It also helps to eliminate overwhelm because you have permission to stop once the timer goes off.

Make sure you also take breaks when needed.

6.) Know that even if you are cleaning more often, it will take less time to do tasks that you are staying on top of daily.

Note: I use the word ‘daily’ to mean most days, not literally every single day of the year. It’s okay to take days off sometimes.

Personally, I clean 6 out of 7 days each week, because we take a weekly day of rest. Unless there are unusual circumstances, though, I try not to take off consecutive days in row.

The point is, if you are cleaning most days, your house will stay cleaner and more presentable. And it will take you less time to keep up with your home.

7.) When cleaning surfaces, always start with the highest first to avoid re-cleaning lower surfaces. 

woman wiping down higher shelf

Dust and dirt will often fall from higher shelves onto lower surfaces or the floor.

So if you clean the floor before you dust, there’s a decent chance it’ll need to be swept again after dusting.

8.) Consider adding laundry and filing mail and papers to your daily routine so these don’t get out of control.

If you don’t wash laundry daily, at least make sure you have designated spots for dirty clothing (for example, large enough hampers that fit everything,) until you wash them. 

9.) It may be more practical for you to clean all of the floors in your home at once and/or to take out the trash from multiple rooms at once.

You may decide to focus on just one room at a time, like how we broke it down.

But if you can get through your whole house at the same time, it may save time doing all the floors or garbage at once, as far as the areas that need to be done at that time.

10.) There are no set-in-stone rules of the order you should do things.

These are just suggestions, and while they work well most of the time, do what works best for you and your home.  

So those are the tips for using a daily cleaning routine, and the recommended order of what to clean room by room.

The room by room checklist is designed more for day-to-day upkeep so your house is generally clean and visually appealing. (Periodically, you will want to do a more thorough deep-cleaning or spring-cleaning, as needed, for tasks that don’t need to be done weekly or monthly.)

✅Don’t forget to download our free Daily Cleaning Roadmap to build your own daily cleaning checklist and keep track of it each month.

If you sign up & stay subscribed, we’ll also notify you whenever we publish new Podcasts or Posts.

Next time on our Podcast or Post, we’re going to talk about tips for decluttering clothing.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading!


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