How often should you clean?

butler, Highclere Castle
Even if you don't have a mansion like Downton Abbey to clean, you probably still don't want to do it more than is necessary.
Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

I consider myself a pretty clean and tidy person. Throughout my workweek, I try my best to pick up after myself and do the daily maintenance necessary to keep my house clean; however, inevitably by the weekend, I'm taking on cleaning projects that take up the better part of a day. On my weekend! Just like clockwork, as the week winds down, the clutter in my house builds up. I can't help but imagine that I'm not alone in this seemingly insurmountable battle to keep my house in tip-top shape.

How often to clean a room in your house depends on the purpose of the room and how frequently you use it. Much as I try to convince myself that I am keeping my house clean daily, in reality, I could probably spend a little more time on the daily clean-ups so that I don't have a massive cleaning job every weekend. For those of us who don't love housework, the key to doing less overall, is to do a little more each day. And most of these daily tasks can be done in 30 minutes or less.


Let's start with the living room and bedroom. To give your bedroom a neat and tidy appearance, make your bed each day and straighten up any clutter that has accumulated. In your living spaces, wipe finger prints off shelves and tables, and tidy up general clutter every day. Once a week, dust the furniture, pictures, and electronic equipment, clean any mirrors and vacuum or sweep the floors.

That's good enough for those areas. But what about the spaces that tend to get messier more quickly, like your kitchen and bathroom? We'll explore those next.


How often should you clean your kitchen?

Kitchens are the most frequently used room in a house. Not only do we cook and eat, but we also hang out there. Since how often you clean your kitchen depends how much you use it, cleaning as you go is a good idea. For example, if you wash the dishes right after cooking a meal, they won't pile up.

Same thing with countertops and stovetops. Wipe them down each time you use them. Use a mild dishwashing liquid or kitchen spray to get rid of any stickiness or residue from spills. For tougher spots, use a scrub brush or pad to get rid of stains. Last, sweep the kitchen floor, so it doesn't get dirty again while cleaning other areas of the kitchen.


Other chores can be left for weekly. These include: wiping spills from cabinet doors and appliances, wiping the dish rack and mopping the floor. When you clean, pick a starting point (like the stove) and work top to bottom, left to right so that you don't miss any spots.

Ovens or refrigerators need a quick wipe whenever you spill food to prevent more intensive clean-ups in the future. If you cook with your oven frequently, give it a thorough cleaning every two to 12 weeks. If your oven is self-cleaning, run the self-cleaning feature and wipe away any remaining ash from your oven. If it is non-self-cleaning, use a brush and oven cleaner to wash away any food remnants. Remember to keep your kitchen well-ventilated when cleaning your oven.

In your refrigerator, monitor the expiration dates of food, and throw out as needed. Wipe down the shelves with water and mild dishwashing liquid at least once a month.


How often should you clean your bathroom?

bathroom sink, clean
Wipe out your bathroom sink once a week.
Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock

Although the bathroom might be your least favorite place to clean, it sure needs the attention. On a daily basis, keep moisture levels at a minimum to avoid mold and mildew by using an exhaust fan and letting it run after your shower ends. Keep your shower curtains open so that they can air out and hang up bathmats up to dry. Also, be sure to wipe down or squeegee shower walls and wipe off mirror splashes.

During your weekly bathroom clean-up, thoroughly wipe your bathtub and shower stall with warm water and a bathroom cleaner to eliminate any built-up dirt. If you do see mildew growth, use some bleach or a mildew remover to take it off. Look carefully at your shower head for any mildew build-up too and clean it off.


Wipe out sinks and faucets with bathroom cleaner; scrub out toilet bowls with a toilet bowl cleaner and toilet brush. Straighten up any clutter that has accumulated over the course of the week. Clean off mirrors, change towels, and scrub counters and any additional surfaces. Dust builds up gradually, so it's important frequently to wipe down surfaces before the dust is even visible. Sweep the floor to get rid of accumulated dirt and hair and mop out as needed. And don't forget to empty the wastepaper basket.

How often should you wash your sheets?

Even though changing your bed sheets is a task that can be easily ignored, frequently laundering of linens is an essential part of a healthy and clean home. After a short period of time, bed sheets can become full of dust mites, skin cells and oil, all of which can cause allergies and respiratory problems to flare up. Consider the fact that the average mattress houses 10 million dust mites. A two-year-old pillow gains 10 percent of its weight from dead dust mites, their droppings and carcasses. Pretty gross! However, if you frequently wash your sheets, you can shield yourself from some of this nasty debris.

There are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to washing bed sheets. Some people recommend that you wash them at least once every one to two weeks by using use detergent and water at a temperature of at least 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) to kill all of the nasty dust mites that might be living in your sheets. Others think that if you take a shower before bed and don't sleep with any pets, you can go longer -- even up to a month -- without changing your sheets.


On the other hand, some people say that since you're shedding tons of skin cells every night, you should change your pillowcases every couple of days and your sheets once a week. Unlike some of the other categories of household cleanliness, washing sheets depends more on your lifestyle, schedule and personal preferences. As long as you're changing your sheets with a fair amount of frequency, you'll eliminate some of the yucky stuff that accumulates in your bed.

Lots More Information

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  • Apartment Therapy. ( "How Often Do you Change Your Sheets." May 15, 2012).
  • Happy Living. "Cleaning the Kitchen." (May 15, 2012).
  • LoveLifeStyle. "How Often Should You Wash Your Bedsheets." (May 15, 2012).
  • McQuillan, Susan. How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?" Quality Life. February 1, 2011. (May 15, 2012).
  • OvenU. "How Often Should You Clean Your Oven." (May 24, 2012).
  • Real Simple. "Daily Cleaning Check List." (May 24, 2012).
  • Real Simple. "The Worst Cleaning Jobs Made Easy." (May 24, 2012).