Daily Cleaning Ritual

As promised, here is my daily cleaning ritual. It takes me about 45 minuets to complete and I follow this schedule about 4 days a week. In addition to what I listed, I always try to get one thing from my "Deep Clean" list done too. I'll publish that later this week in honor of spring cleaning.

If you devote just a little time each day to tidying up the house, it never turns into such a big mess that you can't have it sparkling in just a few minuets. If you've followed my blog, you know that I have an obsession with our gorgeous wood floors. We've got 2 cats and an infant on the way, so every speck of dirt, hairball, dust bunny shows up with freakish clarity.

On a normal day I work from home during the day time and I end up finishing up with my projects about 6pm. I usually find out when S will get back from work and give the whole house a 45 minuet tidying about an hour before he is supposed to get back. That way, there is plenty of me time, the house is spotless for our evening, and If we have any surprise guests (which happens more than you'd think), they are always impressed with the state of our home. Its a nice system I've got going on here.

A couple of tips before I go into the routine. I like to keep a bucket filled with all my supplies with me while Im doing most of the cleaning. This really helps to cut down on the time it takes to switch tasks. I timed it once (for a blogger challenge...not because Im crazy! I swear it!) and you would not believe the amount of time it takes to gather the sprays and towels you use for each task mid-cleaning, or throw out the paper towels you've used, or toss old papers in the garbage. It can sometimes double the time it should take for each task. I don't have anything fancy for my cleaning kit, just a plastic bucket I usually use for the mop filled with all the necessities.

My supply list includes:

  • 2 Microfiber Cloths
  • Paper Towels (I use re-useable towels I made for environmental reasons)
  • Sponge
  • Garbage Bags
  • Dusting Spray
  • Handheld Vacuum
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Disinfectant Spray

You can download the little inventory graphic which lists these items here. I have this printed out and taped with packing tape to the front of my bucket. It helps me to quickly check that I have everything I need every day and reminds me to put any supplies I'm low on, onto the shopping list.

Download the Printable .PDFs

Daily Cleaning Ritual
(I call it a ritual because I kind of use this time as a bit of a zen moment. My grandmother used to do laundry as her zen moment, and I totally understand that now.)

Tidy Up!
Quickly sweep through every room in the house putting the clutter away. Anything that doesn't belong out should go in it's home. The key here is to keep moving. If you catch yourself standing still for more than a second or two, you're probably getting side tracked or working on something that doesn't really need to be done. Keep moving, tidy up quickly. Books go in the book shelf, mail or papers get stacked neatly in the office (or where ever their home is), dishes get brought to the kitchen.

Throw in A Load of Laundry
This is a perfect time to quickly throw in a load of laundry. You've gone through every room in the house and undoubtedly found some dirty clothes to toss in the hamper. Take a few minuets to gather up the equivalent of 1 load and toss it in the machine. It should take about 5 minuets, and if you get in the habit of doing at least 1 load a day, the laundry never piles up. We don't have a dryer because we've decided to experiment with a more earth friendly and budget friendly method of line drying, so when the laundry piles up and we don't have the room to hang it all, it takes days to catch up again.

Do the Dishes
Move all your dirty dishes to the dishwasher or do them by hand. If you've got a full load, run the dish washer, if not, close it and move on. If you're doing the dishes by hand, clean them really well then sit them aside to air dry. Leave them there for now.

Wipe Down the Counter Tops
I like to clean out the sponge I used for the dishes, then quickly scrub the counter tops, stove, and sink with the sponge and a dab of soap. Rinse the sponge, dry the counters, and then spray a mist of disinfectant on the counters, stove, and cabinet door handles. Wipe the excess spray up with a clean paper towel or re-useable towel. Don't forget the water spout in the sink! If water spots are a problem try using a bit of lemon juice on chrome for a sparkling finish.

Clean Up After Pets
If you've got pets, now is the perfect time to clean their cages, bowls, litter boxes, toys, whatever. I've got 2 cats so the litter box needs attention daily.

Wipe Down the Bathroom Sink
With the kitchen clean and the house tidy, its time to tackle the bathroom. Wipe down the sink with a dry microfiber cloth to collect the dust and any hair, then spray some of your preferred cleaner to tackle any stuck on messes.

Wipe Down the Toilet
Use the microfiber cloth again to collect the dust and other ickies from the toilet, then follow with a disinfecting spray. You will want to toss the cloth in the wash now. I always wash my cleaners separately from our clothes, but Im sure it's not really necessary. I think a good washing machine can take care of the germs from your cleaning cloths.

Swoosh the Toilet Bowl with The Brush
Quickly scrub the toilet bowl with the brush to prevent rings from forming. You also have the option here of dumping in a bit of toilet bowl cleaner. I generally steer clear of this because its pretty toxic, but if the bowl needs a little extra cleaning power I use some vinegar and a few drops of dish soap.

Wipe the Mirror
Use your glass cleaner and either a paper or re-useable towel to wipe down the mirror. Remember, you've got a garbage bag with you so toss used paper towels in the bag, and maybe even empty the garbage bin if you get a second. No need to make extra trips to the trash bin.

Make Beds
Wash your hands then head to the bedrooms. Make the bed. This routine, for me, includes using a lint roller on the comforter to remove some of the cat hair. I try to wash our bed sheets about once a week, so keeping them relatively hair free between washes helps them look a lot cleaner.

Fold and Put Away Dry Laundry
If your washer is done, now is a good time to quickly fold and put away dry laundry and either hang the clean stuff to dry or switch it to the dryer. I could spend literally hours folding clothes. I have no idea why. If Im not consciously "hurrying up" it will take me forever. Complete this task as fast as you can and don't leave time to lose your energy. You've still got several other tasks to complete and only a few minuets left.

Fluff the Couch Pillows
Returning to the living room, fluff the couch pillows, fold the blankets, and clean up crumbs and tufts of cat hair with the hand vac. The couch looks 10 times better when its not covered in flattened pillows.

Put Away the Dishes
Remember those air drying dishes? Put them away now. They've had enough time to shed most of the water and its time they go back to their homes in the cabinet. If you're lucky enough to have a dishwasher, empty it!

The next 2 steps are optional, I think they're a good habit to get into for anyone with pets or toddlers, but you can certainly get away with skipping these a couple of times a week.

Vacuum around the baseboards, table and chair legs, and anywhere else dust bunnies collect. Spend a few minuets to suck up the cat hair on the couch or other furniture.

Swiffer or Mop
On busy days I take the Swiffer with a wet pad (I use home-made wet pads in a natural cleaning solution instead of the store bought ones) and quickly glide over all the floors in the apartment. When I have a bit more time I actually get the mop out and give the whole place a good wash with a vinegar, dish soap solution. About once a month I will add a few teaspoons of olive oil to the mixture to re-moisturise the wood. It makes the floors shine really nicely too.

Finally, finish up your ritual with a once over disinfecting of all the door knobs and frequently touched surfaces in your home.


Remember, this daily quick clean only works if you are diligent about keeping your home neat and tidy. I do this routine about 4 times a week, and on the other days I add more serious cleaning tasks. This helps keep the house clean and easy to maintain, but you cant skip dusting for 2 months and then hope this list will make your home look incredible.

A typical week looks like this (in terms in cleaning schedules)

Monday: Dust + Daily Cleaning + Vacuum Everything

Tuesday: Daily Cleaning

Wednesday: Launder bed linens and curtains, etc. + Clean Baseboards + Mop Floors

Thursday: Daily Cleaning

Friday: Dust + Daily Cleaning

Saturday: Scrub the Bathroom + Wipe Down + Light Fixtures + Polish Knobs and Handles

Sunday:  Clean the Fridge + Scrub the Kitchen + Clean Laundry Room + Tidy Closets + Move All Furniture and Vacuum

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